Sunday, April 15, 2007

You've Got to Get On to Get Off

The Gramophone video store on Polk and California (not pictured) has two-for-one rental specials on Tuesday and Wednesday, which has led to a few odd double bills at our house. My favorite this year was "Snakes on a Plane" followed by "United 93." One was supposed to be silly and the other serious, but they were strangely similar in many of their camera angles and uses of suspense. "Watch out, there's a snake behind you" and "Watch out, there's a terrorist behind you" are not all that different.

This week's double-bill of "Children of Men" and "Shortbus" was oddly complementary too. Both films are explicitly post-9/11 takes on society, survival and sex, with "Children of Men" being a fictional dystopia set in the UK and "Shortbus" a fictional utopia set in Manhattan. The latter is the follow-up project to John Cameron Mitchell's "Hedwig and The Angry Inch," and like that stage musical/film, it's probably going to become a deeply loved cult among young people who empathize with its troupe of troubled, pan-sexual characters.

"Shortbus" also has its actors actually having sex onscreen rather than simulating it, which I found both genuinely shocking and charming. In fact, there's never been anything quite like the first ten minute montage of this film, with most of the major characters being introduced while having raw, graphic sex that is variously homo, hetero, and solo. Check it out.

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