Writer-director Adina Pintilie’s meditation on the body and emotional hang-ups is totally weird in its explorations. Part documentary, part staged and set in Germany, the film contains abundant nudity. But the nakedness is more lab study than erotic. “Touch Me Not” can also become intermittently boring during its two hour, three minute running time.
The format is an interview technique, but the behind-the-camera perspective morphs into dramatized scenes that illustrate the director’s concerns about how we view our bodies and the need to unleash repressed emotions and achieve more freedom. The object-in-chief is Laura, played by Laura Benson, whose hang-ups are extensively examined.
Laura is fearful of human contact, and she is seen with men she hires to make cautious attempts to get her to loosen up. Pressing her too quickly results in her withdrawing. It takes an awful lot to finally lead her to wanting to be nude in front of a man, and even to cuddle a bit. My patience was sorely tried, and at one point I felt like shouting out, “Get laid already.”
There is lots of philosophical discussion, including with and by Christian Bayerlein, physically deformed but mentally sharp. Another subject for study is Tómas, played by Tómas Lemarquis. There is a depiction of “Touch Therapy,” which is meant to help those who need assistance in dealing with their physicality, bodily urges and limitations. One scene involves a supposedly therapeutic orgy, with abundant S and M.
“Touch Me Not” veers from the sincere to the pretentious and when Laura finally stands naked before us, the effect is, shall we say, anti-climactic. A Kino Lorber release. Reviewed January 11, 2019.