Yes, as you can tell, I am in a Paul Bartel high right now. After watching his first feature, Private Parts, I decided to delve into my old VHS of his first two shorts, The Secret Cinema and The Naughty Nurse. Now that I think about it, both names together would make a good movie title on its own. Anyway, even in these first two shorts, you have a lot of the characteristics that would rule in the future films of Mr. Bartel: quirky characters, exaggerated situations, and a special degree of camp, even when being dead serious.
The first film, The Secret Cinema, tells us the story of a woman who is being secretly filmed during her day to day life, and everyone seems to be in on the act except for her. This short film is actually quite revolutionary, as it pre-dates the reality craze that exists today. The Truman Show has a very similar theme, although very different as well. There are a lot of funny characters, especially the affeminate film director who proclaims “I do not love women, I love only film!”. The ending is also pretty surreal.
Naughty Nurse is simpler and more direct. Shot in color, it deals with a blonde pretty lady who works during the day as a nurse, then, in her lunch hours, has a double life of a dominatrix in a motel room! Not much of a story, as it only lasts 7 minutes and that’s basically all that happens, but it is pretty funny especially when the black cop shows up, and the final revelation as well.
All in all, these are two very good films considering they were his first, and give us an idea of what’s to come in his future films. The Secret Cinema is better, tho.