(This review was originally published at Good Vibrations Online Magazine.)
One Night Stand (2006) was the film that originally brought Paris-based French photographer and filmmaker Emilie Jouvet (35) onto the international scene. Her first feature length film, Emilie presents it as "a DIY romantic queer porn" but, as The End of Being points out, "don't expect amateur work." "Jouvet’s porn is of a conceptual nature" reflecting an "interest in the city lights, the trashy glamour, and fast-living of girls who not only command their space, but demand it." Indeed, what sets One Night Stand apart, is its unique esthetic sensibility and its reflective approach to gender and sexuality. A conceptual underground art house film, One Night Stand displays Emilie's edgy artistic style, using the night light and digital quality for effect as it explores queer sex. The handheld camera work and the confident editing combine to present a film that feels both unbrushed and visceral, and polished and poetic at the same time. The energy is strong throughout with an indie musical soundtrack delivering the scenes' palpable sexual energy.
The viewer is right away pulled into the charged space of One Night Stand in the film's opening prelude. Accompanied by a catchy soundtrack that will get you on your feet, we follow a blond short-haired woman walking down the stairs of a night club. The black and white quality of the picture gradually warms into muted colors as the camera caresses the women partying and dancing, compelled by the rhythms played by a sylphlike DJ, her delicate long fingers spinning the record. The psychedelic soundtrack escalates as the tension builds—"sex bound, revelation," hisses a woman on the dance beat—women watching women, dancing, flirting, kissing, making out.
Cut to the opening credits followed by five one-night stands.
The sex is explicit and intense, but never feels graphic. Far from the cold gynecological shots of mainstream porn, the images of the women's arousal and pleasure are stunning and extremely moving to witness, regardless of the viewer's own sexual orientation. And it is all just so visually interesting to watch compared to most sex on film; the cinematography and soundtrack highlighting the poetry of sex, whether it be nostalgic or raw.
As bonus materials, One Night Stand comes with a ten-minute interview with the performers where they share why they decided taking part in this film and what it has meant to them. All friends of Jouvet, the women volunteered for this project to have sex with whom they wanted and the way they wanted it. Included are also two extra numbers (one of them featuring the director with her partner), and a brief backstage compilation of behind the scenes and bloopers.
One Night Stand won the awards for Sexiest Dyke Movie at the Feminist Porn Award (2009) and First Prize of the Lesbian Jury at the Berlin Porn Film Festival (2006).