John Cameron Mitchell’s Cannes sensation is a joyous and expressive tragicomedy of sex and sexuality in New York City.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
There’s no hotter film in the world today than Cannes sensation Shortbus. It is also the film many of us have been waiting for ever since we realised that porn was here to stay: it presents explicit sex as fun and funny, a matter, would you believe, of shared pleasure! We present our screenings in a spirit of repentance – for all that grimly deconstructed fornication we’ve had to fight to include on our programmes in recent years. It remains to be seen, of course, whether we’ll be obliged to fight for this one too. It’s the work of John Cameron Mitchell, the New York comedian and performer whose cult following for Hedwig and the Angry Inch is, we confidently predict, about to swell. Sexuality is an expression of character in his comedy about a number of charmingly perverse characters who seek solutions to their sexual frustrations at a Manhattan sex club.
“Just the opening sequence is enough to leave most ordinary festivalgoers fanning themselves with their screening schedules. For a start, there is a young and gorgeous man trying to get into a position to fellate himself by folding himself in two. He certainly is flexible. Then we see the chap in the next flat watching him through a telescope. In between their respective contortions we see a man and woman having vigorous intercourse on every available flat surface of their home. Elsewhere, a dominatrix sorts out an eager slave. Unlike the spate of real-sex films that came out of France a few years ago, Shortbus is light, frothy and whimsical.” — Stephanie Bunbury, Sydney Morning Herald
“It’s a sad, sweet, openhearted work, a New York tragicomedy of manners… it’s a work of liberation, generosity and courage that deserves to be widely seen.” — Andrew O’Hehir, salon.com