One of Kuchar’s few feature-length works is this ribald pastiche to postwar Hollywood melodrama, that period when the studios were trying very hard to be adult. The intricate, overheated plot involves a nurse trapped in an unhappy marriage who escapes the big city in search of greener pastures in Blessed Prairie, Oklahoma. Swerving from earnest homage to dark satire, Kuchar simultaneously imitates and savages the legacy of Sirk, Preminger and Minnelli that inspired him, gleefully intertwining the suggestive and the scatological, while also pointing towards the later postmodern parodies of Cindy Sherman. The Devil’s Cleavage is also a rich time capsule of 1970s San Francisco, replete with cameos from Curt McDowell and Art Spiegelman.
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