Tuesday, September 11, 2012

RP Kahl's Bedways - Blurring Pornography and Art


Explicit topic and screen caps! If you're a minor or are easily offended by sexual situations, please leave this blog post!

Nina (Miriam Mayet), a lady director, is preparing her scenes for a film she plans to shoot. For six days, she sequesters Hans (Matthias Faust) and Marie (Lana Cooper) in a rundown apartment in Berlin rehearsing her “probable” scenes, constructing situations from improvisational moments during rehearsals. Every frame is diligently studied. In one of this, Nina watches over the couple as they lay in bed asleep – and naked. “I want to see how they sleep together,” she muses. As the days unravel, our three protagonists face several issues that probe seduction, God (Day 2), attraction and lust. But it soon becomes clear: the film might not get made.

Director and actor
Nina checks on the nervous Hans.

The film is a curiosity, and it caught my interest because I saw director RP Kahl’s (Rolf Peter Kahl) “Berlin Calling” – about a brilliant DJ musician (played by real life DJ Paul Kalkbrenner) who’s battling lunacy during the release of his anticipated CD. “Bedways” provokes. It takes you to an uncomfortable zone where you suddenly wince and question the scenes before you. While the film side glances about God and Focault, it’s the sex scenes that smoulder. Yes, they’re just rehearsing, but the scenes are real, visceral and graphic. How so? Marie puts condom on Hans’ engorged genitalia, then slides it in her. For the next 3 minutes or so, we see this rabid pounding and penetrating. In another scene, Nina, mutually attracted to her actor Hans, goes out on a date with Hans – at a gay sex club where couples could watch each other masturbate in separate rooms (while dirty talking to each other). Nina is then shown graphically fingering herself – right in front of the camera - no masking, no hiding from shadows, no angular execution; a scene that would have some people reeling with embarrassment. When Nina’s producer advised her that she didn’t have to show the actual sexual act, she replies with, “Then it’s not gonna work.” Real cinema, to her mind, is real emotion derived from real experience.

They used to call this cinematic movementPorn Chic” as exemplified by films like “Baise Moi” and “Irreversible”, but the motive of these film makers are constantly questioned for validation. "Bedways" is no different. Isn't it the realm of the cinema to delve into different issues, popular, taboo or otherwise? Actress Ellen Barkin once said “Acting is a matter of giving away secrets.” What could be more intimate than the sexual act? One school of thought doesn't subscribe to the tenets of “method acting”. Wasn't it Marlon Brando who scoffed at method actors because he believed that an actor only had to act something out. He isn't required to do the real thing. “That’s why you call it acting,” he said (I think). My thoughts about this narrative dilemma in “Bedways” is more basic. The director didn't seem to have a complete, albeit valid script - so why rehearse something you’re not even sure will get filmed? Aren't we wasting other people’s time? 

Scenes rankle with lust and explicit sex more than artistic indecision, but somehow I couldn’t consign it as absolutely pornographic. Some quarters call it “upper-class porn”; others accuse it of being “pretentious”. It’s easily compared to Michael Winterbottom’s9 Songs” as it blurs music, love and sex. The film also features a truly eccentric industrial dance band performing before a droll audience (the singer gyrates and sings as though she comes from some netherworld).

Running for 76 minutes, “Bedways” will try to take you out of your comfort zone, but it will also inspire some cognitive exercises. For that alone, it needs to be seen. But clearly, it’s not for everyone. 

Nina choreographs certain scenes while her actors were asleep; a truly eccentric moment.


Matthias Faust plays Hans: not shy doing the real thing.

Miriam Mayet plays director Nina and has an in-your-face self pleasuring scene directly in front of the camera.

Lana Cooper' plays actress Marie; performs real sex with  Matthias Faust on cam.

Director RP Kahl's "Berlin Calling"


Anonymous said...

watched this our of curiosity coz of your review. european cinema is fascinatingly strange :D


Cathy Pena said...


People who watch this will surely agree with me: there is nothing like it! You never see such style in Philippine movies, that's for sure -although the same "weirdness" could probably be glimpsed on some of Khavn dela Cruz's works. :)

Anonymous said...

^^ yes, I love me some Khavn, but Khavn is more like surreal weird. not always accessible.

Bedways for example is accessible-weird. you know what's going on. but amidst everything, you sometimes ask yourself: "where's all this heading?" or "what's the point of all of this?" and it gives me a different satisfactory feeling when i encounter movies like Bedways.

-j. lax

Cathy Pena said...


I love that the film takes you out of your comfort zone because it pushes the limit, but it keeps you thinking. :)

Tom007 said...

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3.8 Stars (4 Votes)
The director of the artcore-pic BEDWAYS shot a new project! It's called REHEARSALS and it is a kind of a remake of his film. In the new project there are really graphic and unsimulated sex scenes in it! Some more scenes and much more pornografic than Bedways! Also the director himself is playing one of the lead! But there is no regular release. Only a strong limited release of only 100 copies (numbered and signed) could be picked here: http://rpkahl.bigcartel.com/product/rehearsals Check it out! I like it a lot!