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408. Touch Me Not; movie review

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Title : 408. Touch Me Not; movie review
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Cert 18
123 mins
BBFC advice: Contains strong sex, nudity

Blimey.. should I start in the BDSM club where swinger sex and throttling takes places or with the sex therapist who touches up his subject?
Maybe I should alight first upon the touchy-feely meditation sessions for the disabled and their carers/partners?
I get that Adina Pintilie is trying to push boundaries with Touch Me Not but the combo of art and sex just left me a bit lost.
It's not the 'live and let live' message - actually I believe wholeheartedly in that so I am not outraged nor even shocked by her film.
However, I am stunned that it has won prestigious film festival awards, including the Golden Bear in Berlin.
Touch Me Not was a labour of love for Pintilie who says: "It's inviting the viewer to challenge their own perspective on intimacy, on beauty, on how people can relate to each other and to embrace the otherness, the other which is different to you."
I think I see what she means but I expected the film to be a documentary and not so staged.
Indeed, it is akin to a piece of performance art with actress Laura Benson at the heart of it.
She plays someone who appears to be trying to free herself of inner demons and so turns to the unconventional sex therapist.
Meanwhile, Tómas Lemarquis plays a man who is on a parallel journey in which he joins therapy sessions and has intimate conversations with Christian Bayelein.
Since watching the film, I have read up on Bayerlein because it is immediately clear that he is a remarkable person.
He is severely disabled and has apparently become well-known in German politics and for outspoken and detailed interviews concerning his sexual life as a disabled person.
The problem is that his conversations with Lemarquis will go over the heads of a lot of people as will much of the movie.
As for the BDSM club and the swingers - I can't recall more explicit scenes at the cinema this year.
I would certainly defend Pintilie's right to challenge the boundaries of her audience and art itself but my personal view is that I don't go to the movies to watch borderline pornography.

Reasons to watch: A very different exploration of emotion
Reasons to avoid: Touchy, feely is a huge understatement

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: Yes
Overall rating: 5/10

Director quote - Adina Pintilie: "A wonderful group of gifted and courageous characters ventured out together with me in this research, existing in the blurred area between their real biographies and their fictionalised one."

The big question - Is this performance art, research or cinema?

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