Matt (Kieran O'Brien) meets tourist Lisa (Margo Stilley) at a rock concert at London's Brixton Academy and they have a short, sexually charged affair, making love in a variety of ways and going to lots of rock concerts before Lisa heads back home.
 

4
An honest, arthouse film with not much dialogue or story but with an element more true to life.

As reported last year on The Movie Show, Michael Winterbottom\'s film Nine Songs was originally given an X-rating by the OFLC (Office Of Film & Literature Classification) for its graphic sexual content. While it is very much an arthouse exercise, nonetheless the real sex scenes contained posed yet another a \'perceptual\' problem for the censors after their recent struggles with Baise-Moi (2001) and Larry Clark\'s Ken Park (2002).

However, on appeal earlier this year this decision was overturned. Nine Songs was given an R-rating, meaning that the film can now go into general release, to be seen by those 18 years and over, that is, consenting adults.Like its title, Nine Songs is a simple and graphic film. In flashback from a new job in Antarctica, a man remembers a love affair with a woman. Brit scientist Matt and American traveller Lisa, actors Kieran O?Brien and Margo Stilley, meet at the first of a series of rock gigs they attend together over the course of their relationship in London at the famed Brixton Academy. They listen to a lot of music, have a lot of sex, and don\'t say very much to each other. That\'s pretty much it; the end, and the beginning, of the story.

Personally I have always wondered why it is that cinema, while it goes to such lengths to mirror life realistically on just about every level, somehow absents sex from the equation. Clearly it is a question to which writer/director Winterbottom also wanted to know the answer given the matter-of-fact yet copious amounts of real sex contained in this film. But before we write it all off simply as raincoat brigade grade porn dressed up as art, it is important to consider his intent. Winterbottom also wanted to make a movie where the audience was put into the position of \'imagining\' the rest the relationship and lives of the two characters around their liaisons.

As described recently in an article, [Winterbottom] wanted to show the trajectory of a love affair spanning the cycle of nine gigs, from its giddy beginnings through its cosy domestic interlude to its last dying gasps, but to restrict the narrative to what the audience can create for themselves through observing the changes in the relationship from what takes place in the bedroom. In other words, here\'s the sex, now work out the rest yourself. Which might make Nine Songs not much of a movie for those used to straight up corn-fed love stories, pretty much the norm when it comes to romantic drama.

Essentially this makes Nine Songs very much an arthouse film in the way the contentious Baise-Moi was not. Nine Songs is fuelled only by artistic concerns and while it contains one simple metaphor, Antarctica represents the eventual \'winter\' of Matt and Lisa\'s relationship, it\'s a good one. To be honest, I suspect that there will be a good many in the audience for Nine Songs who will relate instantly not only to the Britpop music at hand, but to the rest of the material. It may sound banal or even indulgent, but sometimes there isn\'t much more to life and love than sex and music.