Intimacy; Erotic drama, France/ UK/ Germany/ Spain, 2001; D: Patrice Chéreau, S: Mark Rylance, Kerry Fox, Timothy Spall
Jay lives quite lonely. Ever since he got divorced from his wife he resides at an isolated apartment and rarely has the opportunity to see his two little kids, instead working almost every day in a shabby bar. But he organizes an original kind of entertainment: every Wednesday, an anonymous woman enters his apartment to have anonymous intercourse with him. After a few ‘encounters’, Jay becomes curious and starts following the woman. He discovers her name is Claire, that she is an actress in a theater and that she is married with Andy with whom she has a child. Jay admits everything to Andy who takes it calmly. But Claire decides to stay with Andy.
Winner of the Golden Lion in Berlin for best film, though illegitimately, “Intimacy” is a good and suggestively directed drama, one rare example of an intelligent porn. Director and author Patrice Chereau has a wooden and rather mild iconography, but is refined in shaping the story. At first, he satisfies the Eros of the audience: Jay has spontaneous intercourse with a woman who is a complete stranger to him since he neither knows her name nor does he even talk with her. It is explicitly shown how he puts a condom on his erect penis whereas he doesn't shout during orgasm, typical for the genre, but just moans. Their relationship becomes (intentionally) monotone and one-dimensional, so Jay decides to follow the woman and find out more about her, out of sheer curiosity, and that's where the movie really shines. The scene where he meets her in theater, how she acts in a play in front of the audience - as if she wasn't intimate with him just a while ago - suddenly gives the story a new, emotional context. Eros becomes thanatos and the average personality euphoria, wherein the movie cleverly breaks the cliche how bare intercourse doesn't evolve emotions. Kerry Fox is quite good in her role, yet the erotic scenes are rather rare while the emotional framework didn't manage to sparkle with full strength.