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Below Her Mouth: Giving a Cinematic Voice to the Female Orgasm

What we don’t see enough of in film is the female orgasm, in all its wet and pulsating glory. But thanks to two Toronto women, producer Melissa Coghlan and screenwriter Stephanie Fabrizi (who happen to be a couple), the pussy is getting its well-deserved spotlight on the big screen in Below Her Mouth, premiering at TIFF on September 10th.

While the sex in this film is wild and uninhibited, it’s far more than thrusting bodies; it’s a poetic language. “She wanted to give a voice to the female orgasm,” says Coghlan of Fabrizi. This goal is definitely achieved with gusto, and not just through artful sex, but also through a compelling story, exquisite cinematography, sexy art direction, and beautiful performances by newcomers (not for long) Natalie Krill and Erika Linder.

Over an Americano and Pain-au-Chocolat at Nadège Patisserie, I ask the ladies how the film came about. “I rarely go to a movie theatre and see something that I can identify with, and that’s a real shame,” Fabrizi says. “I wanted to make people think of their sexuality, to rupture the heterosexual narrative.”

I suspect many will walk out with questions about their own sexuality, but the one that Fabrizi wants you to most consider is: did you get the opportunity to make a decision on whether you are heterosexual or gay? Both she and Coghlan have lived life on both sides, but this isn’t their story. “Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean it’s my personal love story. I created these characters and they have literal merit no matter what.”

Coghlan adds, “We wanted two queer characters as the leads in a film that did feel very accessible.” And it is. While it was filmed entirely in Toronto, and the leads are not big Hollywood names (yet), it feels both foreign and Hollywood-esque, which is a lovely achievement when so much of our homegrown can feel hokey.

But back to the sex, because it’s really hot. I wanted to know why there was so much of it, not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because rhythm and pacing was different from most love stories on film. “I asked myself, what would they do next? They would have sex,” Fabrizi explained. “And they would come home and have sex again. And that’s so I could stay so close and true to the story of these two people, rather than cutting away and going for a bike ride. That’s bullshit. You’re not going to go for a bike ride. You’re going to go have sex again.” She’s right, yet so much of this intensity is skipped in blockbusters and traded for canoe rides in Central Park, trips to the ice cream parlour, and frolicking in autumn leaves. I prefer the honest depiction of human desire.

The chemistry between Krill and Linder is utterly electrifying, which could be attested to many things, but having a 100% female crew might be one of them. It was a decision that made headlines when the film was first shot in Toronto in the fall of 2015, and something that began organically, with the only intention to make nude scenes more comfortable for the actors. Of course, once they started hiring a female crew, they decided to just go full force, because, well, why not?

Produced by Melissa Coghlan, written by Stephanie Fabrizi, directed by April Mullen, shot by Maya Bankovic and edited by Michelle SzembergBelow Her Mouth is stacked with the best in the biz. We love it because it’s a terrific film, but also because of how it’s united women in the industry. Oh yeah, and that gorgeous female O: fucking awesome, awesome fucking. Get aroused, get uncomfortable, get moved…from the mouth down.

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