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Shortbus [DVD] 
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Risqué sexual politics drama about a gang of young New Yorkers. Directed by John Cameron Mitchell of 'Hedwig And The Angry Inch' fame, 'Shortbus' is an even more explicit look at the margins of sexuality. Sofia (Sook Yin Lee) is a sex counselor who has never achieved orgasm. Previously staid and a confirmed heterosexual, she is drawn into the world of orgiastic bisexual sex parties by a gay couple, Jamie and James, (PJ DeBoy and Paul Dawson) whom she is treating. Becoming a regular at the Shortbus parties, Sofia is soon attempting, frustratedly, to achieve the pinnacle she seeks with a dominatrix called Severin (Lindsay Beamish). Jamie and James' sex life becomes complicated with the addition of a third party, Ceth (Jay Brannan). The film's sexual content is apparently real and not stylised in any way and there are graphic portrayals of gay and heterosexual sex throughout.
In his aim to make an honest film about sex, John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) has taken a somewhat documentary approach to Shortbus, a film describing various New Yorkers' sexual pathos. Framed by shots roving a homemade diorama of the city, Shortbus is comprised of vignettes featuring actors who helped craft this story of people's disconnect in sexual endeavors. Jamie (PJ DeBoy) and James (Paul Dawson), a gay couple experiencing a lull in their relationship, visit Sophia (Sook-Yin Lee), a sex therapist whose inability to orgasm results in her clients inviting her to a sex club after which the film is titled. Sophia's husband, Rob (Raphael Barker), is also willing to experiment, so the two independently embark on adventures in self-pleasure. Dominatrix Severin (Lindsay Beamish) plays a crucial role in Sophia and Rob's lives, as her search for real humanity overlaps with their desire for passion.
As each character's plot complicates, the viewer sees a similar melancholy bulldozing its way into these seemingly disparate lives. The depression is repeatedly used in comedic scenes, such as when James is asked on a date while still hospitalised for his attempted suicide. Yo La Tengo's score, which includes Animal Collective among others, lends this film a graceful ambience. Unlike porn, Shortbus has a resonance that encourages the viewer to consider one's own sex life as an important aspect of happiness. --Trinie DaltonSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Set against the electrical brown & black-outs that afflicted Manhattan shortly after 9/11, this film sets out to contrast the intensity of their sexual energy and the frequent absence of emotional depth ("I can see the love, but it stops at my skin") - successfully using the parallel of how day to day the energy of the city (the sex) keeps it ticking over, but you need to feel the intimacy of love (the black outs that didn't lead to the widespread looting the NYPD predicted but instead acted as a cohesive moment for the NYC communities).
The film is extremely sexual graphic in places - and I expect will or already has ellicited a campaign by the Daily Mail to "BAN THIS FILTH!". It's far more extreme than Winterbottom's Nine Songs - previously the most "sexually shocking" mainstream UK film - was, and the uncensored nature of these scenes is a tool that director John Cameron Mitchell uses to convey the intensity of the sexual relationships. So, this is definitely not a film you'd want to in the presence of your parents.Read more ›
As mentioned earlier, the sound track is great, very varied and really adds to the wonderfully distinctive feel of the whole film- I love the animation they use too.
I read that the director advertised for people willing to play characters that were similar to themselves and that all the actors had lots of imput into the final product -i think this shows as the characters really seem very natural and there are some great performances- I especially liked Jay Brannan as Ceth. Brannan actually features on the sound track singing his own song, Soda Shop which I now love, and think that he will be a big talent in the future, as both an actor and singer/songwriter.
Anyway my advice would be watch this film if you want something genuinely different, enjoyable, thought provoking and lovely!
Lastly, do be careful who you watch this movie with - it could be a very embarassing experience.
As much as this film is about its characters and their lives, it is about the state of underground or lack of underground art and culture in New York City, particularly the lower east side art scene - a nostalgic yearning for a time and an age of culture and community that is sadly gone in present day Manhattan. Theoretically, "Shortbus" forces us to question the nature of the spectator in a movie theater, watching a TV screen or computer monitor, or looking through the viewfinder of a camera. It is rare for any film these days to ask and provoke the kind of emotional responses and questions about the nature of spectatorship, voyeurism, censorship, viewership, and pornography while at the same time pushing the boundaries of cinema, redefining cinematic, and fusing multiple aesthetic systems that "Shortbus" does in under two hours. The actors were earnest in their efforts (and brave to perform the sex scenes), although no Oscar-winning performances I'd say. I did find Paul Dawson to be quite effective in his ability to convey emotion, esp.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazing film unlike any other I've watched, deserves to be better known.. Not for the prudish but don't expect porn.Published 16 days ago by R C Cooke
I love Sook yin Lee but there I do have a place in my heart for Orientals!Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
The German BluRay is 101 minutes, so I'd recommend that. Do you want me to repeat the plot just like everyone else? Won't! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Fuficius Fango
Excellent....but not for the easily shocked and definitely over 18's.
Was the "Summer of Love" really like this....?