Tuesday, March 29, 2005

"Still 6 songs left to go?"

Last night, I finally saw the "infamously-explicit-for-a-mainstream-movie" 9 Songs, with a friend whose accompaniment to the film provided all the narrative I needed:
  • [After one of the many performances filmed at the Brixton Academy] Me: "So that's the third song." Her:"Oh, so that's why it's called 9 Songs. God, does that mean we've still got 6 songs to go?"
  • [After dinner, during yet another romp on the bed] Her: "I'd rather watch them eat."
  • [During a bathroom scene] Me: "The paint effect on the wall's really nice." Her: "Not very practical though, is it? No splashback tiles."

Her constant stream of comments saved me from leaving my seat before the tedious 69 (oh yes) minutes were up.

Okay, it wasn't that boring: the movie never billed itself as anything other than an unpretentious, ordinary, explicit, lo-fi accounting of two strangers having casual sex and nothing more; and this spare, pared down approach made it refreshingly engaging, for some of the time.

Beyond that, however, I can't think of anything else to say: the movie was bland and the experience left me indifferent. Perhaps if more attention had been focussed on the guy's sexual experience -- his body, his desires, his needs -- I, as a woman, would have been more engrossed.

It's been a while since I left the cinema completely nonplussed.

I'll leave the reviews to the pros:

+ Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian: "This is no great love affair; there are no big scenes of tears and laughter; breaking up and making up. Leo and Kate on the prow of the Titanic it ain't. Its very casualness, its unfinishedness and downbeat messiness give the affair the feeling of real life, which by a further paradox makes it more engaging than something more obviously dramatic. ... Boring? Gosh, really? Is that why all those male journalists in the audience were gulping and surreptitiously recrossing their legs? Because they thought it was boring?"

+ The BBC: "Kieran O'Brien and Margot Stilley star as a couple who do nothing besides go to rock concerts and have sex under fluorescent lighting, but while they bare a lot of skin, they fail to get beneath it. All that's left is the cinematic equivalent of a painful rectal examination and not just in the metaphorical sense. ... Actually this film does provoke thoughts about the meaning of life - mainly because you feel it slowly slipping away in wasting 70 precious minutes trying to figure out what the heck Winterbottom was thinking with this stultifying, self-conscious, and flesh-creepingly repulsive lot of codswallop."

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