“Bodies and Souls” conducts a stream-of-consciousness scrutiny of the role of sex in an average heterosexual relationship observed via the couple’s own exchanges and those with friends and family. This ponderous exercise in psychosexual politicking may land scattered fest dates on the strength of its subject, but most auds will feel their desire thoroughly extinguished before reel one is over.
Approach lies somewhere between cinema verite documentary, Warholian minimalism and Dr. Ruth-style couples counseling without the humor. Clara (Catia Riccabonni) and Lou (Philippe Reymondin) are intro’d in bed, musing on everything from sodomy to penetration politics to her lesbian experiences.
The discussion fans out to touch on larger issues such as fidelity, cohabitation, the ebbing of desire in a relationship and the importance of communication in facilitating sex. Politics and male vs. female attitudes are also explored. The less than scintillating banter shifts gears momentarily when the couple are seen fully clothed, locked in a sustained kiss, while their voiceovers recount assorted down-and-dirty episodes.
Mixing scripted scenes with monologues and improvisations, writer/director Aude Vermeil’s tack fails to establish flesh-and-blood base elements for her intended Everycouple. Consequently, their ramblings inhabit a lifeless (not to mention sexless) theoretical plane.
The visually dreary effort would require considerably more animated editing to shake off its academic fustiness.