2001; directed by Alfonso Cuarón; written by Alfonso Cuarón and Carlos Cuarón; 106 mins
2003; adapted and directed by David Mackenzie; 98 mins
In Fifty Shades of Grey, my complaint was that we aren’t invested in the pivotal sex scenes because we don’t care about the drama. What has happened? Because just ten/fifteen years ago, there were a brace of really good films about sex that talked frankly but honestly about all our dirty desires.
Set, respectively, across the sun-dappled highways and beaches of Mexico and the grim canals of postwar Scotland, this double bill offers sexual discovery in two seemingly contrasting social backgrounds. However, they both show that before and after any sexual revolutions, you can always rely on women to be women and men to be men in each others’ company. It’s not so much a battle of the sexes as them attempting to find a begrudging yet affectionate middle ground.
In Y Tu Mamá También, Alfonso and brother/writer Carlos Cuarón, give us two horny, teenage boys (Julio and Tenoch) on, what they think will be, a dirty road trip with an older divorcee (Luisa). What comes to pass will surely be a defining moment in their lives as experienced Luisa ends up having to teach them in the ways of pleasure as opposed to marking territory.
With Young Adam we follow the story of Joe, a drifter working aboard a barge for well-meaning Les and shagging Les’s no-nonsense wife Ella. As the drama moves back and forward in time to reveal Joe’s story, we come to despise him for his cowardice and narcissism. He seems like a good fuck because the alternative in that time and place is impotent pissheads who need to drink away shit lives. He drops in and out of working class life as and when he needs to run away from self-imposed reality.
Good sex scenes come out of interesting relationships between characters who show us aspects of ourselves or society around us. Bland-yet-psychopathic billionaire into niche fantasies plus inexplicable virgin waif with emotional state like seesaw-on-coke does not a good date flick make. “You have to quite whacking off and work up your endurance” – Luisa