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4 Sex Positive Short Films That Exude Sensuality, Kink, and Body Positivity

As mainstream Hollywood lags behind in meaningful explorations of sexuality, these provocative short films embrace the unusual tapestry of human predilections.

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As film festivals pivot to the ever-shifting landscape of distribution and sales, the way we consume independent film is changing more dramatically than anyone could have predicted. Audiences can now experience a wider variety of films online, opening a world of possibilities that will hopefully benefit smaller films. With any luck, the new reality will broaden movie lovers’ horizons enough to include short films, which U.S. audiences can be reluctant to embrace. Most filmmakers begin to craft their voices with shorts, and given the significance of making a strong first impression, the format encourages creative risks. What’s more, younger and emerging filmmakers naturally have a finger on the pulse of more progressive ideas, ensuring a broader range of perspectives.

While mainstream Hollywood struggles to address human sexuality in any meaningful way, these four recently-released short films explore sex and desire with a refreshing playfulness. Whether it’s a feminist genre take on actual bloodlust, or a comedy about an erotic encounter where the two people never touch, these films celebrate the full spectrum of human desire. They’re all available online, and each one has its own unique vibe.

“Squeegee”

dir. Morgan Krantz

The most erotic film ever made about a window washer, “Squeegee” follows a delightfully weird tryst between a career woman and the scruffy younger man who washes her office windows. The 10-minute short is almost entirely devoid of dialogue, instead relying on a moody jazz score that wouldn’t be out of place in a noir. Lead actress Amy Rutherford embodies her frisky businesswoman with an empowered girlishness, communicating everything from desperate lust to soulful longing with nothing more than a few subtle looks. The glass that separates the two characters is both a literal safety barrier as well as representative of the often murky disconnect between fantasy and reality. Written and directed by Morgan Krantz, “Squeegee” is an entertaining comedic interlude that has a lot to say about the human condition. You’ll never look at window washers the same way again.

“I find sex to be pretty absurd, and I wanted to show that,” Krantz told Short of the Week, which premiered “Squeegee” in late May. “I’ve also been in relationships with people where we both know there is no practical way to really be together. But when you’re having one of these ‘flings,’ I have found that it can actually be easier to express how wild you are about a person… because you both know that you can never end up together. So that’s the glass between these two characters.”

“Ambrosia”

dir. Peter Spark

Lithe and full of longing, a young Italian embraces his provocative drag persona in this short and sensual documentary. Vincenzo is a young queer artist from Naples, Italy who performs cabaret-style drag at La Boum, Milan’s premiere gay club. His soul-searching voiceover narrates visually sumptuous footage of his performances, interspersed with more traditional community scenes of life in Naples. Whether he’s going by Vincenzo, Ambrosia, or Vincenzo D’Ambrosia, the film celebrates his shifting identity as he explains that the very act of naming himself is both confusing and empowering. While he appears confident and beautiful onstage, behind the scenes Ambrosia bounces between concerns about being pretty or feminine enough and feeling like he’s letting down his family every time he puts on a heel. Director Peter Spark expertly crafts this glittery dance between art and artist, allowing the harshness of Ambrosia’s inner monologue to exist side by side in beautiful contrast with his enthralling stage persona.

“Deep Tissue”

dir. Meredith Alloway

“Deep Tissue”

Courtesy of the filmmaker

A young woman anxiously awaits a special visitor in a quaint roadside motel room in this surprising and humorous gore-inflected genre morsel. When her young and lanky massage therapist arrives, he isn’t exactly one for small talk, immediately putting her even more edge. Writer/director Meredith Alloway takes center stage as the eager client; she’s natural and open opposite a deliciously creepy Peter Vack. Following a string of TV roles in shows like “Mozart in the Jungle” and “Homeland,” Vack distinguished himself as a filmmaker with the highly controversial “Assholes,” which premiered at SXSW in 2017, prompting IndieWire’s David Ehrlich to call it “one of the most disgusting movies ever made.”  While “Deep Tissue” is more provocative than disgusting, the final reveal is in line with Vack’s own filmmaking philosophy. Keep ’em on their toes, and they’ll eat it right up. You can watch “Deep Tissue” via The Future of Film Is Female.

“Under Covers”

dir. Michaela Olsen

Quirky and unnervingly erotic, this whimsical stop-motion animation celebrates all kinds of bodies and predilections. The film debuted as part of Sundance Film Festival’s 2018 Midnight Shorts Program, and premiered online as a Vimeo Staff Pick last year. The films spies on different creatures in bed, from lesbian nuns to gender-blending lovers. Animator Michaela Olsen wanted to show “the lives people lead behind closed doors,” and while her intricately crafted figures aren’t all people, each character channels a unique persona even in their brief scenes. “I wanted to play on the idea of seeing every detail of the characters’ worlds and secrets,” Olsen told Vimeo. “They’re opening up their world to you as a viewer and showing you their true selves.”

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