Why Medusa?: Our Review of ‘Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn’

Posted in Theatrical by - November 28, 2021
Why Medusa?: Our Review of ‘Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn’

Emilia ‘Emi’ Cilibiu (Katia Pascariu) walks around a city in her home country of Romania. Presumably, she’s in Bucharest during an unspecified year when the country is having elections. Searching through Google, this is probably during the summer of 2020. That’s almost a generation after the country fought the right to end their Communist dictatorship and become a democracy. Most people are free except for Emi, who makes calls so she can take down a video that shows her in a compromising position (thus director and writer Radu Jude using the title …Loony Porn, which, since it’s already on the title of this review, I’ll have to turn off the comments section lest spam).

That video is the reason Emi is facing a PTA meeting because after all, she’s a teacher. There’s something admirable about …Loony Porn because Pascariu and the rest of the cast and crew shot this during the first year of COVID, having to shoot it in real locations. Even those exterior shots are dangerous because anyone can walk into Pascariu and cough at her. Watching a city full of people with masks also makes for interesting cinema. And that’s because it accurately records when cities stopped becoming ghost towns. The film takes more ambitious turns as Emi deals with both COVID and her private life. And it connects that struggle with recent Romanian history and even further back into Greek myth.

…Loony Porn‘s ambitions only makes sense if it ties its separate statements within a coherent thesis. Sticking random statements and observations can go two ways in a film. Either some viewers can see the connections or they don’t. This film unfortunately isn’t cohesive enough to connect those threads. The film has three parts. The first and last shows Emi’s story and the middle act has the random observations that I previously mentioned. One of the scenes in that middle act shows a mummy of a poet. It juxtaposes that visual with subtitles about life being both comic and tragic. It attempts to tie a random poet’s life to the cultural and violent aspects of Romanian history.

It’s nice to have a guilt complex about one’s history. But that middle act doesn’t make that history distinct from any other country’s. …Loony Porn’s observations already don’t make sense, and tackling pornography just muddies its waters. The film finally gets to the part where parents (including Gabriel Spahlu) dress up as either lieutenants or priests. And they use any metric to judge Emi’s ‘transgression’. These metric includes the Gospel of Matthew, of all things. And the debate’s digressions are reminiscent of political debates between laymen. I’ve both participated in debates and watched this movie for free. Most people pay for the latter, and I guess viewers can do that. It’s their money to waste.

…Loony Porn hit theatres in Montreal and Vancouver this weekend, starting November 26.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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