Steamy Sundance

By Stern, Marlow | Newsweek, January 25, 2013 | Go to article overview
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Steamy Sundance


Stern, Marlow, Newsweek


Byline: Marlow Stern

Park City's 2013 festival sizzled with sex, sex, and more sex.

This year's edition of the Sundance Film Festival, the premier showcase for independent cinema, marked a major departure from festivals past. In a watershed moment for female cineastes, half of the 16 films competing in the Sundance Dramatic Competition were directed by women.

But the biggest story at the festival, running from Jan. 17 to 27 in Park City, Utah, centered on the crossing of a far racier threshold. While Sundance has a history of playing host to kinky fare, ranging from X-rated documentary Inside Deep Throat to the pornographic short-film compilation Destricted, sex in its myriad forms has never been as prevalent as it was at the 2013 festival. And boy, oh boy, was there sex. From bondage porn to orgies, here is the cream of the lascivious crop.

BDSM, for the uninitiated, is short for: bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadomasochism. The racy practice is captured in two X-rated, James Franco-shepherded documentaries at this year's festival. Kink, a documentary produced by Franco and directed by his pal Christina Voros, explores the BDSM website Kink.com and includes scene after scene of penetration footage. Meanwhile, Interior. Leather Bar., directed by Franco and Travis Matthews, re-creates the 40 lost minutes of leather-bound gay-sex scenes in William Friedkin's 1980 cult classic, Cruising. Both films feature raw, unsimulated sex scenes and are not for the sheepish.

Two of the most hotly anticipated titles premiering at Sundance explored pornography from opposite ends of the spectrum. There's Don Jon's Addiction, marking the feature-film-making debut of the ubiquitous Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also stars as a womanizing, testosterone-heavy 20-something who must overcome his crippling addiction to porn if he is ever to find a meaningful sexual relationship. And Lovelace, from the filmmaking duo of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, features a very nude Amanda Seyfried (fresh off her turn as the waifish Cosette in Les Miserables) as the titular star of the highest-grossing porno flick of all time, Deep Throat.

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