NINE SONGS is a bold experiment in cinema by acclaimed and path-finding director, Michael Winterbottom. Filmed on hi-def video, the movie follows the relationship between two characters from first meeting to break-up, punctuated by nine songs at concerts that they attend. The twist is that the evolution of the relationship is expressed through the couple's sexual experiences. These are depicted with a breath-taking intimacy that is, despite the explicit content, not pornographic (to my mind at least.) Having said that, I found NINE SONGS to be a movie that I admired rather than enjoyed. Without the conventional narrative devices I found it hard to empathise much with the characters. After a while the explicit sex became rather tedious as the movie descended into another round of cool music, drug-taking, sex, limited dialogue. It just seems to me that if you want to make a point about how relationships evolve and make it perceptive and interesting, you probably need more than a bit of (largely unimaginative) sex on screen. It will be interesting to see whether, in ten years time, this movie is remembered for the explicit sex or the cool footage of new bands like Franz Ferdinand.
NINE SONGS premiered at Cannes 2004 and goes on limited release in the UK today. It goes on release in Austria in May 2005 and in the US in July 2005.