Shortbus is an indie american film from 2006 which tells us the story of Sophia, a sexologist who has never had an orgasm.
Sophia has been married for years and has had to fake her orgasms to satisfy her husband. She meets a couple of homosexuals who have been talking about welcoming a third party in their relationship. Sofia and the boys get along very well together and they go to Shortbus, a joint where you can play, laugh, fuck with whoever you feel like. Respectfully, as in other liberal places. There she meets a BDSM-addicted girl.
Focusing on Sophia we will get to know the problems of the different characters and how they work them out. The sex scenes were real, but not porn. Anyway, we can see everything: moneyshots, penetration, different positions, etcaetera.
The movie starts with a shocking scene in which the characters are introduced: Sophia fucking with her husband, the gay couple, Jamie and James with a scene where James blows himself off and Severin, a bisexual dominatrix who cannot have a regular relationship. From this start we will see how their paths cross and we will get to know their problems and struggles.
John Cameron Mitchell, writer and director of the film, was very sure of the story he wanted to tell. Many critics asked him why he used almost porn scenes. To that, he answered: “The film contains explicit sex scenes. However, it is not about pornography but about a view of human emotions and the relation of them with sex. Besides, it is a portrait of western sexuality in the last decade: a mosaic of intersexual situations in which pleasure is experienced as an essential void”.
The cast for the film was chosen through the Internet because the director knew very well that he wouldn’t be able to have any well-known actor for a film with such realistic sex-scenes. Thus, he uploaded an ad to the internet and many candidates applied, some of which went cold feet when they thought their careers could be ruined by the film. The ones who stayed had a very strange actor directing sessions. Cameron Mitchell rented a flat where they lived altogether while they were rehearsing for their roles. The bond between them grew stronger and stronger and can be noticed in the film.
Soon-Yin Lee (Sophia) was fired from the radio where she worked when they knew about her role in the movie. She sued them and won.
When the film was about to be finished, the production company ran out of money to continue and nobody wanted to invest in such a risky indie film. Luckily, John had a lot of friends in Hollywood and he could get even more movie than needed, reaching a total budget of 2 million dollars.
Although the plot focuses in sex, it is more of an excuse to see the sadness and the struggles of its characters. I have seen many well-told films but this one is one of the best. We can suffer and cry with the characters but also feel aroused and even masturbate watching the sex-scenes. Even though it is a dramatic film, there are some laughs during it.
The actors didn’t have much experience and haven’t worked much after its release, but they made of “Shortbus” a wonderful film, human with real and realistic sex-scenes, plain as life, which makes it even more lurid.