The Loss of Sexual Innocence

Article excerpt

The Loss of Sexual Innocence

* Written and directed by Mike Figgis * Starring Julian Sands, Saffron Burrows, Stefano Dionisi, Kelly MacDonald, and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers * Sony Pictures Classics

Sex is forever being cut short in Mike Figgis's The Loss of Sexual Innocence. Phones ring, people stumble through the door, and, in the most extravagant display of coitus interruptus ever, a squad of police with attack dogs and searchlights disturbs a couple's reverie, followed by a fleet of flash-popping paparazzi.

When you talk about love, to paraphrase Patti LaBelle, you should be talking 'bout shame. That's the gist of this magical, mystical mess of a movie from the man who brought us Leaving Las Vegas and One Night Stand. Alternately alluring and confounding, The Loss of Sexual Innocence hearkens back to all those obsessive early nouvelle-vague efforts of Alain Resnais and Jean-Luc Godard, the ones that sent our parents fleeing to some diner afterward to argue over coffee and cake whether it was fabulous or a piece of shit.

Through a fragmented, assertively nonlinear accumulation of flashbacks, dreams, and fantasias, we piece together the life of Nic, a successful English film director (played as an adult by Julian Sands and as a teen by Velvet Goldmine's Jonathan Rhys-Meyers). As Nic drives home to his frigid wife or off to yet another exotic third-world shoot, we get glimpses of his past.

A 5-year-old Nic living in Kenya witnesses an older relative sexually exploit one of the local girls. A 12-year-old Nic is subjected to harassment by his gym teacher and classmates. …


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