1 item from 1999
PARK CITY, Utah -- Writer-director Mike Figgis has followed up "Leaving Las Vegas", with a labor of love, a quasi-surreal and contextual narrative that is entrancing and stimulating but also off-putting and stupefying. "The Loss of Sexual Innocence", which played to a packed and supportive house at Sundance this weekend, is a beguiling and baffling film that will garner kudos and knocks on the art house circuit for Sony Pictures Classics.
Elliptically structured with no standard narrative, the film is a textural glimpse at one man's sexual history, namely the formative moments of his sexual awakenings and experiences. "The Loss of Sexual Innocence" is, as its title suggests, centered on personal moments in the protagonist's sexual history: Some are messy, some are peculiar, some are unfathomable, some are overpowering. These defining instances are congealed in a collage-like form, as Figgis not so much connects them chronologically but rather by their emotional tissues.
In essence, "The Loss of Sexual Innocence" is a smear of cinematic synapses, as Figgis strings together these seemingly discreet happenings into a sexual/psychological portrait. Although chronological -- from Nic's early boyhood in Kenya through adolescence in '60s London through his professional life as a documentary enthnographer, the essence of his sexuality is linked by emotional connections rather than a straight-line maturation.
Figgis wraps these sexual segments around some ethereal intercuts -- a man and woman bathing, garden of Eden innocence, white horses -- and other highly symbolic sexual imagery. Although swathed in lush, classical music, these connective musings are somewhat trite and simplistic. At times, the sexual symbolism and filmic compositions resemble romantic wall posters. Still, Figgis' segmented structuring reveals some inner fibers and juices of sexual development that a more standard form would never uncover.
Among the players, Julian Sands as mature Nic is outstanding as a man grappling with his emotional past as well as the conflicts and demands of a "modern" marriage. Johanna Torrel smartly limns the resentments and yearnings of Nic's wife who fears she plays second fiddle to his career. The other players are a well-chosen lot, seemingly more for their striking and often beautiful physicality than any acting requirements.
Technically, the film is remarkable mainly for its cinematic scopings: Cinematographer Benoit Delhomme's perceptive compositions render perspective and insight to this often enigmatic film.
THE LOSS OF SEXUAL INNOCENCE
Sony Pictures Classics
Summit Entertainment/Newmarket Capital Group
A Red Mullett Film
Producers: Mike Figgis, Annie Stewart
Screenwriter-director-music: Mike Figgis
Executive producer: Patrick Wachsberger
Co-producer: Barney Reisz
Director of photography: Benoit Delhomme
Editor: Matthew Wood
Production designers: Jessica Worrall, Mark Long
Costume designer: Florence Nicaise
Casting: Jina Jay
Adult Nic: Julian Sands
Twins: Saffron Burrows
Lucca: Stefano Dionisi
Susan: Kelly McDonald
Susan's Mum : Gina McKee
Nic (age 16): Jonathan Rhys-Myers
Susan's father: Bernard Hill
Blind woman: Rossy De Palma
Nic's wife: Johanna Torrel
Running time -- 101 minutes
MPAA rating: R
1 item from 1999
IMDb.com, Inc. takes no responsibility for the content or accuracy of the above news articles, Tweets, or blog posts. This content is published for the entertainment of our users only. The news articles, Tweets, and blog posts do not represent IMDb's opinions nor can we guarantee that the reporting therein is completely factual. Please visit the source responsible for the item in question to report any concerns you may have regarding content or accuracy.See our NewsDesk partners