- Director: Adina Pintilie
- Writer: Adina Pintilie
- Producer: Adina Pintilie; Philippe Avril
Only half a review…because, the exploitation and pseudo-intellectual guff [not to mention the mind-numbing monotony] was/were – simply - too much to bear…for a further 65 minutes. Yes, we actually sat through the first 60 minutes trying not to scream at the screen! Exhausting…and, to think, this won the Golden Bear and the Best First Feature Award @ Berlinale!
Call it what you will: An experimental, cathartic, arthouse, some kind of docu-drama hybrid…it is – in fact – a very effective, quick-working, brain-killing barbiturate…battling sleep was the only thing that kept 'us' awake throughout the first hour!
Laura Benson states that she is 90% terrified of…and, 10% ‘kind-of-comfortable’ with…filming. Only sado-masochists would be ‘comfortable’ to watch this ‘character’ indulge in her quest – usually via sex workers – to break down the [mighty] barriers of her intimacy problems! Sweetness, there are therapists that can do a [much] better job than this cathartic indulgence!
If the ‘director’ had not been so self-absorbed, Touch Me Not could have/should have been an absorbing and touching [pardon the pun] look at intimacy through various percspectives…instead, rather than feeling the 'humanity' that is intimacy, she went for the ‘shock’ effect – wrong direction, resulting in a disaster of a film. Who knows, it may have become a master-work in the second part, hence the awards…but, when you can’t retain an audience, this particular audience member embraced disinterest and walked out...thereby, saving the audience from uninhibited and unbridled snoring!
Laura cannot bear to be touched and recoils whenever anyone catches hold of her or takes her hand. She goes to see a therapist, and orders a male prostitute, but her body is still like an armour. In a loose succession of scenes, we follow other people in search of intimacy. Christian, who has to live with many physical impairments, talks candidly about what turns him on, what turns him off and his love life with his long-standing girlfriend. The couple participate in a workshop on body awareness attended by people of all ages, with and without disabilities, such as Tudor. His bald head makes him seem strangely vulnerable and he has yet to discover and accept the manifold forms of his desire.
The cool images and laboratory-like atmosphere of this film help the viewer to jettison their own preconceived opinions and ideas of intimacy, as it takes us on an emotional expedition to illuminate the many different facets of sexuality beyond all taboos. Each scene develops its own sense of truthfulness, regardless of whether the situations have been staged or present documentary footage.