A woman (Ariel Bock) is getting made up for a party. She removes cream from her face. She stands nude in front of a full length mirror, trying to maneuver herself into a flimsy purple dress. Her boyfriend (Willem Dafoe) is sitting in the kitchen wearing a white tee shirt and watching TV. They bicker over the program he is watching. These characters are never given names.
The guests have arrived. Purple Dress Woman makes small talk and generally seems bored. She keeps glancing at White Shirt Man, who is across the room flirting with another woman. Purple Dress Woman is embarrassed when a woman who is conversing with her forgets her name. Purple Dress Woman is insecure about her looks, and keeps asking White Shirt Man if she looks okay. Then Purple Dress Woman feels humiliated when White Shirt Man leaves her on the dance floor alone. She sees him dancing with the woman whom he was flirting with earlier. Purple Dress Woman and White Shirt Man retreat to the kitchen to argue some more. As the guests are leaving, Purple Dress Woman catches White Shirt Man out in the hallway making out with flirty woman. The film ends with Purple Dress Woman dancing with another man.
This is a bizarre little film with lots of quick cut editing and a catchy synth score that gets stuck in your head. It has lots of strange goings on interspersed with the party scenes. Two women are lying in bed together while Dafoe wanders passed them like a zombie. One of the women is flirty woman. The women speak in echoes. Bock stands nude in a doorway and observes a younger version of herself dancing in the purple dress. The line " Will she be the woman you are?" is repeated over and over.
Fans of the USA Network late night weekend show Night Flight may remember White Lies. That's where I saw it a handful of times in the mid 80s. It's main claim to fame would be as one of Willem Dafoe's earliest roles. I really dig the lead actress Ariel Bock. She's in every scene and is mighty fine in her slinky, slit up the thigh, purple dress. Ms. Bock was a seemingly obscure New York actress, who apparently is now a Shakespearean stage actress. It's a shame she didn't have more of a career.