Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Watching You (2003)- NR

I was recently in a hot tub in Maine with 8 other nude men and women. The topic on the table (on the water) was lesbian love. Well to be honest, the topic was broader than lesbian love; it was more like the erotic flexibility of women. The question was how is it that nearly all of us (women and men) enjoy the affection, nurturing and erotic touch of a woman. Conversely, why does it seem easier for many women we know to extend attention, affection and erotic pleasure to both genders? The group did not see a similar trait in most men, including those in the hot tub. I reasoned that the answer may relate to the fact that nearly all of us were pleasured and nurtured by our mothers and that mothers are “flexible” to nurse and touch both sexes. The “hot tub 8” came to no consensus regarding this mystery and moved on to other topics. Maybe some questions raised in a hot tub are not meant to be answered.

Watching You is a collection of short films that in fact picks up on this question and does attempt a meaningful answer. All 9 short subject films have a lesbian theme. The films are from all around the world. They range in length from 5 minutes to 25 minutes. They are all excellent.

In one hilarious film a women interviews potential lovers similar to a job interview. The film has superb editing. One interviewee for instance will stumble with one question (“how do you spell cunnilingus”) only to be rescued by editing of another interviewee. In another very funny film a women attending a party instructs the viewer on “the dos and don’t” of attracting a lover. Stereotype lesbian women attend the party. Our guide periodically freezes the film to point out the strengths and weaknesses of each woman’s approach. The film is an excellent comic parody not only on gay women but women in general. In a third film we watch the surprise of a gay man when he becomes aroused while watching two women make love. In a forth film one partner asks, “what do you miss most about loving a man?” Her partner replies, “the long periods of silence.” One short film is Israeli. It was filmed in Tel Aviv and is about a single mother that secretly photographs an attractive neighbor. The film is a good study of jealousy.

The short films mix humor, explicit eroticism, stories of jealousy and stories of friendships. However, similar to the HBO series Sex in the City, all the films teach us more about women and why we love them than about lesbian love. This is a very enjoyable collection of short stories for both a gay and straight audience. The eroticism is at times explicit and arousing yet it is presented in the context of very interesting stories.

All films reviewed in this blog, unless noted, are available from Netflix.