Touch Me Not
Intimacy and sex are essentials parts of finding happiness in life. Over time, it is common to become self-protective after traumatic relationships or existing outside the norms of physical beauty. When we lose our ability to be close to people, we lose what makes us human. Director Adina Pintilie’s Touch Me Not is a brave examination of the limits of intimacy and the perils of finding a way back.
Placing herself within the film, in the form of a screen that Laura converses with, Adina Pintilie reminds the audience that this is a genuine experiment. These people are real, not characters, and their struggle is authentic. The central protagonist is Laura, a 50-something woman who is incapable of being a “normal” sexual being. She employs the help of a variety of different escorts to help push her in new directions, in the hope of relighting her fire and being comfortable around people once more.
Around Laura are a group of fascinating individuals, also exploring their own comfort and discomfort with other people. At the centre of the group is Thomas, a quadriplegic man with a heart of gold, looking to persue new frontiers of physical touch and intimacy. He is partnered with Christian, a tall, slender man who suffered from extreme Alopecia from an early age. While he claims he is comfortable with his condition, he remains incapable of letting anyone in because he was ostracised so much as a kid.
Visually, Touch Me Not is as repressed as its protagonist. The colour grade is clinical vacuum: white and greys that dispel any warmth or nuance. This scientific style frames the characters more as guinea pigs rather than human subjects.
The film’s most interesting characters are those Laura employs to push through her scar tissue to rediscover her desire. For example, Hannah DeLuxe is a 50-year-old transvestite who teaches her to be comfortable in her feminine form. The protagonist herself fails to find genuinely compelling conclusions and while Touch Me Not presents itself as a radical experiment, the results and conversations had along the way are unoriginal, bordering on beginner’s psycho-analysis. The result is a documentary that seems too controlled to be true and a fiction film that’s too generic to be innovative.
Touch Me Not does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.
Watch a clip from Touch Me Not here: