Based on Tennessee Williams’ novella, The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone, The Drift tells the decadent tale of Karen Stone, an aging, recently widowed actress who moves to Rome looking for love. While in Rome Karen meets The Countessa, a glamorously degenerate Madam who hooks her up with a succession of gigolos, then, once she has fallen for one known as Paulo, threatens to blackmail her with photos of them together…

And that’s about as much plot as I could make out in this, another of Jon Aes-Nihil’s masterpieces of outsider cinema. Once again Glen Meadmore and the Goddess Bunny star – Meadmore looking fantastic in drag as Mrs Stone and the Goddess Bunny as the evil, scheming Countessa.

” has the feel of an absurdist improv piece and I guess it is that quality that makes it, in a sense, “pure” cinema”

Shot on video with a cast of drag queens, hustlers, amateur porn stars and general weirdos, watching The Drift is like being transported to an alternate reality where a Tennessee Williams play is being staged. The pervading atmosphere is one of debauched extravagance, with each performer decked out in furs, gowns, and other gaudy accessories.

The film was shot piecemeal, basically whenever the director came across an opportunity or someone lent him a camera (one such kindly benefactor being Genesis P. Orridge). During the span of its filming the director and a couple of cast members went on tour with Psychic TV, shot scenes in the LA Theatre and public parks, and switched actors numerous times.

Jon Aes-Nihil admits to being a huge fan of Tennessee Williams’ work and wanted to create an unadulterated adaptation of the play without concern for censorship. Like most Aes-Nihil productions The Drift has the feel of an absurdist improv piece and I guess it is that quality that makes it, in a sense, “pure” cinema. It is part of a trilogy of Tennessee Williams re-workings, the others being Suddenly Last Summer and Boom.

  • Director: John Aes-Nihil (USA, 1989)
  • Studio: Aes-Nihil Productions
  • Runtime: 80 minutes

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