“I felt a need to respond to the unrelenting barrage of institutionalized homophobia – from the media, from ignorant politicians, from rabid cultural ‘watchdogs.’ And of course there is my intense admiration for Godard—most especially Masculin féminin, which is paid homage to and clearly the primary influence here. [The film is] a kinda twisted cross between avant-garde experimental cinema and a queer John Hughes flick." —Gregg Araki
Considered by many to be Araki’ s finest film, Totally F***ed Up utilizes a free-form narrative and direct-to-camera address to explore the teenage wasteland of the early nineties. Following the intertwining lives of six young gay and lesbian characters through a Godardian structure of fifteen separately titled sections, Araki creates a vivid portrait of everyday teenage pressures compounded by a host of extraordinary burdens: AIDS, homophobia, gay-bashing, parental rejection and escalating gay teen suicide rates. Fearful of sex and disdainful of the mainstream gay community, the protagonists cling to their makeshift adoptive family even as those same pressures start to pull them apart. Mixing often hilarious dialogue and vignettes (most notably a group sperm donation session) with an overwhelming sense of dread and helplessness, Totally F***ed Up is a synthesis of Araki’s obsessions with the Californian vernacular and landscape; it also marks the introduction of his frequent muse James Duval as the melancholy, suicidal leader of the pack. “[While the film’s conclusion] may seem utterly desolating, [it moves] toward a rejection of negativism in favour of the harsh but inescapable complexities of the world. Life is fucked up, Araki is saying, but it is worth living” (Fernando F. Croce, Slant Magazine). –TIFF
One of the angriest, most unconventional, and relentlessly intriguing voices in independent cinema, filmmaker Gregg Araki emerged on the film scene with the subtlety of a gunshot to the head with The Living End in 1992. His story of two HIV-positive gay lovers on a highway rampage quickly established him as one of the key figures in the “New Queer Cinema.” The film reached out to many of society’s more alienated members—gay and straight—who related to its energetic rage and identified with the anger of its principle characters.
Of Asian-American heritage, Araki is a native of Southern California. After attending film school at the University of Southern California—where he was particularly influenced by screwball comedies such as Bringing Up Baby— he made his directorial debut in 1987 with Three Bewildered People in the Night. With a budget of only $5,000 and using a stationary camera, he told the story of a romance between a video artist, her lover… read more
It's Breakfast Club gone mad, really mad. The youth in the midst of emotional distress, identity crisis, fired-up sex and suicidal love makes one - totally fucked up.