Once in a while, there are things that challenge my level of comfort. I am no prude and I've had my share of art house hits, but none that comfortably delves into an unbridled passionate love with simmering frankness.
Such is Ashley horner's "Brilliantlove" aka "The Orgasm Diaries".
It's a sweltering summer in an English countryside. 18 year old Manchester (Liam Browne) spends his lazy hours sleeping, shoplifting, and constantly engaging in raw, enthusiastic, passionate sex with his plucky girlfriend Noon (Nancy Trotter Landry) who's magnetized by the youthful frolicky charm of the struggling photographer. Together, nothing else matters. They spend their days in Manchester's rundown garage, unmindful of concerns that inhabit most other human being. One day, Manchester inadvertently leaves (at a pub) a set of random photographs he has taken of their intimate sexual games. A wealthy gentleman named Franny (Michael Hodgson) finds them and instantly recognizes Manchester's talent - one that eventually thrusts him to the realm of the lucrative Erotic Art.
Though initially oblivious to Franny's offer, Manchester soon discovers the pleasure of a wad of british pounds; of owning a car; of sleeping in a posh British villa; and the adoring appreciation of art aficionados. In fact, every item from his exhibit (of his and Noon's love making) gets bought! There's one problem: Noon is unaware of the source of Manchester's expeditious accumulation of wealth! Suddenly, the innocence of summer is threatened by the brisk turn of events in the lives of the young couple.
With a surfeit of uninhabited nudity, sexual and otherwise, the exposition tackles the nature of a youthful and passionate romance in vivid, albeit provocative narrative strokes. We see the couple in various states of undress, in manifold angles and views, giving the impression that nudity, in its natural state, is not an affliction we have to avoid.
I have to salute Liam Browne and Nancy Trotter Landry for their brave, instinctive (and even pragmatic?) performance that have them in various states of undress. Browne, particularly, gets to wash his genitals on screen; brave the freezing English oceans (despite what cold water does to the male genitalia); masturbate to a sleeping Noon; urinate and even (suggestively) "orgasm" (thus its alternative title) in front of the screen. Too graphic? You have to watch it in the context of the way this story has been "calmly" and eloquently told. Cinematography captures the essence of an Indian summer, as well as the atmosphere of unadulterated affection. In fact, some of the more powerful scenes involve dialogue-free scenes. The thematic sexual burden initially provokes, but such unease eventually dissipates.
The film gets mixed reviews, but it is a gem in my book.
If you're not too prude of in-your-face nudity, this movie (unlike 90% of sex-oriented Philippine indie movies) will impart a degree of catharsis far removed from orgasm.
Machester (Liam Browne) and Noon (Nancy Trotter Landry) enjoying a hot summer before "opportunity" knocks at his door.
Here is an excerpt from Mr. Browne's interview with Mr. Eric Sclapack at the Edinburgh Film Festival:
Film Festivals Examiner: How did you come to be an actor, was this something you always wanted to do or did it come later in life?