Thursday, September 5, 2019

John Waters returns to IFC Center to introduce a special screening of a new 4K restoration of his groundbreaking smell-along 1981 melodrama POLYESTER, followed by a Q&A after the 7:00pm showtime with the filmmaker and co-star Ken King. Restored from the original 35mm camera and soundtrack negatives by The Criterion Collection, supervised by Waters, POLYESTER opened at IFC Center’s predecessor, The Waverly Theater, on May 29, 1981, and we’re proud to welcome it back to the Village. 


For his first studio picture, filth maestro Waters took advantage of his biggest budget yet to allow his muse Divine to sink his teeth into a role unlike any he had played before: Baltimore housewife Francine Fishpaw, a heroine worthy of a Douglas Sirk melodrama. Blessed with a keen sense of smell and cursed with a philandering pornographer husband (David Samson, caught in flagrante with secretary Mink Stole), a parasitic mother (Joni Ruth White), and a pair of delinquent children (Mary Garlington and Ken King), the long-suffering Francine turns to  best friend Cuddles (Waters stalwart Edith Massey) and then the bottle as her life falls apart—until deliverance appears in the form of a hunk named Todd Tomorrow (vintage heartthrob Tab Hunter). Enhanced with Odorama™ technology that enables you to scratch and sniff along with Francine (“Smelling is believing,” boasted the posters), POLYESTER is one of Waters’ most hilarious inventions, replete with stomach-churning smells, sadistic nuns, AA meetings, and foot stomping galore.

  • Country USA
  • Rating R
  • Year 1981
  • Running Time 86 minutes
  • Distributor Warner Brothers
  • Director John Waters
  • Writer John Waters
  • Editor Charles Roggero
  • Cinematographer Dave Insley
  • Cast Divine, Tab Hunter, Edith Massey, David Samson, Mary Garlington, Ken King
  • Accessibility Assistive Listening, T-Coil

IFC Center does not generally provide advisories about subject matter or potentially triggering content in films, as sensitivities vary from person to person. In addition to the synopses, trailers and other links on our website, further information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media, IMDb and DoesTheDogDie.com as well as through general internet searches.