Skip to main content

text and reviews by Margherita Fontana

Guilty Pleasures, the focus on eros and pleasure seen through the lens of feminist thought, returns to Concorto for its third edition. This year’s selection features heterogeneous visual languages, ranging from psychedelic animation to observational documentary, including satire, fashion film and dramatic fiction. Perhaps more than ever, this year’s selection covers sexuality in a dark coat, a reflection of the sexophobia that seems to have taken over our society, which, despite still “showing everything”, tends to hide the political and transformative power of sexuality.

On the contrary, the short works we will show explore, sometimes lightly but sometimes bitingly and intensely, some of the many layers – joyful and traumatic, hereditary and spontaneous – that contribute to the shaping of each person’s sex: a complex territory, an unprecedented geography that more than ever demands to be explored outside of pre-established categories.

The selected shorts

curated by Margherita Fontana 

Awkward Intimacy by Emma Jude Harris and Emily Steck, United Kingdom, 2022
Carne by Juan Diego Aguirre Gómez, Columbia, 2022
Eating In The Dark by Inari Sirola, United Kingdom, 2021
La Chose Extatique by Benjamin Nuel, France, 2022
Le Sexe De Ma Mère by Francis Canitrot, France, 2023
Mother Prays All Day Long by Hoda Taheri, Germany, 2022
Trade Center by Adam Baran, United States, 2021
Dinner For 2 – Breakfast For 1 by Kristína Žilinčárová, Slovakia, 2022

Le sexe de ma mère
by Francis Canitrot

Eli is a middle-aged man still living with his ailing mother, who is obsessed with the unrestrained sexuality of her youth. Her death might provide Eli the opportunity to finally take control of his own sexuality and break free from voyeuristic constraints. Premiered at Cannes 2023, Le sexe de ma mère delves into the personal depths that shape each person’s sexuality through dreamlike and ironic visual language. It explores the complex terrain formed by the relationship with parents, who, as Freud suggests, must be figuratively killed in order to construct an adult and liberated sexuality.

Awkward Intimacy
by Emma Jude Harris and Emily Steck

When we watch a film, whether it’s pornographic or not, and witness sex scenes, we tend to assume the actors are genuinely engaged and excited, even though they might be “only” pretending. Constructing a sex scene involves orchestrating bodies and expressions, to the extent that there are now professionals, intimacy coordinators, who help actors bring out the “truth of sex.” Shawn, the protagonist of this mockumentary, specializes in unusual and “awkward” sex scenes. When she receives a call from her former mentor, Fiona, Shawn is thrilled for the opportunity to demonstrate her skills and the value of her unique style on set. Awkward Intimacy is a lighthearted work that reflects on the truth of sex, acknowledging its inherent awkwardness.

by Juan Diego Aguirre Gómez

Set in a gritty and chaotic Colombian city, this short film portrays the lives of impoverished workers who sell old and spoiled meat preserved with chemicals. Jairo, a middle-aged gay man, is one of them. In addition to selling the remains of butchery, he sells his body at a local tavern in the evenings. When Helda, who manages the tavern, plans to replace Jairo with a younger man, he resists. The core of Juan Diego Aguirre Gómez’s short film is, in fact, the “flesh” itself and its intrinsic violence, presented through a dark and hauntingly horrific lens.

Mother Prays All Day Long
by Hoda Taheri

Disoriented by German bureaucracy and inquiries about her sexuality, Hoda, an Iranian asylum seeker in Berlin, becomes emotionally and sexually entangled with Magdalena, who has promised to secure her residency permit by marrying her. When Magdalena becomes pregnant, the situation takes an unexpected turn. Awarded at Locarno in 2022, Taheri’s autobiographical documentary is a delicately shaded portrait with raw realism, delving into the complexities of a layered relationship built on both psychology and physical union.

Trade Center
by Adam Baran

Trade Center gathers testimonies from five gay men who engaged in cruising at the World Trade Center during the 1980s and 1990s. Instead of drawing an overt parallel between economic exchange and sexual commerce, Baran contrasts today’s American society, post-9/11, apparently devoted to rights protection but institutionalized and strict. The voices and pleasure stories of the protagonists within the Twin Towers’ spaces clash with the sterile landscape of the Freedom Tower that stands there today.

by Kristína Žilinčárová

Blurring the lines between art video, fashion film, and experimental work, Kristína Žilinčárová’s short film is an evocative exploration of the link between the realm of “eating” and female pleasure. The meal implied by the title represents a sexual experience seen as transformative and powerful: a carnal feast that attracts and consumes.

Eating in the Dark
by Inari Sirola

This Finnish director’s animated short film is a psychedelic journey into the subconscious of the protagonist, Siro, who is obsessed and disturbed by the contemporary insistence on sex and sex positivity. Rather than liberating our instincts, this focus on sexuality transforms eroticism into performance. With familiar yet unsettling imagery, Sirola’s Eating in the Dark invites exploration of oneself and liberation from advertising traps that reduce our bodies to mere toys.

La chose extatique
by Benjamin Nuel

Set in an unidentified French countryside, a crisis-ridden couple seeking a more “organic” way of life encounters a pulsating, fleshly mushroom, capable of rejuvenating their sex lives, burdened by echo-anxiety. This satirical film, oscillating between the grotesque and the bizarre, reflects the neo-new age quest for “naturalness” in an era marked by climate collapse fears and perhaps too solitary hedonistic pursuits.