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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Saturday, July 18, 2020

entry arrow10:00 AM | The Film Meme No. 84

[84th of 100]. If I must remain truthful to this list as a very personal take on movies with impact, I cannot be prudish and excise from it films of more ... salacious fare. Take it from the co-author of Don't Tell Anyone: Literary Smut. It's hard to write sex scenes in fiction well, and I'm sure depicting it for film is even more challenging. Sex in film has always been a fascination -- not just because it makes the pulse race but also because it is so difficult to capture and still make the film ... artistic, that is to say, more than "mere pornography." And yet there are so many good films out there which transgress that line, things like Nagisa Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses or Peque Gallaga's Scorpio Nights or Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris or Gaspar Noe's Love or Lars Von Trier's Nymphonamiac or Alain Guiraudie's Stranger By the Lake or Frank Ripploh's Taxi zum Klo, all of which are brazen and do not apologise for the explicit or unsimulated copulations they have. And yet they remain undeniably artistic. Maybe its depth, maybe its context, maybe its form informing the show and action of genitalia -- but films of this kind somehow do not make me feel ashamed for wanting to see them, because there is so much more in the film than just a focus on lovemaking. The carnal content becomes a metaphor, and you cannot strip away the boldness of its depictions without marring the intent and the wholeness of the material. They're necessary, in other words. One of my favorite sex films is John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus, which revolves around a sexually diverse ensemble of New Yorkers desperate for connection, often meeting in an artistic, sexual salon in Brooklyn, where they make sense of their neuroses while getting their kicks. I love this film, I love specifically the gay threesome in it that involves a spirited rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner." It is the most heartfelt film I have ever seen with a lot of sex going on in it, and I do believe it should be on Netflix for everyone to see. Which gave me the idea that beholding frank carnality onscreen does not have to be a clandestine endeavor. It can be enjoyed openly as artistic expression the same way we can't our secret trips to PornHub or alter Twitter. Which brings me to this anime from 2003, rightfully a gay hentai or sexually explicit Japanese animation, with no director to its name but with a writing credit going to Ashika Sakura, a popular [female] Japanese manga writer known for her yaoi and shotacon stories. The film itself is short, only 30 minutes long, and even with that slim running time, it is divided into two episodes. The first part details a developing affair between two manga artists, derailed slightly by rumours of past infidelities -- generally giving us a humorous, romantic story about trust and the irresistibility of pure attraction. The second part gives us a more challenging fare: a college student goes to do his parttime job as a pet-sitter for a rabbit, only to find out that said "pet" is really a naked boy tied up in a closet in an ongoing BDSM game -- and then something clicks between them. Needless to say both episodes contain acts of explicit sex that it can be amusing to see it all displayed in animated form, if not for the genuineness of the surprise and affection we get from the characters. The second episode for example limns a darker and very disturbing side to sexuality, but the unfolding interaction between "pet" and "pet-sitter" shows a complexity I probably would not get if this was a live action film. The sex is indeed hot in this film, but what remains with me are the humanity of the characters of this OVA. It's -- in the long and short of it -- quite unexpectedly sweet and complex, and you don't get to say that about a lot of porn, or even plain ordinary films, out there. What's the film?

For the introduction to this meme, read here.

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