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Director John
Waters recalls provocative career

Director John
Waters recalls provocative career

Director John Waters, self-confessed king of all things tasteless and tacky, celebrates a life spent shocking audiences and mocking the movie world in a film version of his stand-up act.

In This Filthy World, Waters delivers a rapid-fire monologue about life in film, from his first homemade picture Hag in a Black Leather Jacket, reportedly costing $30, to international fame he garnered for the cross-dressing classic Hairspray.

The "pope of trash" was in Berlin this week to present the film, and the laughter and applause at a packed screening late on Monday showed his cult following spreads well beyond the shores of his native America.

The mustachioed 60-year-old ruminates on everything from shoplifting as a boy to battles with movie censors, and from how to make voting more attractive to young people to what is wrong with capital punishment.

"I am against it [capital punishment] for the reason that I'm afraid I'll get it," he quipped. "We all have bad nights."

He also had advice to gay people trying too hard to act as they feel they ought to.

"You don't have to like Liza Minnelli," Waters told a live audience at the Harry de Jur playhouse on New York's lower east side, where This Filthy World was shot over two nights. "And S/M does look stupid on the beach."

When he was younger, Waters said he used to tour courtrooms across the United States to get ideas for his films, and he and other members of the public would boast to each other about which famous cases they had watched.

One woman topped them all, however, when she told him "I was at Nuremberg," referring to the trial of leading German Nazis after World War II.

The arch-provocateur also recalls his long collaboration with Divine, the obese, cross-dressing star of many of his movies, including Pink Flamingos, which has the infamous scene where his character eats dog feces.

"I'm not a sadist--it was only one take," joked the director.

Another of their collaborations was Polyester, where audiences were given scratch-and-sniff cards so they could smell what they saw on film.

Asked if his movies had become tame over time and whether he would return to the more cutting-edge pictures of the past, Waters told the audience after the film was shown: "I never want to go backward and do something I did before. If I wanted to do what I did at the very beginning, I wouldn't be here anymore."

He was also asked if wanted to make a spoof of a science fiction movie, one of the genres he had yet to tackle. "That's the only genre I could never do," he said. "I don't get it."

And his next venture? A "very weird" children's movie for "special children and their even more special parents." (Reuters)

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