'Erotique' produces too many laughs, not enough steam
By SARAH STEWART
The explicit sex present in film tends to
fall into one of three categories: 1) the plot
Directed by Lizzie Borden,
Monika Truet and Clara
Law; with Kamala
D Lopez-Dawson and
revolves around a pivotal sex scene, 2) the
sex scenes serve to distract from the weak
plot, or 3) any semblance of a plot is sacri-
ficed for the sake of unadulterated sex.
"Erotique" attempts to create a fourth
category that equally and artistically inte-
grates sex and story from the female
director's perspective. Instead, it offers three
distinct pieces that are equally stupid and far
The first piece, "Let's Talk About Love,"
is arguably the most complex. In exagger-
ated intellectual terms, it confronts the psy-
chologically probing subject of phone sex.
But more precisely, it visually presents
dreamy fantasies of sexual domination that
would be better left to the literary genre of
Some of the more realistic phone scenes,
masturbation and all, border on titillating,
but when Rosie (Kamala Lopez-Dawson)
and Dr. Robert Stern (Bryan Cranston) nar-
rate their fantasies as they are acting them
out, what's supposedly erotic becomes co-
medic. Does Borden believe that a few
candles and an angled camera will distin-
guish her work from one of those hilarious
B-movies that frequent the USA Network
late night line-up?
Unfortunately, a tendency towards hu-
mor is not unique to "Erotique." In fact, the
most notable and least complimentary char-
acteristic of the second short, "Taboo Par-
lor," is the number of laughs it's liable to
Director Monika Truet is apparently mak-
ing a statement on male bashing by present-
ing a lesbian character who turns a menage-
a-trois with her female lover and a hetero-
sexual male into a successful murder. The
crime is terribly unsubtle and consequently,
As heartless as it may seem, the whole
thing leaves the audience wishing Truet had
stuck with sex and chosen a different me-
dium from which to make a social state-
ment. Even thought it's more funny than
erotic to watch the murderess insert a dildo
into the ass of her soon-to-be victim, it's less
ridiculous than watching her and her lover
stare at the flames of the car she's just blown
"Wonton Soup," the last piece, gives
credence to saving the best for last as long as
we consider the low caliber of its company.
Unlike its predecessors, "Soup" has some
success in going beyond sex without unin-
tentionally inducing laughter. In fact, it is
supposed to be funny when an Australian-
born Chinese man employs every sexual posi-
tion possible in an attempt to keep his Hong
Kong girlfriend by making his sex life "more
The audience's energy fades sooner than
his does, as it becomes clear that this acrobatic
display of sexual bravado is just that. It lacks
passion and with the addition of clothing
might double as a typically mediocre "Satur-
day Night Live" sketch.
"Erotique" is bound to attract viewers that
are offended by the stigma of pornographic
adult films but are nonetheless curious about
sex on the big screen. But be forewarned - a
French title does not a sophisticated film make.
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Cntinued from page 8
"Tongue" also illustrates why
R.E.M. is a great band and one that
continues to get better with each re--
lease. Every part in the song is essen-
tial, yet no single musician contributes
a flashy performance. Stipe's warm
falsetto is breathtaking, while Mills'
*no and organ is equally impressive
in its melodic simplicity. Berry never
overstates the rhythm, keeping it light
and continually moving; Buck plays
on the downbeat, only letting loose on
the bridge. Throughout the perfor-
mance, the overall feeling of the track
takes precedent; the song, and what
each member can contribute to it, is
what is important.
Never before in rock 'n' roll has a
land been as completely collaborative
as R.E.M. In other bands there have
been clear leaders that provided direc-
tion and songs for the group. This has
been true for every great band, from the
Beatles to Nirvana. That's not the case
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