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The Loss of Sexual Innocence

3.1 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

At turns both mesmerizing and frustrating, Mike Figgis's 1999 experimental feature interweaves an audacious dramatization of the Adam and Eve myth with autobiographical vignettes from the director's life. In Figgis's golden rendering of the Genesis tale, the first humans are a black man (Femi Ogumbanjo) and a white woman (Hanne Klintoe), who emerge one day, fully formed, from a lake, and regard each other with playful wonder. They discover, like children, their anatomical differences, and explore the surrounding green paradise until coming upon the tree of knowledge. From this they eat and almost instantly reevaluate one another with a steely lust. Thus their, and our, fabled fall from grace ends in the mire of sexual possession and walled-off feeling, a tragedy that Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas) uses as a touchstone for the contemporary story of a filmmaker named Nic (Julian Sands). Nic's own youthful experiences with various kinds of formative humiliation, including finding his teenage girlfriend in bed with his best friend, are presented as flashbacks meant to resonate with his marital unhappiness today. Less clear are other moments out of time that don't particularly connect with Figgis's major theme, especially an odd development in which twin sisters (both played by Saffron Burrows), each unaware of the other's existence, have a fleeting, worlds-are-colliding encounter at an airport. Figgis also reaches into a grab bag of Nic's other old sorrows, things that don't uniquely inform or enhance the film's point, and muddies things up a bit. But the sheer hubris of marrying a myth with a memoir carries the day here, and Figgis leaps the hurdle of potential self-parody with a certain courage. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Julian Sands, Saffron Burrows, Stefano Dionisi, Kelly Macdonald, Gina McKee
  • Directors: Mike Figgis
  • Writers: Mike Figgis
  • Producers: Mike Figgis, Annie Stewart, Barney Reisz, Patrick Wachsberger
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: December 7, 1999
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767837371
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,975 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Loss of Sexual Innocence" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
You've got to admire ambition. The Loss of Sexual Innocence is a meditative, impressionistic, mostly dialogue-less, deeply beautiful and aggressively non-linear exploration of various forms of innocence lost--or shattered. The chopped-up plot structure at first is confusing, but as the threads start to come together the parrallels drawn and metaphors presented are provocative. A film that makes its audience really think ought to be appreciated in our age of brainless blockbusters. Though it is best to keep in mind that there is no solid main point, no overall meaning you're meant to find in the film. In the end it is more like a piece of music than a story: weaving themes in and out, leaving the audience to form their own opinions and interpretations. While it doesn't succeed with flying colors, it is certainly worthwhile and interesting, and stunningly gorgeous to boot.
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Format: VHS Tape
This is one of those movies that seems like a rental when you see it advertised on the big screen, and you become a little sad that you didn't see it there when you get home and enjoy it in the privacy of your own home. THE LOSS OF SEXUAL INNOCENCE is profoundly effective through its ability to not tell the story of an emotion or emotions, but (through non-linear structure, visual narrative and improvisation over meaning-laden dialogue, and provocative retelling of religious myth as a thread of symbolism) to actually put emotion on film. You see and feel jealousy, guilt, shame, passion, epiphany, rage, desire, despair, total confusion, and every other emotion that makes up the experience of the loss of sexual innocence. There are scenes that seem not to work as well as others. Yet even in saying that, the impulse is to critique them in the context of the linear films we are used to seeing out of Hollywood, when that isn't the kind of film the director actually made. Fans of MAGNOLIA, I think, as well as the films of Bertolucci, will like this film a lot; anyone else who is in the mood for something different should definitely follow their instincts when they go "Hmmm..." after reading the title.
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Format: VHS Tape
At what point do we lose our innocence? Is it the one moment of actually having sex, or is it a build up of smaller things through life that slowly take it away? This film has the effect of juxtiposing two views on the question: with Adam & Eve, we have complete innocence up to the moment of having sex ..then they are thrust out into the modern adult world and expected to somehow automatically know how to survive in it. The discovery of Sex does not give them the automatic knowledge of how to deal with all its possible consequences. Interweaved with that, Figgis puts scenes from a man's developing life. Events shown that each eat away a little bit of innocence we may not have even realized we still have. The slow disintegration of Innocence through time. The effect of both instances is numbing. The most amazing scene for me involves two twins, unaware of each other's existance (both played by Saffron Burrows), who one day cross paths with each other in an airport. The set up is stunning. This scene *begs* the question: if you met up with another version of yourself, a version with a different background & different formative events, would you even be recognizable to yourself? Would you be able to relate to that other you as a person? How much have the events in our lives formed us, and how much really is biological? The only quarrel with this film I have is a series of scenes in which Mr. Figgis employed a slow fade-in/fade-out method. This was very eye-painful to watch, the fade is at such a rate you feel as though you are just slow-blinking before falling asleep. Thankfully, this is only done briefly in the film. Over all, excellent filmmaking!
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Format: DVD
This is a beautifully produced film presented in a nonlinear narrative about the innocence and experience of a man (Nic) as he grows-up.
To give a little bit of structure to the confusion expressed in some of the other reviews...
Nic is the little blond haired boy in the beginning, Nic is at the funeral of his girlfriends father, Flashback: Nic is (almost) caught with his girlfriend by her father, Nic is the fat boy looking at the photos of dead bodies, Nic is the fat boy being taunted and beaten in the gym, Nic is the man going to the cottage with his wife, and Nic is the man in the desert shooting video...
I recommend the video to the experienced art cinema patron. I did not give the film five stars because it was not overwhelmingly inspiring... it lingers with you.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film does not tell a completely cohesive story, but pivots between two groups of characters. The first is Adam and Eve. Throughout the film, they begin to discover their differences and sexual awaking. The other characters are shown as they learn about sexuality through circumstance. Saffron Burrows plays both parts of a pair of twins who, though never explained,, obviously were raised apart without knowing they each have twin. In the best scene of the film, one of the twins arrives at an airport. The other is waiting there to meet a man who was on the same plane.Finally through the chaos at the arrival gates, they lock eyes on each other and each holds a mesmerizing stare of the other. A random accident causes them to lose focus, and each meets the person they were awaiting. This chance meeting is never dwelled on after that. Saffrons main twin is a part of film crew on a film project. In an accident that takes the life of a native boy, Her character volunteers to stay behind with the natives after the accident. The natives promptly pull out knives and stab her to death.
This is almost a reoccurring theme in most of the Saffron Burrows films I have seen. She reaches out to manifest some truth, and is eventually smitten by this endeavor . So Saffron gets lost/destroyed. Her Twin will never know what became of her. So she suffers another futility of life in the cinema. I recommend the film, but you may not want to watch Saffron die yet another cinematic death.
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