My Father Is Coming
1991, NR, 82 min. Directed by Monika Treut. Starring Alfred Edel, Annie Sprinkle, Shelley Kästner, Mary Lou Graulau, Michael Massee.
REVIEWED By Kathleen Maher, Fri., May 22, 1992
Forgive the cliché, but the work of Monika Treut is like a breath of fresh air in these days of “safe sex equals no sex.” As in her earlier film, Virgin Machine, which was set in San Francisco, Treut explores the underground from the vantage point of the naif – this time two naifs and this time in New York's East Village. Kastner plays Vickie, a struggling young actress whose professional efforts in New York have only gotten her a bunch of auditions and a job in a restaurant. Nonetheless, she's led her father in Germany to believe that life is rosier for her so he'll stop asking her to come home. Then she gets the news: “my father is coming.” As Vickie's father, German actor Edel, a veteran of the New German Cinema who has appeared in films by Werner Herzog and Alexander Kluge among others, turns out to be a surprisingly open and accepting person. However, Vickie and the city of New York confront him with a lot to accept. To maintain her cozy bourgeois fantasy, Vickie asks her flamingly gay roommate to “act butch” and pose as her husband.This ploy meets with very limited success. At an audition for a porn film, Vickie's father meets Annie Sprinkle with whom he becomes infatuated and, just by standing in a hallway, he accidentally wins a role in a commercial. Depressed over her father's easy acting success, Vickie's sexual education kicks into high gear when she makes it with her friend at work, a lesbian chef, and also falls for a handsome transsexual. Dad and daughter may find themselves as they investigate some of the more interesting corners of New York, but the film never really gets to the point. Treut seems too distracted by the human attractions of the East Village to settle down to the drudgery of storytelling. As a result, My Father Is Coming is funny, sweet and laudable in its ability to celebrate sexual difference without leering, but it doesn't have the power of Treut's more focused work, Virgin Machine. As a travelogue to the land of the free, however, My Father Is Coming, takes in all the sights.