Monday, 9 January 2012

Intimate Games

'Everyone has their private, secret thoughts, and amongst these secret thoughts, difficult though it may be for you to visualise, everyone has their own sexual fantasies'.

The first few minutes of 'Intimate Games' promise much, kicking off with documentary footage of teeming London underscored by some sleazy rock disco music composed by Roger Webb and an interesting voice over from 'Britain's favourite Bulgarian' (tm), the late George Baker. We then move to a University campus where Baker, playing a Professor Gottlieb, is lecturing his students on sexual fantasy and how the pressures of modern life inhibit and repress leading to an increased reliance on pornography and sex aids to stimulate what should come naturally. He even does a little dance with a blow up doll to prove his point. At this moment, I actually thought that I might be in for a rather thoughtful film about the power of the human sexual imagination, perhaps even presented in an academic,  semi-documentary fashion. I was wrong.
Takes me back to my University days.

Professor Gottlieb sets his students an assignment: to pair off and explore their own fantasies, before conducting some research with a more general audience, including their parents. The male students, an ugly, gormless lot, immediately see this as a golden ticket to fuck their study buddies but, surprisingly, things don't work out that way. In fact, things don't work out in any way you might expect - for all the pseudo-scientific jibber jabber about liberation of the mind and libido all we get is some tepid fumbling, unconvincing car sex, even less convincing soft focus lesbian sex, a charming anecdote about being raped by hundreds of Zulus, a little man (Johnny Vyvyan) dressed as a jockey and riding a fat woman and Ingmar Bergman's estranged daughter Anna sent into the throes of ecstasy by sucking a twattish permed student's dirty thumb. Cor, what a turn on.

Ah, Academia!

Fantasy cod piece.

Lesbian Leg Over.

Never give a sucker an even break.

Anna Bergman: 'How do you like me now, Dad?'

The main problem is that the plot doesn't make the necessary connections and just gives up completely after twenty minutes and what you're left with is a ramshackle collection of  'fantasies'. This could have been a springboard to something quite surreal and unusual but it quickly becomes very boring and rather embarrassing. It's no wonder that the British have such a bad reputation in terms of sex if a few nips and some untrimmed privet are portrayed as the very limits of eroticism - there's no spanking, whipping, role play, leather, rubber, pvc - just lots of nasty polyester shirts, spotty bottoms, stupid hair and time filling shots of crappy cars going up and down the motorway on the way to nowhere.

Perhaps most pitifully of all, these dull dispatches from the forefront of the sexual revolution apparently send Professor Gottlieb into a paroxysm of unfettered lust, and he ends up going grope crazy and being carted off, a drooling, raving, damp trousered maniac. It's an appropriately rubbish ending to a disappointing experience.

What a state to get in.
There is one shot in this film which, for me, virtually sums up the British smut film industry, an elderly hand stroking a cold, pimpled arse. It's an enduring image - the unerotic and unattractive presented as a fantasy fulfilled.

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