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Anna is a modern, independent single girl, focused on her job and wary of getting caught in romantic relationships. Her life is all about fun. Strangers without strings. No commitment, no casualties. She has just found a new apartment, and is tempted to let her latest boyfriend, Frank, move in with her. Instead, she finds a tenant: The flamboyant, fun-loving Camilla, who shares Anna's views on love and commitment. But then an old boyfriend happens to knock on her door: Johan, the very man who five years previously broke Anna's heart. Anna is tempted. It's not good. More than ever, she needs to get back on the merry-go-round and move on. Fortunately, she receives an offer to design costumes for a theatre in Paris. As far away from romantic temptation as possible -- right?Written by
Official festival screenings include the Zürich Film Festival in 2005; the Io, Isabella International Film Week, 2006; the 1st Porn Filmfestival Berlin, 2006; and Rated X: Amsterdam Alternative Erotica Film Festival, 2007. See more »
An experiment that ended up similarly to what was supposed to avoid
First things first: There are only few notable merits regarding this particular "experiment" but it is certainly not completely devoid of them: for one, the director attempted to create a counterbalance to what is universally considered as the problem of the mainstream pornographic motion picture, be it soft core or hardcore: the presentation of a mechanical, emotionless, unengaging, uninspiring and ultimately tiresome repetition of sexual acts aiming solely at the physical arousal of its viewers and probably achieving that in the first few minutes; rendering the rest of it as a distasteful and vicious circle.
The producers misleadingly labelled it as "pornography for women", perhaps acknowledging the fact that the scenes are not explicit enough to present it as the hardcore pornography they would have liked. And a large portion of it probably isn't as it seemingly provides to bridge the gap between hardcore pornography and erotica and create a film that would ultimately excite the senses in both a physical but also an emotional level as well as provide an engaging storyline that would justify the sex scenes as a meaningful entity of the whole. If that was the initial intention, as the producers of AAA claim it to be, it certainly wasn't given justice by the end result - in spite of the fact that that premise and intention was probably there in the offing. This is less evident in the actual producer's cut or even the director's cut of the film but a lot more evident from the outtakes of several of the sex scenes included on the DVD: they are long, varied, passionate, well rehearsed and acted and emotionally engaging; while the camera work is such that makes them appear both sensual and realistic. They're shot in a way as to provide a clue to the fact that most of the sex in the film is unsimulated; but with a more cryptic, more erotic vision, contradictory to the average porn sensibility.
It's not surprising that this film is described as a collaboration of a major mainstream pornographic production company and Lars Von Trier's Zentropa. But this dichotomy ultimately leans towards the side of the porn producers as they seem to win over the intentions of the director and probably some of the actors themselves who probably had a more concrete idea of what they wanted to achieve or rather what they wanted to avoid. As a consequence, although there is the actual "philosophy" of supporting the making of such a film - the existence of a "manifesto" in the like of Dogme95 that states the preferable and the avoidable - it all seems to escalate and ultimately fly in the face of that it was purported to be. Crudely put, there are facial ejaculation scenes; there is "cheap" music that is supposed to "complement" the sex - but in fact it is totally out of place. There is also a sorry excuse of a script and what is supposed to be a storyline but it is all done so poorly that can hardly conceal the fact that there isn't one. And most importantly: there is bad acting - which is quite surprising given the fact that some of the actors are allegedly unfamiliar with the territory and are earning their living from participating in more socially acceptable genres of film-making. However, judging by the actual acting in the film - give and take the sex scenes - either the levels of acting in Denmark are really low at the moment or these particular actors are hardly adequate in their chosen field. All the more so when particular emphasis is given towards presenting a story: the bad acting and lack of a meaningful plot to back things up create an even bigger problematic. Then there's the attempt to dress it all up with the addition of a supporting cast that comes straight from hardcore pornography; acting in more explicit and conventional scenes and overall giving a very uneven feel to the whole endeavour. Why add more characters and more scenes and "embroider" the film with what was supposed to be trying to avoid in the first place? Let alone make things even more complicated and disjointed when the leading characters themselves are so underdeveloped? It's therefore obvious that the initial intention was not shared by all of the people involved and consequently not sustained throughout the project - which is a shame and perhaps a wasted opportunity? The end product ultimately reflects those dichotomies: It's half-baked to such an extent that would equally disappoint both the fans of porn - because of the lack of enough explicit scenes they are accustomed to watching - but also those viewers who, deluded by the producers' promises, were prepared for watching something entirely different. It is different but not different enough to dissociate it from mainstream porn in terms of overall sensibility or production values. Finally some suggestions in case somebody else attempts something similar: give the director more artistic freedom to shoot what they like and present the film the way they like. Give them more time to work on it and have a more concrete picture as to what they aim to achieve. Lose the voice-over, especially when the script is so poor; get a decent scriptwriter to write a meaningful story, not an excuse for bad acting. Or perhaps simply give Lars Von Trier himself the camera and step aside...
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