The American media is notoriously puritanical when it comes to nudity and depictions of sex, making the explicit nature of John Cameron Mitchell’s polymorphously perverse Shortbus all the more surprising and welcome.
In the film, sex therapist Sofia is herself unable to reach orgasm. Clients James and Jamie invite Ceth into their relationship, to the dismay of their stalker neighbour Caleb. All frequent the Shortbus salon, where Sofia meets lonely dominatrix Severin. The strength of the film is its big heart and sense of joy; while many filmmakers are drawn to the darker side of sex, Shortbus is resolute in its happy endings. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)
This film is screening as part of Sex, the first of our three-month season dedicated to excess, presenting examples of how cinema has taken on sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll in Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll.
See also our monthly film from the IFI Irish Film Archive, From the Vaults: I Can’t I Can’t, which screens on January 22nd.