INTIMACY directed by Patrice Chéreau (UK, 2001)
Sex in movies or music videos is mostly more concerned with titillation than realism while in porn its primary function is stimulation.
The makers of Intimacy, based on a short story by Hanif Kureishi, adopt a less glossy and therefore more adult perspective.
In the movie, scenes of coupling are explicit, including un-simulated fellatio. Little is left to the imagination but, equally, nothing is particularly arousing.
On the contrary, the sex act is reduced to the level of a basic human need (like eating and sleeping but more energetic).
This is fucking not lovemaking and seems more akin to an act of penance than passion. Once the desire is satiated, words are unnecessary and the two go their separate ways arranging only to meet again the same day (Wednesday) the next week. Continue reading
TWIN PEAKS : FIRE WALK WITH ME directed by David Lynch (USA, 1992)
If Dune is David Lynch’s prize turkey, Fire Walk With Me, follows as a close second. It is significant that neither are included in the ‘select filmography’ in ‘Catching The Big Fish’, Lynch’s collection of anecdotal reflections on meditation, consciousness and creativity published in 2006.
After two seasons of Twin Peaks on TV, the plug was unceremoniously pulled by the network in 1991 to leave a sense of unfinished business. But much as I loved the show, the recent announcement that a new Showtime miniseries with Lynch at the helm is in the pipeline fills me with more trepidation than excitement. 25 years on, it will be tough to replicate the subtlety and surreal humour that made the small screen version so compelling
Further cause for concern stems from the dire movie spin-off of Fire Walk With Me. The wayward plot focuses on the events leading up to the murder of Laura Palmer leaving a trail of loose ends in its wake.
The movie substitutes cheap horror and seedy sex for anything more considered. Overall, you are left with the distinct impression that it is little more than an elaborate cut and paste job of half-conceived ideas. A bizarre cameo by David Bowie is one of many sequences that serve little purpose. Continue reading
Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell
We are still only in January, but the BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall is already sure to be one of the year’s TV highlights.
Costume dramas have long been the Beeb’s stock in trade and on the strength of episode one (broadcast on BBC Two on 21st January) this looks to one of their best for a long while.
It almost goes without saying that the acting is superb and I was particularly impressed by Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell.
What makes his performance so riveting is that, although he not physically imposing, he quietly manages to fill the screen and make you understand how such a man could have risen from humble beginnings , as the son of a blacksmith, to be one of the most influential figures in Britain.
The drama has a contemporary resonance in that you can well see how Cromwell’s instinctive Machiavellian skills also have a modern-day application. Continue reading
GRAYSON PERRY : WHO ARE YOU? . Channel 4 series – episode 1
Jazz and Grayson Perry.
Grayson Perry, the first transvestite potter from Essex to win the Turner Prize, is not a man to be afraid of public ridicule.
Last year he delivered the BBC Reith lectures in a series of elaborate frocks and collected his CBE from Prince Charles in what he called an ‘Italian mother of the bride outfit’.
In a highly competitive art world in which everyone is clamoring to get noticed, his cross dressing is a calling card that has served its purpose well.
A further advantage of his overt eccentricity is that he earns a degree of trust when interviewing those who have made similarly unconventional life choices. He knows what it’s like to be and feel like the odd one out.
This sets him apart from run of the mill journalists who are mostly just seeking out salacious details to make a good story. Perry genuinely wants to understand what makes people tick and you never get the impression that there’s a hidden subtext to his questions.
Who Are You? is essentially a tweaking of the formula of All In The Best Possible Taste , which he made for Channel 4 in 2012, and I have no complaints about this whatsoever. Continue reading