curated by Margherita Fontana

Tlhis retrospective is entitled as the English expression which describes things that we love doing but of which we are secretly ashamed of. Among these unmentionable pleasures there are obviously some films that we like watching, preferably alone, away from anybody’s judgement. Although we can be reluctant in revealing them, among these titles there are often works of extraordinary autobiographical and emotional value. Even the most passionate cinephile, whose film history and good taste are his strength, will no doubt have a secret list of “guilty pleasures”, which are at the very least sophisticated.
To some extent, this ambiguity between embarrassment and fondness is common to another film category, the erotic one. In this case, it is difficult to talk about quality, precisely because erotic films, also the non-pornographic ones, are born with a precise intention: to stimulate our imagination and our senses, taking us in a mind-set where objectiveness has no place. But is this not a characteristic of sex in itself, to take each one of us to discover parts of ourselves that would otherwise remain undiscovered? The aim of this retrospective is to develop a series of short films of erotic nature that explore sex away from modern and patriarchal conventions, looking at it more as an instrument of self-discovery, self-assertation and, why not, revolution.
In the hope that Guilty Pleasures may once and for all get rid of shame and guilt, and may be proudly screamed from the rooftops, just as a political statement.

The selected shorts

by Margherita Fontana

Daucus Carota, Carla Linares, Spain, 2020
Eroticam, Elisa Díaz, Paola Meza, Chile, 2020
Extraneous Matter, Kenichi Ugana, Japan, 2020
Filles Bleues – Peur Blanche, Marie Jacotey and Lola Halifa-Legrand, France, 2020
Sangro, Tiago Minamisawa, Bruno H Castro and Guto BR, Brasil, 2019
Strano Telo, Dušan Zorić, Serbia, 2018

Daucus Carota by Carla Linares

Daucus carota is the scientific name for the wild carrot, a spontaneous plant found mainly in the temperate zones of Europe. When it blooms, it produces a cushion of tiny white flowers, at the centre of which is a black pistil, whose function is still partly unknown. Set on a sunny summer afternoon in a cloistered convent, the short film by Carla Linares visualises, through arid colour tones, the spontaneous emergence of pleasure which, just like a wild herb, makes its way even where it would not be allowed. The community life of the sisters and its constant repetition despite the summer heat ignites in the protagonist a desire to escape that demands to be satisfied.

Eroticam by Elisa Díaz, Paola Meza

Poly is a 20-year-old girl in an ordinary relationship with a boy. There is only one small problem: she has never been able to have an orgasm. Determined to climax, she leaves the young man and turns to the internet, where, on a live cam site, she meets La_Hot_Fetish, a webcam sex guru. The relationship between the sex worker and the girl will evolve to the point of allowing the latter to get to know herself better, freely exploring her pleasure. Eroticam by Elisa Díaz and Paola Meza gives a feminist portrait of online sex work while showing the limits of sex within the heteronormative patriarchy.

Extraneous Matter by Kenichi Ugana

A young woman dissatisfied with her indifferent husband discovers a strange creature in her wardrobe, equipped with many tentacles, intent on passionately possessing her. The encounters with this “foreign matter” will become more intense and will involve the members of her entourage in a crescendo of tension and estrangement. The short film by Japanese director Kenichi Ugana transports us into the erotic-fantastic Japanese hentai universe through a black and white film à la Jim Jarmusch.

Filles Bleues – Peur Blanche by Marie Jacotey and Lola Halifa-Legrand

Marie Jacotey and Lola Halifa-Legrand’s animation draws heavily from Tarantino’s imagery and reappropriates it in a feminist sense. Niels and Flora are a couple travelling by car on the symbolic road to his mother’s house. They talk about this and that until the subject of ex-girlfriends comes up. Among them, there is undoubtedly Lei, the first one. To continue the journey, Flora will have to stop and come to terms with Niels’ past in a sensual and violent hallucination that will lead her to overcome her demons.

Sangro by Tiago Minamisawa, Bruno H Castro and Guto BR 

Tiago Minamisawa, co-director of Sangro, defines the short film as a “healing process for my boyfriend, Caioh Deroci”. The narrative voice of the director’s companion accompanies the animation, which is set to the triptych of Hieronymus Bosch’s Delights: it is an intimate and touching account of the spiritual journey of a person who has HIV. The protagonist will resolve the desire to disappear, the difficulty of living with the judgement of others, the whirlwind of fears and feelings in the achievement of inner serenity and the reunion with the reality of the body and life.

Strano Telo by Dušan Zorić

 Mark goes on a blind date with a stranger. What would seem to be just another casual sex encounter instead turns out to be the ground for her wounds, a victim of sexual violence, and his aggressiveness, endemic in contemporary masculinity, to emerge. Presented in Venice in 2018, in Serbian “Foreign Body”, Strano Telo investigates the complex dynamics of aggression and submission that sex allows to occur. To do so, Dušan Zorić focuses on the social construction of masculinity and confronts it with the randomness of a chance encounter destined to bring out its tensions and blind spots.

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