Romance (Breillat, 1999) & Impaled (Clark, 2006):
Screen Shadows Group, Unit 6, Bellenden Rd Business Centre, Peckham, SE15 4RF, 7pm
This looks fascinating, the latest in the Lessons in Heterosexuality season from the Screen Shadows Group.
Here is their introduction to the evening's entertainment: In previous sessions we’ve looked to the lifestyles and behaviours
around heterosex, the invented culture that grew out of the procreative
act. But now its time to return to the act itself – though crucially
with a view to seeing how the heterosexual complex has stage-managed its
We’ve already seen how film teaches lessons on various codes,
etiquettes, rituals and behaviours associated with heterosexual life…now
let's see how film teaches breeders how to “do it” for fun, when romance
is dead and heterosex is a recreational right. The film as sex manual – and self-help book.
ROMANCE (1999) – Breillat
So-called “auteur of porn” Catherine Breillat spins a tale of sexual
self-discovery – a bildungsroman of boning – as she charts one
schoolteacher’s disillusionment with her supposedly perfect marriage,
and her quest for fulfillment elsewhere (with sexy results). Delving
into the kind of arthouse erotica of Cronenberg’s Crash or Egoyan’s
Exotica, it shuns heteronormative myths of monogamous and fertile
romance, and of female desire – meeting porn star Rocco Sifredi on its
way to an explosive climax.
Chicago Reader review:
'French filmmaker and novelist Catherine Breillat is already a disputed
figure for the frankness about sex and sexual desire and the lack of
political correctness in many of her previous features (e.g., 36 fillette). Inspired in part by Nagisa Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses,
this story about a young grammar-school teacher (Caroline Ducey) who
starts sleeping around when her lover and flatmate (Sagamore Stevinen)
loses interest in having sex with her is Breillat's most explicit and
controversial film to date (if not necessarily her best). The heroine's
voice-over, conventionally poetic and fairly constant, provides a kind
of counterpoint to the sex. The story isn't always believable, and some
protracted bondage sequences may stretch your patience if you don't pick
up on their poker-faced comedy (the prosaic man tying the knots, who
claims to have made love to 10,000 women, is the heroine's boss).
There's also some hokey essentialism about motherhood that I could have
done without, and when the film drifts off into fantasy at the end,
Breillat's tone becomes less confident. But the eroticism is powerful,
and the documentary candor and directness of the sex scenes make this
well worth seeing.'
Here is the trailer
IMPALED (2006) – Clark
A hilarious yet incredibly insightful short doc from the director of
Kids that examines the effects of the ubiquity (and homogeneity) of
pornography. If a generation of guys see hundreds of hours of fucking
before they actually fuck, how does it teach them what to expect and
what they want – and what neuroses does it give them?
Here is an extract.
If you can't make it to Peckham this is well worth catching:
Elena (Zvyagintsev, 2011): Phoenix Cinema, 6.15pm
Time Out review:
'The corrupting power of money runs through the veins of this
superb Russian film like formaldehyde flowing through a corpse. The
story has an eerie, powerful simplicity: a well-meaning former nurse
from a modest background, Elena (Nadezhda Markina),
lives with her wealthy husband, Vladimir (Andrey Smirnov), in a luxury,
modern home. Her penniless son from her first marriage, Sergei (Aleksey
Rozin), wants money for his son’s schooling, but Vladimir is
uninterested: he controls their finances with a calm, iron will. His own
virtually estranged and difficult daughter, Katerina (Elena Lyadova),
from his earlier marriage is a drain on his emotions already. When
Vladimir falls ill, and questions of inheritance arise, Elena must act
to secure her future.
This is a bleak, mysterious tale, resolutely
local and contained in its surface interests. But you can’t help
wondering what director Andrey Zvyagintsev (this is his third film after
2003’s stunning ‘The Return’ and 2007’s less satisfying ‘The
Banishment’) might be saying about the state of Russia and,
specifically, the transition from the Soviet era. The parallels are
tempting: an unhappy but controlled situation turns to anarchy; plans
for the future are too late and hijacked for personal gain; and, by the
film’s final frame, the devil we once knew somehow inspires nostalgia.
This is smart, gripping cinema.' Dave Calhoun
Here is the trailer.