Old MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

'Shortbus': Mitchell's Sex Opus Lands at Cannes

One of the few (if not the only) New York films playing at Cannes this year is John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus, which had accrued nearly two years’ worth of notoriety for all the real sex and sophistry unapologetically stirred up by its filmmaker. But now Mitchell is letting his film do the talking, and early buzz has the amateur fuckfest speaking at least a few critics’ language:
Tony Scott, The NY Times: ” ‘I’m a Catholic boy, I don’t mind pushing a few buttons,’ Mr. Mitchell said, and Shortbus, which has generally been well received here, may make some American distributors squeamish. But it is ultimately less shocking than disarming, more a comedy of manners layered with social satire than a peep show or a John Waters-style provocation.”
James Rocchi, Cinematical: “After years of buzz, actually seeing Shortbus leaves you wanting to invent new adjectives — Fucktastic! Cocktacular! Breastalicious! — but it also leaves you more than a little impressed by how funny and loose and, yes, emotionally engaging the film is. All the sex makes Shortbus kinda hot, but what’s surprising is how Mitchell’s sensibility and comedic charm makes it warm, too.”
Eugene Hernandez, indieWIRE: “While those involved with the movie have admitted that it may be a challenge to secure distribution for such a film, early positive reaction has buoyed interest in the movie here in Cannes, with insiders saying that even some unlikely prospects started circling the movie. A few buyers informally polled by indieWIRE today said they loved the movie.”
–(The less-favorable) Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter: “The film lacks the depth and discipline of Mitchell’s first film venture, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which makes Shortbus a real disappointment. … You do gain some insights into these people through the inventive positions and marital aids they so eagerly employ. But you gain more in the ceaseless group-therapy speak that continues before, during and after much of their sexual activities, a tacit admission that merely watching sex isn’t going to tell us that much about peoples’ lives.”
The repressed, compulsive gambler in me wants to bet IFC Films picks this up by the end of the month. Any takers?

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“Well, actually, of that whole group that I call the post-60s anti-authority auteurs, a lot of them came from television. Peckinpah’s the only one whose television work represents his feature work. I mean, like the only one. Mark Rydell can direct a really good episode of ‘Gunsmoke’ and Michael Ritchie can direct a really good episode of ‘The Big Valley,’ but they don’t necessarily look like The Candidate. But Peckinpah’s stuff, even the scripts he wrote that he didn’t even direct, have a Peckinpah feel – the way I think there’s a Corbucci West – suggest a Peckinpah West. That even in his random episodes that he wrote for ‘Gunsmoke’ – it’s right there.”
~ Quentin Tarantino

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