The underground film Daddy (1973), a collaboration by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle and British countercultural filmmaker Peter Whitehead, is a sexually explicit surrealist pop-art Freudian rape revenge fantasy. It stems from de Saint Phalle's autobiographical narrative of parental abuse and the development of a young girl's sexuality. Deploying a performance studies lens to focus on performance practice and process, this article takes a new methodological approach to the film that could be applied to other avant-garde cinematic practices. Drawing on previously unseen materials and examining a key and frequently underexplored element of female labor within film, this essay traces the skills, training, and experiences shaping female performative labor, and demonstrates that Daddy's interrogation of sexual politics and displays of female sexual expression depended on this labor. Dissecting it offers revealing insights into the complex and frequently hidden dynamics of control and agency underpinning Daddy's artistic and sexual collaborations.

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