Ellen Fisher Turk, Andrew WeeksYear
SPLIT is a documentary portrait of International Chrysis, a New York "show girl" and drag queen. Surreal herself, Chrysis was one of Salvador Dali's inner circle, a woman from the waist up, a man from the waist down. The movie penetrates Chrysis' hidden world of transsexual and drag queens, hormones, drugs and prostitution, a dark world she lights up with humor, wit and glamour. Through cross cutting, the documentary reveals the illusion and reality of International Chrysis. She's a burlesque queen who spouts philosophy and performs in a style between vaudeville and Dietrich. Chrysis was a gay man who recreated himself as a Rita Hayworth, Mae West, Barbie doll amalgam. She sang, danced and stripped her way from seedy clubs to glamorous night spots, popped out of cakes toured Europe, and starred on Broadway and in films. The documentary portrays Chrysis' life with the same wit and irreverence she lived it, allowing us to see through the veneer to the pain beneath. Chrysis lived thirty-nine years and died of cancer caused by seepage from the wax and silicon breast implants, a victim of her own creation.