Below English version
Click Here for Dutch Version: Touch me Not
For a good number of years the path of a filmmaker and her film project runs parallel to my path. We live together when she develops her first feature film and I follow through the Integrated Psychotherapy training at Bodymind Opleidingen. After we separate, the film goes into production while I start assisting at Bodymind and start my practice.
The film is finalized at the beginning of 2018. The promises of maker and project are fulfilled, mine I am on the trail. The film wins the big award (Golden Bear) and debut award at the Berlinale, a first. The director of the film is Adina Pintilie and its title is Touch Me Not. I am present at the premieres in Berlin and Romania and my wonder about what is happening is immeasurable. In November the film will arrive in the Netherlands.
In preparation, Adina assembles a motley crew of people around herself and she jumps with them into the deep. The film asks questions about sexuality, intimacy and beauty ideals, and the protagonists reveal themselves in a jointly supported research. They find courage and support among each other, and under the eye of the camera they investigate injuries and protection mechanisms and challenge them. In terms of Bodymind they make a daring journey through head, heart and gender, in a groundbreaking film that is neither fictional nor documentary, with actors who are themselves and are not.
The film is about looking and being seen. The way in which the director questions herself and others from behind the camera is unique. I regularly think of the physics of The observer alters the observed. Who sees who and where does it bring the people involved? It becomes clear that everyone wants to be seen for who he or she is. In addition, something also wants to be understood. On film posters I read, ‘Tell me how you loved me, so I know how to love’.
In the creative process space has been left for what wants to unfold and be shown. Joy, anger, fear or sadness; everything is welcome. It is as if the film wants to say, “Come on. It does not matter who you are or what you do, you will be loved.’
The film also asks whether you are willing to let yourself be touched. Are you prepared to set aside your own ideas and expectations in order to meet the other person with an open heart? In several film sequences you can test yourself on this question, and any bias towards those who move outside the norm is imminent.
The film descends into the area where our sexuality and creative life energy resides, the pelvic area, with the bondage room as a strong metaphor for this body part. While one person is completely at home in this room, the other keeps it to a curious observation. The sexually charged field of tension between control and surrender is further explored in encounters with a sex worker and a sex therapist.
The film opens for those who are willing to involve themselves. Vulnerability on the screen requires a heart response; Sexually tinted images require that you bring forth your vitality. Time and again you have to switch between head, heart and gender as a viewer, with your body as a compass.
Alchemy teaches us that the most powerful drugs are made with a substance that initially poisons the system. It is beyond dispute that the film carries just that bit of poison that contributes to healing, private and collective. Above all, the film asks us to gather the necessary courage to stand up and meet and love the other person in his or her individuality. That it brings pain and discomfort is a basic principle of life. If you allow this, then the biggest step is taken.
Touch Me Not can be seen at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) from November 14 to 25 and in national film theaters from November 22 on.
Note: This blog is translated from Dutch and was written for, and earlier posted at, Bodymind Opleidingen.