- Ghosts of Empire Prairie (2013) Review

Title: Promiscuities

Also known as:

Year: 2014

Genre: Short / Experimental / Drama / Erotic

Language: English

Runtime: 24 min

Director: Jonathan Leder

Writer: Ann Hackett, Dana Kopel & Q. Rauschenbusch


Diane is a troubled young woman with an addictive personality. She is seeking helping from a psychotherapist who has his own technique to help her open up and fight her problems. She's sat in front of a camera, emptying her mind from her dark past, but this proves to push her over the edge.

Our thoughts:
I didn't know about Jonathan Leder before this movie, but while watching this short film I already started to suspect what I would later find to be true: Jonathan Leder is an art/erotica photographer who took a shot at directing with his debut film "Promiscuities". He has shot film before, but more as small erotic art pieces, sort of like photo sessions. This is his first actual movie, and he uses his style of photography/cinematography from the artful erotica he has produced for his own Jacques Magazine. Imagine the recent work of Richard Kern mixed with an experimental psycho-drama and you have "Promiscuities".

We're invited to watch the psychotheraphy sessions of a young woman, Diane, as she sits in front of a camera confessing her inner secrets, reveals her memories and tries to get cured by a psychotherapists unique technique. While his method is known to give good results, the method proves to bring out the worst sides of her, where she finds herself to be mentally on the fringe. These sessions are woven in together with moments of her perverse, addictive past. Sex with random people, where each sexual act felt important to her, and hanging out with the wrong personalities, was just part of her everyday.

"Promiscuities" is just as much about how it tells the story, as it is about the story itself. Simply put it's about a woman's perverse lifestyle. What we get is so much more, though. It's an extremely erotic movie and you can clearly tell that the director has worked in that area before. The sexual acts are definitely arousing, going as far as to show (very briefly though) a blowjob. On the other end, we have a terrific performance by Amy Hood as Diane, who reveals herself entirely for us. Physically and mentally. The performance is quite heavy, going from the happy-no-worries-in-the-world-woman to a self-destructive wreck. By the end of the movie she's an open wound, and Amy Hood's performance is simply astounding and powerful.

The style of the movie jumps between gritty to slick. The psychotheraphy sessions are shown through an old TV and VCR, while the rest is wonderfully lit black and white photography, which looks as great as you'd expect from a movie made by a good art photographer. That said, I can't help but think that the movie is more an art piece to experience, where you can take from it what you want. Its story isn't bad or poorly executed, but it's more about the photography, the delicate erotica and the excellent performance. That's not a bad thing. In fact, it was exactly what I needed.

It's been a while since I got to sit through something like this. It's surprising to think that this movie was more effective on my mind in just 24 minutes than some movies that attempt a similar approach (artsy, experimental psycho-sexuality) manage on an average feature length. This is also a very sexual and graphic movie, and one that actually manages to be erotic and not just exploitation. "Promiscuities" is a powerful psycho-sexual experience and a triumph from the debut director. Jonathan Leder and Amy Hood are currently working on the feature "American Ecstasy" and I know I'll be watching.

Positive things:
- Wonderful photography.
- A perfect blend of psycho-sexual drama and experimental film.
- Amy Hood was perfect.
- An actually sexy erotic film.

Negative things:
- Nothing worth noting.

Gore: 0/5
Nudity: 4/5
Story: 3/5
Effects: 0/5
Comedy: 0/5

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