Category: Reviews

9 Songs

Sex on film: 9 Songs (2004, Michael Winterbottom)

I was about 16 when I overheard my mother having a conversation with someone about the US version of Queer As Folk, which had just started airing in Australia late night on (of course, any Aussie will say) SBS. The friend said, not in a condemnatory fashion but more rather surprised, “It’s very confronting.” The thought that ran through my head was: really? What’s so confronting about it? Luckily I didn’t say this out loud, because I realised after my lack of shock at QaF’s more explicit scenes was no doubt due to me being an already seasoned reader of slash fanfiction. (Google it. Ask me about it you’re curious.)

Which probably accounts for my very mild response to the film famous (or infamous, depending on your view of the world) for having the most graphic, unsimulated sex on film outside of pornography, 9 Songs; or at least mild in terms of the sex.

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50 Shades of Grey cover

Twilight and fanfic and Grey, Oh my! 50 Shades of Grey review

Reading Remittance Girl’s astute review of 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James, made me set set aside my writing plans for the day to finish reading it and knock something off the ‘currently reading’ pile. [I started the review and then came back and finished a few weeks after.]

I was, of course, curious about it when it came out – being erotica that has has done so well, making sales in ways that much modern erotica aspires to but doesn’t quite manage, it struck me as something that one ‘ought to read’, in the way that any kind of publishing phenomena becomes self-perpetuating in that readers start to read just to see what the fuss is about.

Basic plot (if you’ve somehow missed it): Anastasia Steele, Ana, an English student, is sent by her friend, who is ill and needs a replacement, to interview billionaire industry tycoon Christian Grey. Attraction between them ensues. But Grey has a dark secret – it’s not a spoiler at this stage to say he’s into BDSM, and he wants Ana to become his Submissive, a proposition that she is alternatively aroused and repelled by. Tension results from their trials to negotiate this and from Ana’s attempts to understand what is in Grey’s past that makes him desire ‘such things.’

Rambling thoughts below the cut.

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Red Road

Been a full on week, and mostly dancing related; Tuesday teaching kicked off again, as did the Wednesday night class I go to, followed by a meeting on Thursday and a very late night dem-ing and helping run a ceilidh at a local barracks on Friday.

So today have done little that is productive. Met up with a friend for coffee, and watch Red Road in the morning on LoveFilm instant. Initially had it on my list because Tony Curran is in it (oh man, he’s lovely to look at, and on a fraction less shallow scale, impressed me as Vincent van Gough in Doctor Who and King Stephen in Pillars of the Earth), but came away exceedingly impressed with Kate Dickie’s (who I knew I’d seen before but it took a net search to realise she is Lysa Arryn in Game of Thrones) performance, and curious about director Andrea Arnold’s other films. Atmospheric, beautifully made and gripping (and just to show what a one-track mind I have, it also featured a very compelling sex scene, which I suspect one wasn’t meant to find hot, but, well…Tony Curran as I said.)

(Tangentially, I wonder what Arnold was trying to say with the many inclusions of random and not so random shots of dogs – I have my thoughts but that would give away the ending a bit much and it works better not knowing where it’s all going. Update: Interesting review (with spoilers) here that theorises not only on the dogs but the use of other animals in the film.)