Their screen-credits read: “The Wachowskis”, but they are Lana Wachowski (formerly Laurence) and Lilly Wachowski (formerly Andrew). The American film directors/screenwriters/producers are siblings, and both are trans women. As The Wachowski Brothers, the pair made their directing debut with the sexy lesbian bondage flick Bound (1996), and became famous around the globe with their second film The Matrix (1999) and its two sequels: The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions (both in 2003).
I was totally absorbed in the first season of the Netflix series Sense8 and its special, much appreciated special Christmas episode. It is a beautifully realized, hypnotic dream of show. Sense8 takes on themes of politics, identity, sexuality, gender and religion, unusual in the Sci-Fi genre. It is lushly shot at spots around the world including Seoul, Mumbai, Chicago, Berlin, Amsterdam, Nairobi, Iceland, Mexico City and San Francisco.
It may be Science Fiction, but Sci-fi premise aside, the real center of Sense8 is its LGBTQ-themes. This makes it one of the queerest shows that I have ever seen, perfect for binge watching. Among the LGBTQ characters are Nomi Marks (played by trans actor Jamie Clayton), a trans woman hacker and blogger living in San Francisco with her girlfriend Amanita (Freema Agyeman). Nomi was born Michael but changed her name to Nomi, which stands for “Know Me”. There is also Lito Rodriguez (Miguel Ángel Silvestre), a very popular closeted actor who works on a hit telenovela filmed in Mexico City. He has a hot professor boyfriend, Hernando (Alfonso Herrera), but he is afraid of being open about his gayness because it might destroy his career.
What it is about is sort of beside the point, but in a nutshell, Sense8 tells the story of eight strangers, each from a different culture and different part of the world. In the aftermath of a tragic death they all have experienced in dreams and visions, they suddenly find themselves growing mentally and emotionally connected. If that doesn’t make sense, it comes together early in season one. Sense8 might be a story about eight strangers who are psychically linked across five continents, but, you know, nothing makes you connect like an orgy, which is what you get in season one, episode six. It is an extremely powerful scene, with the characters connecting with passionate kisses and touching that crosses the boundaries of both gender and sexuality. A gay man, a transgender lesbian, and four straight people, all making-out and thrusting in a beautiful pool to the sound of Fat Boy Slim’s Demons.
If the idea of a “special Christmas episode” sounds icky, well, that episode gets all sentimental with another steamy orgy, this one outdoors. Sense8 is not just the queerest series on television, it’s the horniest.
Tiny spoiler: in season two, Lito comes out of the closet in a big way. After a sex-tape is leaked, he goes public at Gay Pride in Sao Paolo where he is serving as grand marshal, giving a speech where he shares:
“All of my life, I’ve had to pretend to be something I wasn’t … I couldn’t be what I am. I am a gay man. I’ve never said those words in public before. I am a gay man! I am a gay man!” he proclaims.
“Why did I have to be so afraid to say that? Because I know that people are afraid of people that are different than them. And admitting that I’m different, and refusing to be something that I am not, may cost me a career of pretending to be things that I am not, which is kind of crazy when you think about it. But I did. I did. For years, I was living inside the fake world of movies, never to imagine that one day, I might be brave enough to do something like this,” Rodriguez continues, before introducing his partner to the crowd and embracing him with a kiss.
“This is Hernando. He is the love of my life. I am a better and braver person because of him. And whatever it cost for me to be able to do this, I know in my heart that it is worth it.”
I am a fan of the look and feel of Sense8 and its themes of global and sexual inclusion. It is an excellent choice for our troubled times, taking on issues of paranoia, corporate power, unbridled capitalism and fascism and the division between human beings. But, it is deeply hopeful at the same time.
By the way, the pair of orgy scenes, available on YouTube, are too steamy even for the sophisticated readers of The Wow Report. You will need to do your own homework. All eleven episodes of Sense8, Season Two, are streaming on Netflix now.