- Film & TV
- 30 Oct 18
Golden Bear winner proves the Emperor has no clothes on.
The winner of the Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear, Adina Pintilie’s quasi-autobiographical film about sex and intimacy, Touch Me Not, suffers a simple logical fallacy. It believes that being naked, sexual or kinky inherently indicates honesty, vulnerability and emotional intelligence, and disallows posturing or shallowness. It quickly proves itself wrong.
The film is, at least, ambitious in its attempt to address intimacy, beauty and sexuality. Pintilie is an experimental filmmaker, and she plays herself while interviewing and filming different people as they address how they inhabit or avoid intimacy. Laura Benson plays Laura, the director’s muse/alter-ego, who embarks on a form of sexual tourism, speaking with sex workers, transgender people and BDSM enthusiasts in an attempt to exorcise her own emotional repression.
But there’s a level of objectification inherent in these interactions – and some of their “therapies” feel self-serving, performative, and not particularly enlightening. Scenes of Laura screaming repeatedly while being punched in the chest may have some Marina Abramovic-style primal rawness, but complex and enlightening it is not. The blur between reality and fiction further diminishes any sense of authenticity.