In 2006, John Cameron Mitchell‘s Shortbus burst on the scene, heralding a sex-positive and gender-inclusive vision of post 9/11 New York. Sixteen years later, the fan fave from Cannes is getting a theatrical release for its beautifully restored footage.
Starring Sook-Yin Lee as a sex therapist who has never had an orgasm, and featuring gender rebels like Mx Justin Vivian Bond and Murray Hill, it’s about an underground salon called Shortbus, “a mad nexus of art, music, politics, and polysexual carnality.”
The restoration is being distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories. Via Roger Ebert:
No, this is not a gripping docudrama, extrapolated from eyewitness accounts and official investigative findings, pumped full of Hollywood dramatic speculation and designed to elevate real-life heroism into the realm of pop-culture super-myth, like “United 93” and “World Trade Center.” Instead, “Shortbus” takes place entirely in a fantasy post-9/11 New York City (played in the film by an ingenious handcrafted miniature), an interstitial dream in the chasm between that black day in September 2001 and the blackout of August 2003. In this ephemeral temporal-geographical metropolis, a lot of people engage in a lot of sex for a lot of reasons. And not to make you feel better about their valor, but simply because they’re human beings who are still alive.
If you haven’t seen it and enjoy these kinds of films, I strongly recommend Tarnation as well, executive produced by Gus Van Sant and John Cameron Mitchell:
Image: YouTube / Oscilloscope