Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sex, Lies, and Videotape

Sex, Lies, and Videotape; drama, USA, 1989; D: Steven Soderbergh, S: Andie MacDowell, James Spader, Laura San Giacomo, Peter Gallagher, Ron Vawter, Steven Brill, Alexandra Root

Ann often talks with her psychiatrist about her problems. She is married to the successful lawyer John, but doesn't like intercourse. Actually, she never had an orgasm. He sister Cynthia, on the other hand, adores intercourse and has an affair with John. Graham, John's friend, moves in into the neighborhood and becomes Ann's friend, admitting he is impotent, but that he is excited by tapes of women who talk about their erotic experiences. Ann allows him to tape her and admits she doesn't like intercourse only because she wants to be different than Cynthia. Ann and Graham manage to become intimate together and start a relationship.

Even though at first sight it may sound like some cheap porn, the movie that brought fame to Steven Soderbergh is everything but that: it is an extremely sophisticated, intelligent and subtle drama about frigidity and impotence revolving around only four characters, equipped with an almost metaphysical atmosphere. The cleverly written story manifested the metamorphosis of two people who cannot enjoy in intercourse - Ann is frigid, Graham is impotent - until they meet and finally find that what's missing in their life in each other. Besides opulent dialogues ("It's not always great to be happy"; Ann is noticed by some funny guy in a bar who just happens to wear a shirt with the same color and jokingly flirts with her by saying: "You wear red, I wear red...a lot for this joint!") and meticulously measured execution of the introverted story, it is also interesting to note that this independent film contains almost no erotic scenes at all, since it is more thought provocative than just provocative. The film won the Golden Palm in Cannes and was nominated for 2 BAFTA awards (screenplay, supporting actress Laura San Giacomo), 3 Golden Globes (screenplay, actress Andie MacDowell, supporting actress L. San Giacomo) and an Oscar (screenplay).


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