9 Songs

In Michael Winterbottoms 2004 “9 Songs,” two lovers meet by chance at a concert in London: A glaciologist, Matt, and a drifter girl from America, Lisa. Their story is an explicit one, told in between live concert footage (hence the title). We get an up-close-personal look not only at the sex life of Matt and Lisa but also some fascinating underground rock bands. There’s a lot of sex, but it doesn’t seem pornographic or contrived, Hollywood-style, either. Art-film slick on a meager budget with unknown actors, this film received standing O’s at the Sundance and Toronto film festivals and was received by most critics with mixed, negative-leaning reviews.

Margo Stilley (Lisa) was the most fantastic breath of fresh air. She’s crazy and playful but also waiflike and enigmatic. If you get a chance, be sure to watch her cast interview because she’s whip-smart and cute in it, simultaneously. The whole movie plays like a memory, like nostalgia. There’s not really a plot, more just scenes, with this film isn’t really a story, it’s just a feeling you’re supposed to get and things Winterbottom is trying to get the audience to feel, something by which they can emote. Everything used in the film is painstaking and purposeful; even Matt’s narrated references to Antarctica and the “anatomy” of a glacier; how its layers tell a story–it all speaks metaphorically. It’s an interesting glimpse into where sex can really take us with another person, or perhaps where another person can take us with sex…either way, it’s cinematic food for thought. (And I really dig the music.)

Watch the trailer:

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