“I’m not saying John Cameron Mitchell‘s Shortbus is up there with Citizen Kane or Drunken Master II,” says Richard Corliss in a Time essay called “Meet the F–kers.” “It’s mostly clever, sometimes meandering. And I have to say I didn’t get all that jazzed by the many gay exertions (or the straight ones).”
Really? I thought the sequence with Paul Dawson leaning upside down against a wall and blowing himself was right up there with the Odessa Steps sequence in Sergei Eisenstein‘s Battleship Potemkin.

“But I was, critically speaking, excited to see the coherent integration of explicit sex scenes into a naturalistic story film,” Corliss continues. “Mitchell said that in press interviews here, he was asked over and over, ‘Why sex?’ I wonder: What took so long? Most people laugh and cry; most people have sex, occasionally at the same time. Sex isn’t divorced from our own emotional biographies; it’s an inextricable part of it.
“So I applaud Mitchell. And I say to other intrepid filmmakers: Just do it.” — critic Richard Corliss in his 10.6.06 Time piece called “Meet The F–kers.”

I respect Shortbus also for blending tangible emotional fibre with downtown Manhattan sexuality and hormonal urgency, blah, blah, and I too wish there would be more sexuality and less overt violence in movies, etc. And I laughed at the singing menage a trois scene. But the truth is that I was bored — vaguely bored — during a lot of Shortbus, and moderately repelled by some of the sexual footage.
Repelled partly because of Mitchell’s dp, Frank G. DeMarco, using overly bright lighting on all that white blotchy skin, and partly because I miss the kind of sugggestive, carefully lit scenes of skin and out-front sexuality that were part of Hiroshima Mon Amour , the 1959 Alan Resnias film, and Ingmar Bergman‘s 1963 film The Silence.
I know, I know…get with Mitchell and DeMarco’s blotchy white skin program and get in step with the 2006 program. But I don’t want to live in a cinematic world of shrugs, yawns and popcorn and leg-stretching breaks in the lobby .