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LOSS OF SEXUAL INNOCENCE, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Nic (Julian Sands) is a film director with marital problems at home and other problems on set. He charts his development from childhood to the point of trying to make his film in the Tunisian desert. He also becomes involved with twins (both played by Saffron Burrows). The on-set problems begin to mount, placing the production (and possibly the people themselves) in danger.

"English director and musician Mike Figgis' films are all distinguished by the importance placed on music. The Loss Of Sexual Innocence plays like a musical mood piece where dialogue is used to convey impressions rather than the information we normally accept and expect. An "art" film in the true sense of the word, Figgis' highly personal essay on what it means to experience the loss of innocence is a dreamy tableau which requires effort and attention from viewers. This is not an easy film but is one with many rewards if you're prepared to go with the ambience and drift along with its currents. The Adam and Eve scenes, which are intercut with the other episodes, are forced and obvious and could have been eliminated altogether but, at the same time, are of such visual beauty it's easy enough to simply enjoy. Elsewhere, there are stunning sequences; the dreams of Nic and his wife which probe sexual desire and death; a scene in a town square involving a blind woman played by Almodovar stalwart Rossy De Palma and an unforgettable episode in the Tunisian desert in which the fragile personal paradises of those present is shattered. There are moments of pretentiousness (groan) but what Figgis captures so powerfully are the moments in our lives when illusions and safety are dispelled - and their link with sexual memory. Precious few films invite such personal reflection of our own lives and for this, The Loss Of Sexual Innocence deserves attention and an audience who want more from film than to consume and forget."
Richard Kuipers

"Mike Figgis, director of the brilliant Leaving Las Vegas, offers an occasionally interesting but seriously flawed look at sexuality in The Loss of Sexual Innocence. Few films this year have been as self-consciously "arty" (not even Eyes Wide Shut) and this is the filmís major undoing. It deals in rhythms and remembrances, rather than story and plot. While you can admire this brave attempt to interpret a different type of film language, the end result is both pretentious and uninvolving. The segments of the film dealing with the jaded filmmaker (the directorís alter ego?) are interspersed with "Scenes from Nature" - essentially a re-telling of the Garden of Eden story with a twist. However, the link between the two is tenuous at best. The film moves at a measured pace and the soundtrack becomes intrusive. As for the acting, the main players have little to do in the way of traditional film dramatics. Dialogue (and its counterpart, character development) have largely been abandoned in Figgisí search for his "art". Julian Sands is solid as Nic; and Saffron Burrows has some interesting moments as the unnamed twins. However, the treatment of Nicís childhood and adolescence are far better than the balance of the film. The encounter between the teenage Nic and Susan (played superbly by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Kelly MacDonald) is an undoubted highlight. Mike Figgis deserves full marks for trying to make The Loss of Sexual Innocence something more than the "lowest common denominator" product pumped out by Hollywood. Itís a shame his execution wasnít more inspiring."
David Edwards

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 2

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TRAILER

LOSS OF SEXUAL INNOCENCE, THE (R)
(UK)

CAST: Julian Sands, Saffron Burrows, Stefano Dionisi, Kelly MacDonald, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers

DIRECTOR: Mike Figgis

PRODUCERS: Mike Figgis, Annie Stewart

SCRIPT: Mike Figgis

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Benoit Delhomme

EDITOR: Matthew Wood

MUSIC: Mike Figgis

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jessica Worral, Mark Long

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 23, 1999 (Melbourne; Sept 30, Sydney)

VIDEO RELEASE: April 5, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Col TriStar Home Ent







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