WSFF: Slap 'N' Tickle

Anti-reproductive Mating Ritual
Lock up the kids and throw away the key! This is one night at the movies that’s strictly 'adults only'. Often one of the more popular attractions at the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival (i.e. buy your ticket soon), “Slap 'N’ Tickle” is the programme that celebrates the sins of the flesh in one quick-n-dirty night of R-rated cinema. This year’s selection at “Slap N’ Tickle” is a good mix of frank portrayals of sexuality along with some of the giggly stuff that's sure to tickle your funny boner. In one night, festivalgoers can enjoy a giant orgy on the big screen with cougar lesbians, popsicles, electric guitars, puppets, and a chauvinist pig from Brazil.

Before moving on to the more hardcore/fetish stuff, “Slap 'N’ Tickle” offers some foreplay with a seemingly conventional set-up: blind dating. In Opposites Attract (Canada, 5 min.) two singles find themselves on the blind date from hell. Awkward silence turns into idle chit chat, which turns into caustic gossip, which then turns into hostile bickering, which turns into… hot sex? This hilarious film by Richard Pierre shows that romance creeps into the unlikeliest of circumstances and that the rules of courtship advise would-be lovers not be too quick to judge. Remember: the quite reserved girl could turn out to be the naughty librarian.
Opposites Attract
Excuse Me (United States, 6 min.), on the other hand, is a dramatic Sundance-y type film that sees a couple debate an awkward moment that may or may not have happened during sex. Whereas the truth proves quite the fetish for the lovers of Opposites Attract, Excuse Me shows that honesty might not be the best policy when it comes to bedroom secrets. Some things are better left unsaid. The same goes for the Q & A game in Would You (USA, 7 min.). Dave Franco (21 Jump Street) and Talia Tabin (“Parks and Recreation”) play two friends who enjoy a night of beers and naughty games. The fantasies of their game of “Would You Rather” start to come true, though, and teach them that their teenage dreams might not be as hot as they think they are. Who on earth would want to sleep with McLovin’?

Growing up receives a different take in One Minute Puberty (Germany, 2 min.). I caught this smart animated film back at the Ottawa International Animation Festival last year and enjoyed revisiting its trippy, clever vision of teen angst. Also offering a refreshing take on sexuality is the candid courtship dance of Anti-reproductive Mating Ritual (Norway, 6 min.). Featuring two boys on their skateboards wearing nothing but their tighty whities, Anti-reproductive Mating Ritual offers the most unique and surprising depiction of sexuality in “Slap 'N’ Tickle”. An abashed celebration of the male body, the film teases with innuendo and over-sized popsicles before hitting viewers with a festive money shot. With its sunny cinematography and languid pace, Anti-reproductive Mating Ritual is a bare, stripped-down film that rejoices in physical attraction and celebrates the multiplicity of pleasures afforded by our sexuality.
The Relationship Doctrine of Don Blanquito
The next film, The Relationship Doctrine of Don Blanquito (US/Brazil, 7 min.) will have feminists and all progressively minded individuals cringing in their seats. This documentary by Roger Nygard seems like one of those accidents that worked out for the better. Nygard’s film begins as a profile of Brazilian rapper Don Blanquito. To be fair, that is what the director delivers; however, Nygard seems to have stumbled upon a gold mine of politically correct humour. Don Blanquito turns out to be an unabashed ladies’ man. He just loves the booty. Not only do his lyrics celebrate the joy of smacking that ass, but the playa sprouts all sorts of misogynistic jibber-jabber as he explains his philosophy of non-monogamy and as he shares his love for the meat market of Rio’s sizzling beaches. Forget intelligence and personality – when it comes to dating 2012, all a woman needs is a huge rack and a “basketball butt.” Sexism be damned.

Following the d-bag rapper, “Slap 'N’ Tickle” offers a hot music video, 030 (Denmark, 3 min.) that gives new meaning to “sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.” Afterwards, Cougar Lesbians Go to College (US, 2 min.) sees a pack of over-the-hill LA lesbians lay out all the prime rules for hunting coeds. It’s a hilarious mockumentary that offers some advice for those who were taking notes during Don Blanquito. Rawr!

On the other end of the food chain from Cougars is Cockatoo (Australia, 11 min.), a live-action short about getting over that special someone. Michael (Alan Dukes) is having some trouble forgetting the six-month anniversary of a break-up. He decides to hire a role-playing therapist (not an escort) to offer a placebo for his former lover so that he can channel out his grief and find closure. The only problem is that this therapist just can’t seem to get his ex’s accent right. Very funny and extremely awkward, Cockatoo shows the importance of letting go of the past and of getting that certain someone out of your head. Moving on is hard, but necessary.
Tempest in a Bedroom
The next short, Tempest in a Bedroom (Tempête dans une chambre à coucher) (France, 11 min.), offers all sorts of freaky situations that require a good therapist. A couple of puppets try to rejuvenate their sex life by watching porn, role playing, and going away for a dirty weekend. With the help of a kinky maid and an eager plumber, though, these puppets free themselves from the restraint of their strings. If you thought the soixante-neuf of Team America: World Police was naughty, Tempest in a Bedroom takes puppet sex to a whole new level. The lovers in the programme’s last short, I’m Your Man (France, 15 min.), might have benefited from the extra flexibility of the puppets in Tempest. (They can really move without their strings!) Bruno (Vincent Macaigne) is moving out to get over his ex. By some turn of events, he finds his way back into her. Literally. Actually. Graphically. A truly physical comedy, I’m Your Man is a great sex farce about a couple that can’t seem to break apart. Mixing sex with love, I’m Your Man provides a real happy ending to “Slap 'N’ Tickle”: it will have viewers squirming in their seats, but holding hands on the walk home.

“Slap N’ Tickle” screens at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema on Thursday, June 7 at 10:15 p.m.

Please visit www.shorterisbetter.com for tickets, program/film info, and show times.
(And click here for updates & reviews of this year's Worldwide Short Film Festival.)