Oh, yes, give it to me, yes! Harder! Oh! Ooh! Yes! Yes! Yes! Oh baby, yes, harder, harder, pound me, let me feel your big, hard cock. Yeah, give it to me rough! That's it! Ooh! Yes! Oh!
Naughty Meter Maids VIII is the eighth film in Arturo Scott's famous series of fifteen films depicting the lives of the young women in New York's parking enforcement squad. This central film in the series shows Scott at his best; he is known in particular for his honest and sensitive portrayals of female characters, for which he is often compared to Pedro Almodóvar. Naughty Meter Maids VIII is no disappointment; it is considered a high point in the series with its open and explicit yet characteristically warm depiction of the coming of age of its protagonist, Celeste, played by Russian unknown Ivana Lottadick.
Scott's confidence is shown from the film's first moments, when he eschews exposition completely and rather opens with Celeste, partially undressed, in the middle of an affair with a man (played by Jack Steel) — never named in the film — perhaps fifteen years her senior. Celeste keeps her meter maid uniform on during this encounter, a clear symbol of her own emotional reluctance to expose herself fully and the pain of her growth into adulthood. Even though her partner is never seen again in the film, his presence is felt throughout. Scott's noted brilliance for terse dialogue establishes in two lines the import of this affair for Celeste: "Is this your first time, baby?" "Yes." This scene alone establishes Scott as one of film's most daring directors. Not only is sexuality depicted in a startlingly explicit, even raw, manner, but Scott trusts himself to hold the audience's attention without establishing backstory. The seeming anonymity of the characters emphasizes his intent to comment on the universality of the tie between sexuality and adulthood, particularly for women. These moments onscreen are the ones that establish Celeste to the viewer and to herself as an adult, as no longer a child but a woman.
The surprising, even shocking, rawness of the film is enhanced by the director's deliberate use of simple production techniques. The film was shot with a single camera, necessitating the use of simple angles and few cuts. The sets are sparse — much of the action appears to take place in cheap motel rooms with stained sheets. The choice to cast only unknown actors in the film further emphasizes his desire to depict something less cinematic and more akin to a play unfolding before the audience. His actors don't use body doubles during scenes involving, in some cases, explicit nudity — instead the director depends on their willingness to open themselves up for the camera. In this he is unreservedly successful — his famed rapport with his actresses pays off, and they make themselves fully vulnerable, immersing themselves completely in their parts.
After the opening scene, Celeste finds herself struggling with her identity. Feeling the power in her newfound sexuality but without a full sense of herself, Celeste moves on to a series of one-night stands. Her virginity cast aside in the opening frames, she decides to fully define herself as an adult, and with candor and emotional nakedness, we see her attempt to reconcile the pain of loss of her innocence with the pride at her status as an adult. In this series of sexual encounters Celeste grows increasingly forward and demanding. In the first she is demure when a man (Johnny Hardman) approaches her and openly asks her, "You wanna fuck?" The end of this middle act, though, finds her having sex with two men (Rico Ramrod and the director himself) at once. "Shove it up my ass! Hard!" she demands, her shocking language a clear commentary on the accepted sexual roles for women in society.
This scene shows Scott's characteristic love of honestly exploring gender boundaries. Celeste plays the aggressor in this sexual act, and — in a scene cited by Alfonso Cuarón as an inspiration for the similar one in Y Tu Mamá También — the two actors are thrust into a sexually ambiguous, openly homoerotic situation. Just as in Y Tu Mamá También, the men never resolve the newfound tension between them.
The director is economical with time; the film lasts only 75 minutes, and as a measure of Scott's desire to explore sexual issues, 73 of those minutes feature explicit sex. As it moves to a conclusion, another shift in Celeste's character takes place. She starts the film by casting off girlhood to be a woman; by the end she is not just a woman but a naughty meter maid. She has integrated into her personality the concept of herself as a sexual being, and in the film's denouement she fully recognizes her own sexual desires. Not content to please others, she demands to be satisfied, and finally finds twenty men willing to give her what she needs. Where she began the movie reluctant to give up her virginity, as it reaches its peak she asserts herself and demands a gangbang when she comes across a bus filled with college football players parked illegally.
After the film's climax, Celeste returns to work but we see a subtle shift in her character. With the struggle to establish herself as a woman and as a naughty meter maid now complete, Celeste performs her parking enforcement duties with a newfound confidence. We see her as a self-actualized woman. During the final moments of the film, though, we see one more question raised by Scott. Celeste runs across a wealthy, handsome gentleman (Bill Bonethruster) double-parked. He offers her sex in exchange for forgiving his crime, and the central question asked by the entire Naughty Meter Maids series is asked. Is there some essential chasm between being naughty and being a meter maid? Must Celeste — and every woman in New York's Parking Enforcement Squad — choose between the two things? Foucault was the first to analyze the phrase "naughty meter maid" as a countertext — asking if there is a necessary dichotomy present in being both naughty and a municipal employee. Scott does not pretend that he can give a full answer to that question, and so as Celeste is deciding which path to take, the film closes.