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Shortbus 

John Cameron Mitchell


Shortbus
Directed by: John Cameron Mitchell
(THINKFilm)
Within the first five minutes of writer-director John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus, a man performs autofellatio and Sook-Yin Lee has sex in a variety of positions. The titular Shortbus is a club that encourages sexual self-expression. The film follows several lonely New Yorkers who frequent Shortbus and documents the connections they attempt to forge with one another. Sofia (Lee) is on a quest for her first orgasm: James (Paul Dawson) and Jamie (PJ DeBoy) invite a third man to join their long-term relationship. The movie is Mitchell's follow-up to the revered musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and the director developed Shortbus following a lengthy workshop process with his actors. Mitchell wanted his film to depict sex realistically, but not pornographically. It's a difficult balance to strike. Shortbus is loaded with graphic sexual content and watching the film is often an uncomfortable experience. But the movie's not about sex, really—it's about acceptance and forgiveness. One night at Shortbus, Ceth (Jay Brannan), a model, meets elderly Tobias, a fictional former NYC mayor, who blames himself for not properly addressing the AIDS crisis. Ceth holds him. The sex in Shortbus won't be everyone's cup of tea, but the movie is well worth watching.
—Lindsay McCarney

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Vol 25, No 25
November 16, 2017

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