When I received my pre-ordered DVD of RP Kahl’s “Bedways”, I was disappointed – the film was shot in full-frame (4:3), but the CrabTree release was letterboxed to widescreen. I had to re-order the uncropped version from Germany, and the Koch Media DVD was not only full-frame, but also had some interesting extras including an interview with Miriam Mayet, the star of the film. So if you’re considering purchasing a copy, you now know which version to go for.
The subject of filmmakers experimenting with film, love and sex, either in a commercial studio or a run-down apartment isn’t new – it had been done before, perhaps even more convincingly. What however sets “Bedways” apart is the open-minded theories of the protagonist-director, who allows things to be played out to their natural conclusion, where the project becomes a study in itself, but also the fact that the film is aided by some unsimulated sex scenes not frequently seen on cinema.
Young director Nina invites friends Maria and Hans for a screen test for a film project. She tells them she wants to explore the theme of love and sex, and wants to observe whether something more than just professionalism would be involved to capture sex in all its authenticity. Hans and Maria have never met before, but were expected to build a chemistry starting from nowhere and take it to the end. Nina uses psychology to get them to come up with own initiatives and ideas. Over the period, we see the margins of film production and reality getting blurred, and begin to wonder where this is all heading.
Of course, this film is going to be more famous for its sex scenes than its exploration of emotions as part of some artistic endeavour. But it nevertheless showcases how difficult shooting sex scenes can be – not only for the director, but importantly for the actors involved – it is not like making porn where actors are paid for performing sex acts to camera, and that’s it. In that respect, all the three actors who play the main characters have done an excellent job. The direction is also competent, but I felt the characters could have been developed a lot further. We’re made aware that there’s a history between Nina and Hans, but are left wanting to know more, and that’s a required element for the film to work. The soundtrack fits the film’s theme fine, but not sure if it was necessary to show an entire song being performed by the band. In conclusion, this is not a great film, but not poorly made either. If you’re willing to overlook its minor shortcomings, you’ll enjoy it. Recommended Viewing!
Amazon.de Special Edition
This is an amazing value offer if you’d like to delve deeper into this RP Kahl film, with some extended footage and additional goodies – the 3-disc Special Edition comes with 2 DVD’s with loaded extras and a Blu-ray version to boot..!
Made from several scenes of Miriam Mayet who plays the director Nina Bader.
- Nina leaves behind some broken glass after her shower, only for Marie to step on. Not much nudity in this scene but it includes some lesbian toe-sucking – erotic in context of the film.
- Nina and Hans meet up and visit a gay bar where people could watch goings on between different booths, and they decide to give it a go. Nina wants to explore for herself a theory – “…just me and the camera”. They speak to each other over their mobile phones while masturbating – Hans is not shown nor heard until she asks him to come in. This is a must-see – a long scene done in a single take – for close to 10 minutes Miriam Mayet masturbates herself in explicit view of the camera. It reminds me of a similar scene in cinema from years ago – Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan giving a lengthy monologue while masturbating in bed from the film “James Joyce’s Women”. In this film, while there’s not as much as a monologue from Ms. Mayet, the focus remains feminine pleasure, as opposed to male gratification.
- I’ve re-jigged this scene for continuity sake. This is what happens next, and includes brief cunnilingus and fellatio between Hans and Nina.
- The closing shot of the film where Nina is on a bed holding a mirror.
Scenes of Lana Cooper who plays Marie Traunstein.
- Brief nudity but important scene where Nina briefs Marie what she’s expecting to achieve in the film. She prompts Marie to come up with ideas of her own.
- When Marie is hesitant to take off her top, Nina removes her own to put her at ease, takes Hans’ place and shows what needs to be done – i.e., masturbating through her panties.
- Nina arranges the nude bodies of Hans and Marie as if it were still life.
- Interesting scene where Marie, wearing transparent panties, sits on a chair with spread legs, while quoting a psychological study from a newspaper. The article mentions that humans are genetically programmed to display certain emotions, in this case – smiling ‘for the camera’ even when they are actually disappointed – apparently a person blind from birth would also display the same smile as an olympic silver medalist missing gold by a whisker. She concludes by saying that she’s also going to use those innate qualities for her acting.
- More in-your-face nudity, as Marie prepares for the sex scene.
- The sex scene is not shown as being filmed, but as reviewed by all three later. But whatever we see leaves little to the imagination as Lana Cooper has unsimulated sex with her co-actor, and it is fairly explicit too.