Mixed Blood

Paul Morrissey's blend of high camp, extreme violence, and gritty street realism makes for an entertaining if disposable film. Marilia Pera, the memorable whore of Hector Babenco's Pixote, stars as a Brazilian godmother to a gang of adolescent drug dealers on New York's lower east side; in between singing Carmen Miranda oldies, arranging lavish funerals for her teenage employees, or coming on to her hulking stud of a son, she fights a gang war for control of the territory. The secret of Morrissey's cinema is that he doesn't know the meaning of the word “contradiction”: he takes as much delight in the unbridled theatricality of his performers as in the devastated realism of his location shooting; the bitchy one-liners fly at the same velocity as the shotgun blasts. It's all appallingly irresponsible, of course, but therein lies its undeniable appeal.

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