The Band (2009)
When it comes to explicit sex on film, it seems as though few filmmakers are willing to cross the imaginary line between "porn" and "the mainstream." Producers of adult films create movies for masturbation; those who make films for the cinema are supposed to be "purer" that. Most will consistently refuse to show explicit sex. There's been a few exceptions like 9 Songs but generally the line remains entrenched.
Australian director Anna Brownfield seeks to straddle that line with her second feature film The Band. It's a grungy, independent film that features plenty of extensive, explicit sex scenes while also offering a fleshed-out characters and an enjoyable story arc. Add a liberal dose of humour of you've got a thoroughly impressive erotic film.
The story deals with Candy, the girlfriend of a rather obnoxious Jim Morrison wannabe called Jimmy. When he leaves his mildly popular band to pursue a solo career (and cheats on Candy in the process), she takes his place as lead singer. In spite of the band’s subsequent rise to stardom, Candy just can’t find happiness – until she discovers it right in front of her.
The Band opened the Berlin Porn Film Festival in 2009 which is where I saw it. It's one of the few adult films that I've happily sat through, enthralled, waiting to find out what will happen next.
The story leaves plenty of room for sex, of course, and it doesn't stint on diversity. There's cross-dressing, anal, panty sniffing, male and female masturbation (the latter using a guitar) and a happy rejection of rigid gender boundaries. The camera often focuses on the male during the sex scenes, a result of Anna's own enjoyment of viewing the male form.
As I've mentioned, this is an indie film and those looking for airbrushing and soft lighting may find the aesthetics a little too grungy. The look of the film does suit the story of an underground band so I didn't have a problem with it.
The actors all do a fine job, especially considering most of them were first-timers. The soundtrack is also impressive.
Reviewed November 2009