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Film Reviews Adina Pintille’s sexually provocative docudrama Touch Me Not inches toward true carnal knowledge

On the fluid border between reality and fiction, Touch Me Not follows the emotional journeys across the sexual spectrum of several characters, offering a deeply empathetic insight into their lives.

Courtesy of TIFF

  • Touch Me Not
  • Written and directed by Adina Pintilie
  • Starring Laura Benson
  • Classification N/A
  • 123 minutes

rating

There was no small amount of puzzlement when Adina Pintilie’s debut feature, Touch Me Not, seemingly came out of nowhere to win the Golden Bear at 2018′s Berlinale. “We wanted to award prizes not just for what cinema can do and where it is, but where it could go in the future,” Tom Tykwer, head of the Berlin film festival’s jury, said at the time.

Certainly, Pintilie’s work points at a striking, unclassifiable vision for the future of the medium, one that blends fact with fiction to explore that most provocative of subjects: our desires, ourselves. Yet as the director traces the awakenings and obsessions of four people across the sexual spectrum – exactly where they stop playing themselves and start acting a part is deliberately, sometimes maddeningly unclear – Pintilie always seems just beyond the reach of true insight.

It’s not that every film has to achieve some grand epiphany, but Touch Me Not is not nearly as satisfying as the primal act it’s obsessed with.

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Touch Me Not opens Aug. 23 at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto.

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