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9 Songs


Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from 9 Songs

Nine Songs is the scattered tale of Matt (O’Brien), a research geologist whose work takes him to the Antarctic to analyse the ice strata, and Lisa (Stilley), an American student in London for the summer. Narrated in hindsight, the film follows Matt’s recollection of their intense relationship, from their first meeting at a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club gig at the Brixton Academy in London. From there they go back to his place for sex, and so begins a pattern of love-making and going out to gigs that repeats nine times through the film, hence the name.

Their sexual encounters begin normally enough, but soon they start indulging in oral sex, bondage and game-play. Whilst we learn about the couple’s sexual preferences and musical tastes, little more is revealed about them due to the limited dialogue. This makes for a sparse film; Michael Winterbottom relies on the power of the moving image to tell his story. This extends further to the grainy footage of the various rock gigs the couple go to, their rawness emphasising their energy.

Much media hysteria enveloped this film upon its release due to the graphic depiction of real sexual intercourse, and whether or not the film should be granted a certificate by the British Board of Film Classification. Given this, it’s difficult to comment on the acting performances from the leading pair, suffice to say that they both go into this project with abandon. The list of bands involved in this film sound like a who’s who of current rock, and includes the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Primal Scream, Elbow, Goldfrapp, Super Furry Animals and The Dandy Warhols. Reason enough to see this film!

Alex Coe

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Summer Term (35mm)