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BAD LUCK BANGING OR LOONEY PORN gets 9/10 Sex on the net


Directed by Radu Jude

Starring Katia Pascariu, Claudia Ieremia

9/10

This new Romanian film, set in COVID pandemic times, is a savage and alarming grenade of a film, destroying notions of what should and shouldn’t be included in a film these days. It takes a highly modern issue in society, relates it to historical woes of the past, all the while treating its subject seriously, though it does have a more comical approach to its characters and their culture as a whole.

The film is divided into three very distinct chapters. This calm before the storm shows high school history teacher Emi (Katia Pascariu) walking around the streets, discussing on the phone with her husband about the unfortunate leak of their sex tape. Despite their efforts to scrub it from the internet, it has circulated and it is now the cause of great concern for the school she teaches at and the parents of the children she teaches. This segment is shot with this pandemic culture very much in mind – as we follow her around the city, the camera lingers even once she’s out of shot, focusing on the commercialised knick-knacks that run amok in a densely capitalistic society: cheap kids toys in store fronts, sexualised advertisements (that obscure heritage buildings), and, of course, face-masks that are now litter.

Once this chapter ends (with the revelation the sex tape is online and Emi’s job as a teacher may be compromised), the second chapter comes across as a shock to the system – it presents a documentary montage of word definitions, accompanied by footage showing the word and subtitles revealing a comical “definition” of such a word. Most of these words are related to sex, cinema, COVID-19, and contemporary atrocities. Its inclusion in the film seems strange, though it’s as if the film is lost in thought in preparation for the meeting Emi’s having, going over not just sex and education, but also society at large and as a whole, all its history considered.

Finally there’s the third and final chapter, reuniting us with Emi and her woes as she goes through the parent-teacher conference, which seems like more of an excuse to humiliate and deride her. She cops a decent amount of it, but holds her own as she defends herself. As the protagonist, she may seem like the only voice of reason, but the film still indulges in its conversational manner, offering up many controversial conflicting viewpoints between these characters. And given the anarchic ingenuity of how this film decides to wrap itself up, it gets to consider more than a couple of different perspectives of how a story like this could end.

There’s no better, or more appropriate, word to describe this film than ballsy. Quite a lot of the time it has a prankish quality, as if it’s desperately trying to take its subject matter seriously, but then it realises the ridiculousness of it, and suddenly becomes a comedy. There’s been no other film like this to come out this year, or maybe in the past five years: it’s more engaging than most dramas, it’s funnier than most comedies, and it has a fierce and direct anger that people from nations all around the world can recognise.

DAVID MORGAN-BROWN

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