Film Scouts and Newsweek at Sundance 1999

The Death and Loss of Sexual Innocence

Interview with Mike Figgis, by Andréa C. Basora

Review, by Andréa C. Basora

In his most personal and probably most visionary film, Mike Figgis has created an extraordinarily beautiful and multilayered work. Reaching into the ethereal atmosphere of ideas while enrapturing us with an array of stunning aesthetics, The Loss of Sexual Innocence is the kind of complex, yet powerfully emotive filmmaking that restores the viewer's passion for film as an expressive art form.

With a segmented structure overarched by parable, the narrative follows Nic at various stages in his life - as a boy in colonial Kenya, an adolescent in sixties London, and a grown man working as a film ethnographer - and at each point chronicles formative incidents and sexual awakenings that influence his maturation.

Intercut with the biblical tale of Adam and Eve, The Loss of Sexual Innocence is a film which ceaselessly provokes and stimulates as it flows through the senses. And yet the level of sophistication is such that it doesn't ever become didactic or coercive. Instead, it expands and heightens our receptivity to what art promises in a way that transcends the usual cliches.

With etudes from Chopin resounding in our ears, letter-perfect performances, especially by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Julian Sands, and cinemagical imagery, the filmic discourse is never dry or academic. Nevertheless, it is a work which doesn't fear the monumental implications of its subject. The Loss of Sexual Innocence is self-conscious, actually self-reflexive, and a resonant reflection on the state of humanity, the media, and modern mores.

- Geoffrey Gilmore

Directed by: Mike Figgis
Written by: Mike Figgis
Starring: Julian Sands, Saffron Burrows, Kelly MacDonald, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Johanna Torell
Produced by: Mike Figgis, Annie Stewart
Original Music by: Mike Figgis

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