I was invited to go see an Australian movie called The Little Death by Josh Lawson with friends Aphrodite and Fox the other night for TIFF. The movie features vignettes of different couples working through different sexual kinks, many of which are hardly discussed in the mainstream, such as being turned on by someone who is crying, or someone who is asleep, foot fetishism, and rape fantasies to say the least. I was impressed by the way the film used humour to confront issues of kink shame and poor communication in relationships and felt that the movie had potential to break into the mainstream and add an important degree of normalcy to the discussion of sexual kinks. One thing I did notice, particularly because of the fact that this is a criticism that we have faced as well while curating Nymphoninjas and are always hoping to improve upon, is that the director chose to depict almost solely thin, white, heteronormative couples. I’m not normally one to speak up during Q&A’s but I was curious to know what his reasoning was and felt it needed to be addressed so was one of the first in the crowd to raise my hand. Unfortunately I was disappointed with his response. Lawson didn’t have a good reason why, he nearly buckled being put on the spot with my question, and could only touch on the fact that they auditioned people of all different races but the actors they chose were the best for the role and didn’t even touch on not representing the LGBQT2 community in his writing whatsoever. I saw the director after the film again and felt strangely unresolved, having really truly enjoyed the film itself but also feeling like he dropped the ball on my question and his casting for it I approached him once again. I made reference to NN and our attempts to depict a wide spectrum of sexual preference as well as body types and since doing so have seen more and more people submitting to us and saying they’re more comfortable with their sexuality and body because of it. I asked him if he felt any sort of responsibility as a film maker creating a product that has potential to reach people and create less stigma surrounding sex to be more inclusive. He mentioned if he ever makes a sequel to his film he’ll be sure to include more diversity (easy answer) and that his mission in making The Little Death was never about the politics but about the storytelling (Lawson must be unfamiliar with the work of Marshall McLuhan). Overall, despite it’s obvious flaws I think The Little Death is definitely worth a watch if you have an interest in comedy and sexuality. It was highly entertaining, at times very touching, and given it’s contribution to the discussion of sharing kinks and openness within relationships I really hope reaches a broader audience. I can only hope Lawson stays true to his word and that in the mission of making sexuality more relatable through mainstream film he considers that representing diversity and body positivity is just as important as storytelling. If you’re interesting in seeing more you can watch the trailer of The Little Death here. -Trouble
This comes out in Australia on 25/09. I’ll definitely have to go see it!