Monday, November 11, 2013

Shortbus / ***1/2 (2006)

The first moments play like an invasion into the bedrooms of strangers. The camera cuts between three distinct romps: in one, a lone male films himself on a handheld digital camera attempting to engage in auto-fellatio, and the frame reveals the full package. In the next, a couple experiments with varying sexual positions as if attempting to outdo the Kama sutra, and the penetration shots are genuine. In the third, a woman dressed in eccentric dominatrix garb verbally abuses a man for money, whips him, clamps his nipples with clothespins and reveals a gaze of dismay when he winds up having an orgasm on her headboard painting. What do these three scenes exemplify, other than a shockingly frank attitude about the sexual bravado of its characters? For “Shortbus,” the answer is not nearly as simple or one-dimensional as the surface would suggest. This isn’t an exploit into pornographic ideals, but a movie with genuine ideas that are completely freed from political correctness in a time when society continues to fear absolute truths about our individual desires.