Confused, non-linear film tells the sexual story of a film director from his life at age 5, age 12, age 16, a man embarking on his first film in 1950's Tunisia, and finally to his current ...
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Confused, non-linear film tells the sexual story of a film director from his life at age 5, age 12, age 16, a man embarking on his first film in 1950's Tunisia, and finally to his current life. Along the way he has sexual exploits with an older woman as a teen, gets involved with an Italian couple Tunisia that culminates in the killing of a local boy and the brutal revenge murder of the woman, and ultimately is married to a cold woman. Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
Mike Figgis' "Loss of Sexual innocence" is another of his undertakings into the world of film art. It's not quite art, and it's not quite entertaining. The film is expressed in a series of vignettes concerning the sexual maturity of a character called Nic intertwined with other bits that are supposed to represent Adam and Eve and the beginnings of sexual discovery and other bits that either mean something or not. The problem, though, is that the bits don't really add up to anything, not schematically, not thematically. Every time the Nic character reappears at a different age, you don't even get a sense of it being the same person; it always feels like Figgis is starting from scratch all over again with a new set of players.
Figgis is a talented filmmaker, though. He knows how to build a segment for dramatic impact and how to compose a shot for effect, and in those rare moments, it feels like it's not all worthless and Figgis is getting across to the audience on some level. The sketch of Nic and his family stopping at a roadside gas station is a good piece, as is the woman in the see-through cotton dress at the train stop. There is an implied sexuality there, the sexuality that hums all around us, that we experience without really feeling. That's when the movie scores, when it's not just another lame coming-of-age story. But those moments are all too few. On the other hand, the Adam and Eve bits are trite, and one scene where a man carries a shopping bag with a liquor bottle spout protruding (obviously a metaphor for the male penis) is kid stuff, junkyard symbolism at its worst. Where this movie fails is not is in its structure on the screen, but in the mind.
One postscript: After watching it, I put on the director's commentary on the DVD to get maybe a better understanding of what he was trying to do. Figgis narrates with a not-exactly-arrogance but with a tone certainly descending from the mountain. When he spoke the words "we trucked in a load of red clay to recreate the Kenya of my youth", I knew I was done for. I turned it off and switched back to my Sunday Sports Center. 1 1/2 * out of 4
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