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Numerous New York City dwellers come to the exclusive club Shortbus to work out problems in their sexual relationships. Rob and Sophia are a happily married couple, except for the fact that she has never experienced sexual climax. This irony follows her to work because she is a couples counselor who frequently has to deal with the sexual issues other couples have. Two of her patients are Jamie and James, a gay couple who have been monogamous for five years and counting. James wants to bring other men in to the relationship, and his own history with depression may hint at an ulterior motive. Ceth (pronounced Seth) may be the perfect addition to their family, but Caleb, a voyeur from across the street, may have his own ideas about that. Sophia visits Severin, a dominatrix with secrets of her own to reveal. Written by
What everyone will hear about "Shortbus" is that the sex is real and explicit. Yes, this is all true. But so is the emotional journey the characters go through.
Far from being crude or offensive, Shortbus is fresh, insightful, celebratory -- and, most importantly, focused on the fully realized people, not just the bodies, who bare their flesh and feelings on screen. Like Michael Winterbottom, who made the explicit "9 Songs," writer/director John Cameron Mitchell says he wants to show true human sexuality as part of his story. Unlike "9 Songs," which seemed to focus on 1/8 of the full human experience of relationships (concerts and sex), Mitchell's "Shortbus" approaches 9/10 of the authentic experience of being human, being miserable, looking to come to joy, and exploring funny, sensual, and affectionate avenues to get there.
Is "Shortbus" provocative? Yes. Is it explicit? Yes! And these are good things in these politically authoritarian times.
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