Matt, a young glaciologist, soars across the vast, silent, icebound immensities of the South Pole as he recalls his love affair with Lisa. They meet at a mobbed rock concert in a vast music hall - London's Brixton Academy. They are in bed at night's end. Together, over a period of several months, they pursue a mutual sexual passion whose stages unfold in counterpoint to nine live-concert songs. Featuring nine live concert performances not available anywhere else by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Von Bondies, Elbow, Primal Scream, The Dandy Warhols, Super Furry Animals, Franz Ferdinand and Michael Nyman.
Maverick director Michael Winterbottom wondered about the double standard of why novels can have explicit sex scenes and be legit and films could not. So his short film of a relationship based solely on sex and a love for music is the result of that thought. If the definition of a porn film is to shoot actors performing graphic sex scenes for real, then 9 Songs qualifies. It certainly doesn't feel or look like your standard whoopdee-do XXX feature. It's as glossy and low-budget arty as Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People or I Want You. But yeah, Matt and Lisa do everything to each other, and the actors are not "just acting" in some of the sex scenes. No matter how landmark the movie might be, there is not much story here (at least a book with hot sex often has a good story to it). Lisa is an American drifter in London who hooks up with Matt, a scientist who studies glaciers in Antarctica. They have sex and visit nine rock concerts including Franz Ferdinand and The Dandy Warhols. As advertised, you can't find these musical performances anywhere else, but we just see them from way back in the crowd. The film has an essence of how someone can find bliss in another person's body, and the emotional, magical weight that can hold over you. But that spell doesn't last. Since the sex is real, Winterbottom had to cast unknown actors, and they really don't make an impression, especially with the lack of story. --Doug Thomas