Future Frames 2017 Review: Seven Awkward Sex Scenes. Part One

Someone much better than me once said that: “Student filmmaking is like masturbation. It’s self-indulgent abuse for which you’ll hopefully never have an audience.” While this is more than a tad unfair and dismissive it does rather illustrate the dialectic at the heart of Liene Linde’s Seven Awkward Sex Scenes. Part One. Ostensibly an exploration about human sexuality, the film becomes – upon closer examination - an examination of the creative process and the fear and doubt that plagues us all.

Beginning with a POV shot of a pair of panties being removed, the film cuts to Linde – who plays herself in the film – explaining her sexually explicit material to a group of stone faced film funders. Later on, two friends talk about their lives and take drugs before engaging in a passionate and spontaneous coupling. This moment of frenzied ardour is interrupted by the shout of ‘cut’ and Linde walks in shot, to take off one of her actors for a vaguely awkward discussion. The pattern repeats itself throughout the film as Linde tries to work her way through the minefield of directing such intimacy whilst also trying to confront her own creative process.

In many ways Seven Awkward Sex Scenes. Part One is an inversion of the usual attitudes towards sex. Explorations of raw sexuality are usually relegated to the euphemistic. Think the train going into the tunnel at the end of North By Northwest. But here the sex scenes seem almost a diversion, a feint away from the real focus – Linde’s struggling with self-doubt and the pains of the creative process. Indeed, the film makes links between the creative and the sexual – each requires people to expose themselves, both physically and emotionally.

This is not to deny that the film works as powerful examination of female sexuality. The scenarios presented provide a glimpse of the power plays within sexual trysts as well as some of the double standards inherent in sexual politics. The film does have some resonances with the works of Latvian animator Signe Baumane, an artist unafraid to graphically explore all facets of female sexuality.

The film is shot on a low budget (Linde herself says it cost 1000 EUR) but the resulting raw and naturalistic style suits the film well. Performances are good – and definitely unafraid when it comes to the sometimes graphic sex scenes (of which there aren’t seven. Hence ‘Part One’)

While its confrontational nature will most likely mean more conservative festivals will give the film a miss, those with a ‘late lounge’ type affair – or those looking for films which are simply brave , bold and personal pieces of work – will undoubtedly find it a home. The fact that the film – a product of the Latvian Academy of Culture – screened as part of EFP’s Future Frames at Karlovy Vary will also help its profile.

There is now hope that there will indeed be a ‘Part Two’. Let’s hope so as, while the film revels in being playful and meta, at its core is a raw emotional honesty the likes of which cinema so often lacks.

You can read an interview with Liene Linde HERE

Film Information
Original Title: Septiņas neveikla seksa reizes. Pirmā daļa
English Title: Seven Awkward Sex Scenes. Part One
Director: Liene Linde
Country: Latvia
Year: 2016
Run Time: 26 mins
Contact: National Film Centre of Latvia, nkc@nkc.gov.lv

06 July 2017, by Laurence Boyce