Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sexual Chronicles of a French Family (2012): Skinemax, French Style

Sexual Chronicles of a French Family (2012)
dir: Pascal Arnold, Jean-Marc Barr

Are you wanting an erotic film but are tired of the pornified genre crap that populates Cinemax and Showtime after 2am, but are too uptight to actually watch porn? I have a sex-positive film for you! Sexual Chronicles of a French Family is a film that treats the subject of sex with a very French indie respectability, while maintaining a sex positive perspective.

Romain, the ostensible focus, is the baby of the family, and is also the only virgin of the family at the age of 18. His brother has dumped his girlfriend and is exploring his sexual outlets, coming out as bisexual throughout the movie. His sister got breast implants and is dating a bartender who wants to have sex in various weird places. His mother and father get frisky frequently. His grandfather, after his wife died, has sex with a prostitute twice a month.

Romain, however, gets caught videotaping himself masturbating in biology class on a bet organized by a female classmate. Which leads into the film exploring the various sexual outlets that everybody in the film has, in a completely eroticized softcore manner. At a brisk 75 minutes, the film still breaks every 10 minutes for a sex montage among the various participating members of the family.

Sexual Chronicles of a French Family is the natural outcome of films like Shortbus, except with a more straightforward intention. Where Shortbus emphasized communication, repair, and acceptance, Sexual Chronicles emphasizes connection, communication and acceptance. Because, Sexual Chronicles, much like Shortbus is told from a very specific point of view of keeping people together and sane.

Sexual Chronicles is never as explicit as Shortbus, and stays out of genital range. A lot of thrusting pelvises and erotic scenarios. It never shows penis or vagina naked, even flaccid. The movie makes sure that this can be shown on television, late night.

What it largely feels like is a group of sex positive friends got together and made the film they wanted to see but hadn't yet. It's a film which doesn't make judgments on any of the behaviors in the film: deviant sexuality, prostitution, plastic surgery, homosexuality, polyamory, virginity, etc. It makes rooms for conversations about good and bad prostitutes, various types of contraception, loneliness, and all sorts of taboo subjects. For all its positivity, the film stays frustratingly heteronormative.

There's a character who comes out as bisexual in the film after having a couple MMF threesomes, but we never actually see the men kiss or touch each other in any fashion. The bisexuality is accepted, and the character even has a boyfriend in the final family photo. But, the two men never actually get busy while we're subjected to like 20 different male/female pairings. Similarly, the movie intellectualizes all the sex positive interconnection, but the MMF threesomes where the men never touch each other is the closest we get to deviance. Everybody stays with their one or two partners through the course of the movie.

For all the salaciousness, Sexual Chronicles is merely a sex positive Cinemax film made to have on while you're either wanking or getting busy with your partner of choice. Beyond the complete intellectualization of sex positivity, there's nothing else to recommend Sexual Chronicles. Fortunately, the movie is blissfully short for if you want some quick titillation. It's really nice to see a sex positive softcore film. And, one that feels intentionally respectable. That's all it is, though.

No comments:

Post a Comment