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“How to Have Sex”: A Young Girl Defeated After a Party

The meaning of “the world” – you have to see

They are ready for the best vacation of their youth. Tara (Mia McKenna-Bruce), Skye (Lara Peake) and Em (Enva Lewis), 18-year-olds, arrive glitter-eyed in Malia, the island of Crete known for its giant parties. For a few days they will drink, flirt, dance until the morning… and the one who brings them back to the apartment will have the right to a big bed. Tara is definitely the one most looking forward to this stay. He’s never had sex, his two friends know, and he’s hoping to meet someone in the middle of this concrete. Badger (Sean Thomas), a tattooed blonde from a balcony across the street, might just do it.

Nothing too original, though how to have sex, British director Molly Manning Walker’s first feature film, awarded at the Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard prize), achieves an almost ethnographic immersion in the strangely formatted (very heterocentric) world of industrial-scale parties. Where the feeling of crazy freedom that hangs in the air is also like confinement, for example during a stay that is very well organized. The audience discovers this whole circus through the eyes of Tara, an attractive heroine who captures her naivety as much as her determination to enjoy every moment. This is how it goes when the leaders of these orgiastic evenings (and days) encourage young people to go further, in sexual and alcoholic games, as if boys and girls were performing rituals. He did it, he did it…

The thirty-year-old director and screenwriter turns on all the lights – sound (the incessant discussions of the girls), color (flashy clothes) – and takes the space as a sequence of boxes (the narrow volume of the rooms, the crowded swimming pool, the crowded dance floors), transforming the excitement into a sensory experience. Under sunlight or laser light, the camera captures the contractions of seductive and pleasurable bodies as Spring break (2012), Harmony Korine.


Tara gets closer to Badger (the nice guy behind the handsome guy) but goes to the beach with another friend, Paddy (Samuel Bottomley), to end the night. They bathe, hold each other, she’s not sure she wants to sleep with him. He continues to approach her on the wet sand, talking to her about her beauty, and as she lies on Tara, after receiving from her “yes”, we feel a sense of discomfort. The next day, a new report with the same boy raises suspicions about the lack of consent: a rape without noise, while Tara sleeps and drinks alcohol from the previous day, takes place in the bedroom of the apartment in broad daylight. And friends are talking on the other side of the door.

Source: Le Monde



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