Shortbus (John Cameron Mitchell, 2006)

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Lino
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Shortbus (John Cameron Mitchell, 2006)

#1 Post by Lino » Wed May 03, 2006 11:05 am

First images are online now:

I just knew this was going to be good! Satyricon for the 21st century! YES!

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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#2 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Wed May 03, 2006 11:30 am

His movie is here finally - YES! =D> Now the question is whether it will be any good or not.
By the way, that's a great avatar, Annie; I was on a Tori Amos binge yesterday at You Tube.

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Lino
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#3 Post by Lino » Wed May 03, 2006 11:35 am

You can't go wrong with the High Priestess of Pop!

Back to Shortbus: I have some great expectations about this one and I'm almost pretty sure that they will be met. I hope so, at least.

marty

#4 Post by marty » Wed May 03, 2006 7:37 pm

I haven't heard very good things about Shortbus which is why it got selected as a midnight movie screening in Cannes rather than in any of the official selections.

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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#5 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Thu May 04, 2006 5:27 pm

What have some of the criticisms of the film been?

marty

#6 Post by marty » Thu May 04, 2006 9:02 pm

AMB wrote:What have some of the criticisms of the film been?
I heard that narratively, it is a mess. There are some hardcore gay and hetero sex scenes but the film is directionless with very weak storylines and insipid characters. Basically, John Cameron Mitchell wanted to be controversial with its hardcore sex element but neglected the characters and a good story. We've seen hardcore sex scenes before in arthouse films so its hardly revolutionary.

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#7 Post by Grimfarrow » Fri May 05, 2006 8:22 am

Where did you hear this from?

marty

#8 Post by marty » Fri May 05, 2006 8:52 am

Grimfarrow wrote:Where did you hear this from?
I know someone who worked on the film. Obviously, I cannot name the person becausee careers can be ruined but, believe me, it will be similar to the criticisms when the film is finally released!

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#9 Post by Grimfarrow » Fri May 05, 2006 8:58 am

But how did he see it in Australia? I thought the film is a US production?

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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#10 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Fri May 05, 2006 4:14 pm

Thanks for the explication, Marty. What you said is what I was afraid would be said - based on material I've read in the past concerning the film. Maybe I should wait for the DVD and do an evening rental of Shortbus and Nine Songs. :)

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#11 Post by David Ehrenstein » Sat May 20, 2006 3:56 pm

I'll wait to see it myself becfore declaring it a disaster thankyouverymuch.

I trust John

http://ehrensteinland.com/htmls/bride/g ... chell.html

over viscious gossip designed to destroy him.

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#12 Post by Grimfarrow » Sat May 20, 2006 11:54 pm

I agree. Some people need to learn that "loose lips sink ships".

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#13 Post by Grimfarrow » Tue May 23, 2006 4:40 am

The film is getting quite a bit of buzz and positive word-of-mouth, despite marty's doom-and-gloom on the film. well-received (and apart from that Hollywood Reporter review). Roger Ebert liked it, so does Jason Anderson, A.O. Scott and a bunch of others.

One of the few movies that has been almost universally praised at Cannes thus far is John Cameron Mitchell's (he of Hedwig and the Angry Inch fame) Shortbus -- the film is screening out of competition and won't be winning any big awards, but critics have loved it. You'd think, then, that at a festival where the sales market is reportedly pathetically light on quality films, distributors would be lining up to buy Mitchell's film. There's one problem, though: The movie is charming and funny, but also happens to feature real sex, including an opening made up of "a young man performing oral sex on himself in front of a camera, another a young man masturbating as he is whipped by a dominatrix and ... a couple having acrobatic sex in their apartment." So yeah, distributors are facing a bit of a dilemma.

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david hare
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#14 Post by david hare » Tue May 23, 2006 4:56 am

I'm sure Marty will enlighten us all!

marty

#15 Post by marty » Tue May 23, 2006 4:59 am

The film is getting quite a bit of buzz and positive word-of-mouth, despite marty's doom-and-gloom on the film. well-received (and apart from that Hollywood Reporter review)
Lets wait and see but the Variety review confirmed my suspicions that the film is fun when its explicit and dull in its attempts at characterisation.

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#16 Post by Grimfarrow » Tue May 23, 2006 5:12 am

Here is what my friend Jason Anderson says - and I trust him because he has good taste ;) He gives it 4 out of 5 stars. Another very positive review from Cinematical at the bottom too.

Anybody remember the media kerfuffle last year when word got out that a CBC Radio personality would be appearing in a sexually explicit film? Even by Canadian standards, it wasn't much of a scandal. Well, there will be more of a fuss in our esteemed editorial pages when they get a load of Sook-Yin Lee in Shortbus (4 out of 5). The former Much VJ, present Definitely Not the Opera host and all-round local luminary gives it her all and then some in John Cameron Mitchell's long-anticipated attempt to make a decent contemporary dramedy that just happens to have a whole bunch of unsimulated sex, with Sook-Yin Lee being one of the many participants.

Though Shortbus premieres tonight in a midnight slot, the press corps got an eyeful already earlier in the day. The movie opens with a cheerful abundance of censor-baiting sights, introducing a set of characters from across a vast spectrum of sexual orientations. The colourful gallery includes a gay male couple pondering the possibility of an open relationship, a depressed dominatrix, and Sook-Yin as a sex therapist who has never had an orgasm. As they congregate at an arty New York sex club, they rearrange themselves in various positions and combinations.

There's plenty of skin but as Mitchell himself has stated, “There's nothing erotic about the sex.â€

marty

#17 Post by marty » Tue May 23, 2006 7:11 am

Here is what my friend at the Hollywood Reporter had to say:

"CANNES -- John Cameron Mitchell's "Shortbus" is a pansexual comedy that tries to get at character through graphic sexual behavior. So here's the question the movie raises: Is sex really a spectator sport? Pornography, of course, is designed to stimulate sexual excitement in viewers, which they may choose to relieve or not, but the sexual acts are disconnected from emotions. In this film, however, Mitchell -- who created his script by work-shopping scenes and characters with his open-minded and brave cast -- wants to, as he puts it, "use the language of sex as a metaphor for other aspects of the characters' lives."

Well, you probably could try the same thing with how people eat or drive cars. But can one really achieve dramatic enlightenment by watching characters engage in a single activity for an entire movie? Will we really understand their lives as a consequence?

There will be those, of course, who will see this movie as profoundly sophisticated and artful. Just as predictably, the film will raise the hackles of our current conservative critics who howl over any breach of orthodoxy, which may make "Shortbus" a hot boxoffice ticket for a brief period. Yet the film lacks the depth and discipline of Mitchell's first film venture, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," which makes "Shortbus" a real disappointment.

The title refers to a New York multisex underground salon, named after the school bus used for children with disabilities or emotional problems. It is to this salon that the movie's characters repair to watch or engage in public group sex.

The subplots are cleverly linked by digital artist John Bair, through whose 3-D animated cityscape the movie can glide at a moment's notice.

These include Sofia (Sook-Yin Lee), a sex therapist unable to achieve an orgasm with her loving husband Rob (Raphael Barker); Severin (Lindsay Beamish), a dominatrix who lives in an industrial storage unit and has never had a lasting relationship; James (Paul Dawson) and his devoted Jamie (PJ DeBoy), a gay couple who enter the crisis zone when James suggests opening up their sexual relationship to other partners.

They find what they're looking for in Ceth (Jay Brannan), a model-singer who falls for them as a couple. Meanwhile, James has a stalker, albeit a caring and gentle one, in Caleb (Peter Stickles), whose apartment across the street from James affords him a perfect vantage point to photograph his sexual couplings.

Unfortunately, the characters lack dimension when removed from the arena of sex. All problems, goals and desires are sexual in nature. Jobs, ambitions and families are banished to the very margins of the movie, if seen at all.

Mitchell does partially succeed in his sex-as-metaphor objective. Moments of genuine humor emerge from the geometry of the couplings. For instance, when was the last time you saw or heard anyone perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" on the rear portion of the human anatomy?

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.
This is a cheerful and even a tad sentimental film, whose actors, despite in some cases a lack of experience, deliver believable performances in and out of their clothes. But to answer the question, no, sex doesn't really make a good spectator sport."

I just noticed that Grimfarrow eminates from Hong Kong where, suprise, surprise, also is where the head office of Fortissimo Film Sales are located. The sales agent selling international rights to the film. Amazing coincidence but maybe I am over-reacting.

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#18 Post by Grimfarrow » Tue May 23, 2006 7:19 am

Yes, of course - anyone who thinks the film mght be good is a plant! Oh my god! So all the positive buzz written in indieWire and Salon are plants as well! :rolleyes: And I'm such a bad plant, considering how much I panned 2046, which I think is a Fortissimo Film too.

By the way, you still haven't answered my question Marty. How did your "friend" come to see the film so early before its world premiere?

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#19 Post by david hare » Tue May 23, 2006 7:43 am

hon, dont even ask!

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#20 Post by Grimfarrow » Tue May 23, 2006 8:10 am

davidhare wrote:hon, dont even ask!
I'm not a zealot or anything, but I think that if the "friend" is involved in the production of the film itself, he wouldn't be badmouthing it. I guess I find the whole story fishy.

In any case, here's more positive feedback, apparently:

"Shortbus" director John Cameron Mitchell and actress Sook-Yin Lee, who starred in the film, arriving at a party for their film Sunday night seaside in Cannes. The film was a favorite of many indieWIRE friends attending the festival, and quite frankly, the film made us proud once again to be American. The party kicked ass too!

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#21 Post by David Ehrenstein » Tue May 23, 2006 11:34 am

John is just SO adorable!

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#22 Post by GringoTex » Tue May 23, 2006 12:10 pm

Grimfarrow wrote:I'm not a zealot or anything, but I think that if the "friend" is involved in the production of the film itself, he wouldn't be badmouthing it.
Crew members badmouthing the films they work on is an international past time.

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#23 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:46 am

The Hollywood Reporter: wrote:'Shortbus' has a driver
ThinkFilm gets rights to explicit pic

By Gregg Goldstein

NEW YORK -- John Cameron Mitchell's comedy-drama "Shortbus," which features scenes in which actors engage in actual sex, has parked itself at ThinkFilm. The indie company has picked up North American rights to the feature, which premiered Out of Competition at last month's Festival de Cannes.

The largely improvised film explores the lives of seven straight and gay New Yorkers seeking an emotional connection with one another. The sex is presented as one part of the characters' complex lives, which intersect at the Bohemian salon Shortbus.

ThinkFilm plans to give the $2 million "Shortbus" a platform release in the fall, eventually bringing it to specialty theaters across the country. But the unrated film's several sexually explicit moments present a marketing challenge.

"TV sales are out, and it probably can't be sold at Blockbuster or several other chains," said one competing distributor, whose company was a final contender in the negotiations to acquire the film. That distributor, who declined to be named, bowed out when, he said, the filmmakers sought a $500,000 price tag for North American rights.

Nevertheless, a number of indies expressed interest in the finished film, for which the filmmakers spent more than a year raising financing. "We had 11 other offers on the table, including video companies who would allow us to use the advance for a service deal and a pay cable network we're continuing to talk with, who may talk to ThinkFilm about licensing TV rights," said Mitchell, directing his sophomore feature after the 2001 musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." "Then we were getting calls from studio specialty divisions wondering why they were out of the running."

While Mitchell said the divisions eventually got cold feet over the content, execs from two of those companies said they had the go-ahead from their corporate parents to pursue the movie but that the economics of the deal didn't make sense given the high price tag and limited revenue streams.

According to sources close to the production, ThinkFilm, Magnolia, IFC Films and Roadside Attractions in conjunction with Netflix were the final contenders.

"ThinkFilm just kept coming at us and had the best offer," said Mitchell, though the filmmakers declined to specify how much the company offered. According to Mark Urman, head of ThinkFilm's theatrical division: "We all saw it together, and were unanimous about it. It's quite groundbreaking, and we were all impressed with how natural and normal and comedic the extreme sex became without being offensive."

Urman doesn't appear daunted by the marketing challenges. "Maybe we won't take TV ads," he said cheekily. "I'll save money." He plans to release the film as soon as possible. "There'll be enormous pre-awareness, and once you let the cat out of the bag, that cat should be allowed to prowl," he said.

Mitchell pointed to several alternative marketing strategies, including a "virtual salon" Web site where people can upload their films, music, art and literature; a competition for "best performers"; and "Shortbus"-themed salons and concerts at colleges around the country.

The film has been sold to more than 20 international territories, which producer Howard Gertler said will cover the film's budget.

The deal was announced by ThinkFilm president and CEO Jeff Sackman with producers Gertler, Mitchell, and Tim Perell of Process. It was negotiated by CAA on behalf of the filmmakers, and by executive vp acquisitions and business affairs Randy Manis on behalf of ThinkFilm.

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Lino
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#24 Post by Lino » Wed Jun 28, 2006 3:39 am

Interview with Mitchell over at Twitch.

marty

#25 Post by marty » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:25 am

Shortbus - what a load of homosexual tripe! Please give me a film without the homosexual preaching, for Christ sake! Yes, we know homosexuals have such a hard life but spare me the preaching of how tough life is and how the whole of USA is against you. Get a life and live your life without demeaning others. Grow up!

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