Scrolling through Netflix’s most-viewed titles, you might have stumbled across “365 DNI” (365 Days) which debuted on June 7. The Polish romp has been stirring up a storm on TikTok and social media from viewers drawing comparisons to “Fifty Shades of Grey” for its erotic BDSM scenes. One scene lasts close to five minutes.
“365 Days” is based on a novel by Blanka Lipińska (who also directed the film) and is described as a modern-day “Beauty and the Beast” by cinematographer Bartek Cierlica (“Grobari”). Laura (Anna Maria Sieklucka) is an ordinary young woman who gets kidnapped by Massimo (Michele Morrone), a mafia boss obsessed with her. Trapped in his spacious chateau, she has 365 days to fall in love with him.
Though reviews have been mostly scathing, curious Netflix viewers have kept the steamy title ranking high on the site all week.
Cierlica reacts to the film being called “rich porn” and talks lensing those supercharged sex scenes.
What do you think about the online reaction to the film?
Rich porn, you say? I don’t know if to feel offended or flattered. The film and the erotic book written by Blanka Lipińska it is based on is a kind of fairytale for adult women and a modern interpretation of Beauty and the Beast story. The story is in some ways close to “Fifty Shades of Grey.” They are both based on the same motif — a handsome and rich man who opens the door to new life and sensual experiences for the female hero. But in “365 Days” the female hero is far stronger and more emancipated than the girls from old fairy tales.
The first BDSM scene is almost lensed with fear. How did you want to portray that?
Each sex scene in this movie is different. The relationship evolves. It starts with fear of the unknown and temptation. It evolves through pure sex with BDSM and ends with love. The main idea was to create the rising tension between the two heroes starting from their first meeting. We wanted the viewer to participate in playing the game that Laura tries to play with Massimo and discover her sexuality and sensuality with her.
What are some of your strategies for shooting erotic scenes?
We wanted the camera to be as much invisible as possible, to let them act, so indeed the takes were very, very long. We created the most intimate atmosphere we could for the actors. We reduced the on-set crew to an absolute minimum. As it was handheld I was following their action, and trying to show their passion in a natural but beautiful way. We wanted this sex to be pretty authentic. We wanted the viewer to hear their whispers, heavy breaths and we wanted to show the sweat, passion. Be natural, authentic, but not to cross the border of pornography.
What were some of the initial conversations you had with director Barbara Białowąs?
We had a lot of conversations with both directors — Barbara Białowąs and Tomasz Mandes. We had a few important goals. We didn’t want to create porn, but at the same time, we wanted to do justice to the book that is pretty full of very intimate and passionate sex descriptions. I knew that as a DP I was walking on very thin ice. It is always a big challenge when you have to bring to life a story that people know and have their idea about. Here the challenge was doubled — how to make it seductive and erotic within the borders of general good taste and my aesthetic.
As the relationship dynamic changes between Laura and Massimo, how did you portray that through your lens?
At the beginning of their acquaintance, I was distanced and objective when portraying them, but the more intense their relationship became the more I immersed into their emotions and passion and their facial expressions.