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
John Cameron Mitchell: "The way people express themselves sexually can tell you a lot about who they are."
Shortbus (2006) written/directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) is truly not for the easily offended. It is the film like nothing I've seen before and I've seen many films. It should be named Real Sex and the City or Every Thing You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask had not the latter title been taken already by Woody Allen. Actually you don't have to ask anything - you will get more information and graphic answers that you ever would hope for. This is the film where the graphical sex scenes are in abundance, they are extremely explicit. John Cameron Mitchell means business, and he gets down to it. By his own words,
"In the old days, when you couldn't show sex on film, directors like Hitchcock had metaphors for sex (trains going into tunnels, etc). When you can show more realistic sex, the sex itself can be a metaphor for other parts of the character's lives. The way people express themselves sexually can tell you a lot about who they are. Some people ask me, "couldn't you have told the same story without the explicitness?" They don't ask whether I could've done Hedwig without the songs. Why not be allowed to use every paint in the paint box?" John Cameron Mitchell
But after the initial shock, you realize that there are ideas, feelings, the attempt to understand the important things - what do we want? What is sex for us? How to understand ourselves first of all, how to communicate your desires, how to fulfill them? Shortbus is totally honest; it does care about its characters, and tells their stories of struggling with all sorts of existential difficulties, sexual or not, without condescending, with the equal dozes of sweetness, wit, and understanding. The film was made by a talented filmmaker. The beginning scenes would certainly grab your attention while introducing a viewer to few New Yorkers whose lives will be intertwined later. The music score and the songs are nice and set a melancholic mood, they provide a welcomed rest for the passengers on the Shortbus. The cast that consists mainly of non-professional first time performers, did a convincing job. It is not porn, it is an independent dra-medy that uses sex scenes to answer many questions about life.
The DVD includes the documentary Gifted and Challenged: The Making of 'Shortbus'. I found the Making... quite interesting and a lot of fun.
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