Concussion headlined many Queer film festivals this year. With it’s high-production values, pretty star and fantasy plot of a lesbian who decides to become a high-priced call girl after a knock on the head; it’s easy to see why it is a popular film. The sets are all beautifully-furnished suburban homes or artfully-decorated city apartments that our star spends all her time and money upgrading. It’s a sex-film for upper-middle class lesbians who may be finding marriage, kids and a house in the suburbs more bland and less-fulfilling then they anticipated.
If it’s seems a tad unrealistic to think that there might be a market for Abby’s (Robin Weigert) services, or that leading a double-life would be so easy to keep from the kids and the wife…well, at least it’s an interesting film. And don’t we all need a little wish fulfillment now a days? The fact that Abby’s escapades involve parading around in expensive lingerie, mentoring a young college student with feminist literature as well as sexual gratification and rough sex with another suburban housewife is about as reasonable as the assumption that getting hit by a baseball would lead to this new lifestyle.
Having won a Teddy Jury award at the Berlin Film Festival for writer/director Stacie Passon and a Best First Feature award at Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco, I wish this director and this film continued success. The many soft-core porn sex scenes are pretty and not exploitative, and if they feel unrealistic; at least they were directed by a woman from a screenplay written by the same woman. Thus dodging the controversy surrounding the OTHER lesbian film currently playing in LA and New York….
Blue is the Warmest Color is generating controversy and discussion of female sexuality and male gaze. A three-hour film about a young girl’s coming-of-age journey, “La vie d’Adèle” was directed by Abdellatif Kechiche and stars the two young actresses, Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos. In an unusual and remarkable move, the Cannes jury awarded the Palm d’Or to not just the director, but also, for the first time ever, the actors as well! Having not seen the film myself, I can easily predict that the length of the film will be more of an issue for me personally, than the six and a half minute-long sex scene. Rarely do I find that the bloated Hollywood films need their 2-hour running time and though I tend to be more forgiving of non-traditional films from independent filmmakers, three hours speaks to a director who is too precious with his or her work.
I do enjoy reading all the press that this film is inspiring. Any film that can incite writers to discuss female sexuality and representation is a winner in my book! Here’s a quote from Matthew Hammett Knott that I rather liked:
“It all comes back to Robert Bresson’s inspiring maxim – “make visible that which, without you, might never be seen”. In this respect, Manohla Dargis’s criticism that Kechiche “seems so unaware or maybe just uninterested in the tough questions about the representation of the female body that feminists have engaged for decades” seems less pertinent to “Blue is the Warmest Color” than with regard to the wider picture. All perspectives are limited, including Dargis’, including Kechiche’s, including mine. It doesn’t mean we have to reject any in particular. That is our prerogative. What is essential is to recognize the limitations of each, and most importantly, recognize those that are missing entirely from our cultural landscape, and seek them out. ”
So seek out queer cinema if you can! Support all films that support women-driven narratives because they are few and far between!
Rating: 3 soy lattes in an arty cafe while scheduling play dates, a Pilates session and waiting for your paid date to arrive…