Already notorious for its genuine sex scenes --
the actors actually did everything you see them
do on screen -- Michael Winterbottom's "9
Songs" risks being dismissed as a mere porn
flick. That would be a mistake, as the explicit
scenes in the movie are not there for any
prurient or exploitative reasons. They're simply
an authentic corollary to the emotional truths
of the rest of the film, which depicts the short,
passionate relationship of an American girl in
London (Margo Stilley) and her British lover
(Kieran O'Brien), juxtaposed against
performances by hot rock bands like Franz
Ferdinand, The Dandy Warhols and Black
Rebel Motorcycle Club. The film's clever
conceit is that the intensity of the pair's
relations is comparable to the emotional and
physical highs of a great musical concert. With
a few deft strokes, Winterbottom lays bare the
couple's feelings, thoughts and, of course, sex
acts, creating an indelible portrait of two young
people just getting to know each other before
circumstance tears their pairing asunder.
The structurally simple "9 Songs," which
runs a suggestive 69 minutes, may not have
the layers of Winterbottom's best films, such
as "Code 46" and "24 Hour Party People," but
it's superbly executed just the same.
Starring Margo Stilley and Kieran
Directed and written by Michael Winterbottom.
Produced by Andrew Eaton. A Tartan release.
Drama. Unrated. Running time: 69 min