|a||"The Loss of
Sexual Innocence", from Johnny Web
First of all, the title is a scam. Sexuality is peripheral. There is nudity in the movie, but 99% of it is in the scenes that take place in the garden of Eden - metaphorically paralleling the rest of the movie. The title of the movie should be The Loss of Innocence, or perhaps "memory".
The movie questions how memory works and what memories are most vivid to us, and posits that the answer is those memories that shattered our innocence in some way. Remember the first time you heard you parents argue? The first time you were aware of the death of someone you knew? The first time you saw a dead body? The first time you saw someone really get hurt and bleed profusely? The time you went to school for the first time and found out that other children are cruel, after being raised in a home where everyone was always so kind to you? The first time you saw people making love? The first time you discovered abuse by an authority figure you trusted? Well, you get the point. The film focuses on those most powerful moments and our memories of them.
In parallel, as I mentioned earlier, the film shows Adam and Eve losing their innocence in the Garden of Eden, a second story which is interwoven with the main plot.
I think the best way I can review the film is to tell you how it ends. This won't be a spoiler, because there's no way you're going to spend your time watching this thing. Adam and Eve are cast from Eden into the modern world, which is filled with crucifixion imagery, and where paparazzi photographers snap their nakedness, while cops detain them and make them get dressed. In the other story, the filmmaker accidentally runs over a baby while driving through remote Irian Jaya. The "innocent" stone age people can't communicate what they want, but Saffron Burrows stays behind while the filmmaker goes for help. It turns out that what they wanted was a life for a life, so they murder Saffron in exchange for the lost baby. Then they don't care any more. They walk away, the karma having been rebalanced.
Does it sound like your kind of movie? Then hop to it, pards. The movie has a few good moments, and supremely aesthetic highbrow intentions, but ......
Well, let me put it this way. This movie is obviously basically Mike Figgis' personal memories. First of all, in general, how much do you enjoy it when people tell you their dreams and memories. Personally, my mind wanders off to other things, unless it's some woman I want to romance. Remember on Seinfeld when everyone wanted to avoid going to dinner with Mister Peterman because of his tedious and excessively detailed stories? Well, Mike Figgis makes Mr Peterman look like Hemingway. Now I have a pretty good tolerance for soporific, arty, and disjointed movies. I made it all the way through Andrej Rublov in Russian, for heaven's sake, but I couldn't keep my mind focused on this one. I think this one would put Nick Roeg to sleep. Avoid it like the plague.
If you haven't already gotten the idea, I should also mention that this movie is basically a silent film. This is artistically justified. After all, that's the way memory works. You remember looking up your aunt's skirt at that party, but you don't have a clue what your sister was talking to you about at the time. However much it is artistically valid, however, I'll bet not that many of you enjoy a nice artistic silent film. Sumbitch is six hours long, too. Wait a minute, the box says it's just a normal length movie. It sure seemed like six hours.
A note. Saffron Burrows must be three inches taller than Julian Sands, and she's wearing flats. I suppose she is 6'1" or 6'2", even though her official bio says she is 5'9". I guess there is a point where tall stops being a plus and you lie downward. I suppose if Christian Slater is 5'11", as stated in his official bio, then Saffron must be about 6'6".
Another note: Adam and Eve forgot to apply the basic Scoopy Rule, which is this. If you run into a snake and it hisses or rattles at you, it's a real snake. If it addresses you by name in your native tongue, it's probably Satan, and it would be wise to ignore any suggestions it might make. In either case, Satan or serpent, avoid the snake.
Hanne Klintoe was Eve. She is naked throughout the movie. (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5) Saffron Burrows. She did actually show her breasts twice (one of them in a see-through bra). Well at least she tried. As you'll see in #3, she does not actually have any breasts to show. (#1, #2, #3) Ruth Boss, an anonymous braless woman at a railway station. I understand why she has so much screen time. I can still remember a beautiful woman that I flirted with at the water cooler in the Nestle office in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Most beautiful woman I ever saw, obviously wanted me to ask her out, and a decade later I'm still remembering and kicking myself because I didn't. One of my most vivid memories, so I understand this segment perfectly, even though it seems irrelevant to the rest of the movie. Johanna Torrell. Sands' wife. He feels her up while she's cooking.
"Your Friends and Neighbors", from Tuna
I've discussed this before. Abominable talky film, but featuring nudity from NYPD Blue's Amy Brenneman! The frames are very similar, but, then again, how often does Amy Brenneman get stark naked on camera?
"Exotica", from Tuna
I don't know this one, but here's Tuna's review: "Exotica has enough nudity for a soft-core, and the title would lead you to believe that is what you are renting. Exotica is the name of a strip club where much of the film takes place. The owner, a pregnant woman played by Arsinee Khanjian has inherited the club from her mother, and is only keeping it to help overcome her shyness. She is very pregnant in bra and panties in all of the images.
The real star of the club is Mia Kirshner who looks about 16, and does a very conservative Catholic school girl number on stage, and then does table dances for $5.00/dance. The DJ is not-so-secretly in love with her, and is also the father of Arsinee's unborn child.
Egyptian born writer-director Atom Egoyan was raised in Canada where this film is shot, and is married to Arsinee Khanjian. He is best known for The Sweet Hereafter. The photographic style inside the club is very unique, but adds rather than detracts from the film. There are many compulsory unknown strippers who show up throughout the film. This one is worth renting."
Mia Kirshner (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, #19, #20) The obligatory anonymous strippers (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12) Arsinee Khanjian (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10)