By Sierra Sun
Adina Pintilie’s debut film Touch Me Not had its North American Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival ‘18. Winner of the Golden Bear award at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival, Touch Me Not is a brilliantly blurs the line between fiction and documentary style cinema.
Immersing the audience in an eruptively emotional and explorative journey through various types of intimacy, Touch Me Not is creatively crafted to stay with you long after the film is over.
© TIFF Trailers | YouTube
Following the lives of four strangers, Touch Me Not explores the embodiment of sexuality and sensuality in different environments. With tones of sci-fi and docu-drama, we go from Laura’s living room to her bedroom to an erotic club to a community group therapy environment. Clean and clinical in some ways and dark and experimental in other ways, the audience is brought on a journey of discovery.
Adina likes breaking the fourth wall a lot in her debut film. While the opening scene is both jarring and ingenious with the use of a teleprompter being assembled on the camera, it gives us a sense of surveillance… of being watched. It brings discomfort and strangeness. Adina said that it was meant to create this dialogue with the audience from the start, a sense of power, as if the protagonist is looking at you or having a direct conversation with you.
While the scenes were shot very cleanly, in very white minimalistic spaces, there was no shortage of eroticism or underground vibes when we follow Tomas into an erotic club. Throughout the entirety of the film, the tones of blue or faded and washed out make it seem cold, plain and normal. As if the strangeness of sensuality and sexuality is normalized.
Imagery Through Sound
In this film, the use of sound as well as imagery the audience gets through sound, is just as important as the visual representation that establishes various scenes. During more sensual moments, we can hear a sort of eerie emphasis on saliva moving in a mouth or the ruffling of sheets or the sound of breathing. This auditory experimentation gives the audience a little more depth in the immersive journey through various intimate moments of these strangers, lovers and acquaintances.
The Use of Reflection
Experimental in every aspect, Adina expertly inserts cinematic reflections that shows the audience a sort of duality in views. Almost as if the scene where Tomas is watching Irmena makes the audience conscious about the whole “peeping Tom” aspect – a voyeuristic perspective.
When asked about the making of the film Adina said: “I wanted to explore sensuality and sexuality like a child, full of wonder but with the right balance and with the right language. I wanted the film to destabilize the audience and challenge what people think they know about these topics, to create a dialogue with them.”
For more insight on Touch Me Not, view the Q & A below
© TIFF Talks | YouTube
Why You Should See It
You would be disappointed if you thought that this was a highly produced porn film. It’s actually quite the opposite. It’s a very interesting and explorative film that digs deep into the different perspectives that individuals have on sensuality and sexuality. It puts taboo subjects into a very normal, very discussable aspect. It presents these ideas to society that takes away the barriers of wrong and right but what simply is.
*Editor’s Note: Touch Me Not was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival ‘18.
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