Sundance’s Festival of Seedy Sex
The 2013 Sundance Festival just wrapped, and it had a common theme that even liberal news outlets like USA Today, ABC , and NPR pick up on. Nine of the festival’s feature films revolve around teen sex, six of those with adults; five revolve around gay relationships; three revolve around the pornography industry; three about adulterous relationships; and two about prostitution.
As The Los Angeles Times Arts and Entertainment writer Steven Zeitchik told NPR, "If you look around this festival you'd think we were living in a pretty debaucherous time.” Nothing gets past The LA Times.
Even the parties at the Festival are raising controversy. One on Sunday hosted by Hollywood’s Creative Arts Agency was so sexually explicit that even attendees were appalled.
The Times reported, “[the party] went in an unexpectedly bawdy direction, as Sundance guests mingled with lingerie-clad women pretending to snort prop cocaine, erotic dancers outfitted with sex toys and an Alice in Wonderland look-alike performing a simulated sex act on a man in a rabbit costume.” Naomi Foner, director of “Very Good Girls,” shown at the Festival, remarked, “Is this how you want to brand yourself? Pole dancers? Really?" Attendee Jordan Fogle, chief executive for the Mint Agency, called the show “slutty” and “trashy.”
So what message is Sundance trying to get across, exactly? Well, in the words of festival director John Cooper, “ultimately, our mission is to show excellent and original work,” (USA Today, 17 January, D1).
The plethora of films involving sexual deviancy has caused uproar from conservatives in Utah, because of recent news that the state’s tax dollars actually go to support the festival.
Sundance publicized the film “Afternoon Delight,” in which a married woman looks to strip clubs for sexual fulfillment, as showing “the ambivalence of privileged, educated women seduced by an idealized vision of marriage and motherhood, yet deadened by the stultifying realities of preschool auctions, lackluster sex lives, and careers that have gone kaput.”
So adultery, inappropriate relationships, pornography and free sex is all well and good, but monogamous, committed relationships and motherhood are “stultifying realities?” It makes sense, at a time when Cosmopolitan magazine is telling readers that cool women enjoy “gentlemen’s clubs.”
Other gems at the festival include “Concussion” which centers around a lesbian couple, one of whom decides to become a prostitute; “Two Mothers,” about two middle aged women who start shacking up with each other’s teenage sons; and “Kink” and “Lovelace,” both about the pornography industry.