London Film Festival Choice 1973

 

Daddy is probably the ultimate movie about the Electra complex. It is also a lot of fun (and perhaps a bit unnerving depending on your own obsessions, depressions and Oedipal hang-ups). One should also add it is bound to be extremely controversial. Basically it is a fusion of the fantasies of documentary filmmaker Peter Whitehead and sculptor Niki de St. Phalle about father-daughter relationships. It apparently began as a documentary about Miss de St. Phalle but it ended up as a kind of delightful surrealist charade about a woman whose father both tyrannised and tempted her as a child. The woman returns to the family castle after his death and tells the story of their relationship in fantasy flashback. The daughter Agnes is portrayed by Miss de St. Phalle as a woman with two other girls impersonating her at the ages of 5 and 15. Daddy is shown playing with the 5-year-old and is then tormented by the mature Agnes who binds him in a wheel-chair and caters to his most prurient fantasies with her adolescent counterpart, who strips, shimmies and seduces. Her mother is metamorphosed into a friend and they further humiliate Daddy, showing that male domination is illusory and that really Daddy wanted to be a woman. But is the demon exorcised really?

 

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