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February 26, 2021
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Shortbus
(2007-03-19)
(wgvu) - Shortbus
Five years ago John Cameron Mitchell had a sleeper hit with the independently produced rock opera Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Two and half years ago, Mitchell announced that his next film would be a sex film project, and in an unusual casting call, requested people send audition video tapes of no longer than 10 minutes with actors talking about true-life sexual experiences that were important to them. And any actor averse to having sex on camera need not apply. Mitchell's goal was to create a narrative film with a mix of professional and aspiring actors about sex and the emotions surrounding it. Shortbus is the result, and it's currently screening at the UICA Film Theater. Mitchell worked with each of the main actors to craft the story, in a collaborative, improvisational fashion. The film is graphic and explicit, with straight, gay, and group sex scenes. The main characters are a professional dominatrix named Selena who lives in a storage container, a gay couple named Jamie and Jamie, who wish to open to open up their relationship to other, sexual partners, and Sophia, a Couples Counselor, who has never experienced an orgasm. (clip)
Jamie and Jamie invite Sophia to Shortbus, hosted by Justin Bond, a cross-dressing singer, who may or may not be homosexual, and there Sophia befriends Selena (clip). Musicians, singers, actors, and all sorts of NYC bohemians frequent Shortbus, including a character who seems to be thinly veiled portrayal of former mayor Ed Koch. (clip) Shortbus is a weirdly corny movie considering the explicit material. I did not find it to be particularly erotic, and that seems to be the intention. Mitchell gives us the most graphic scenes in the very first series of sequences, and after that the focus of the film is each of the character's emotional longings, and frustrations. Visually, Shortbus seems right out of a 70s low-budget movie, and the amateur quality of the acting enhances that, which would seem to be flaw, but actually charms. The climax, so to speak, seems rather cloudy, but overall I enjoyed by trip on the Shortbus.




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