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THE LITTLE DEATH

The Little Death - Sex And The Suburbs
The Little Death – Sex And The Suburbs

With the new Australian comedy The Little Death, writer, director and co-star Josh Lawson (Any Questions For Ben?, House Of Lies) takes a look behind the doors and under the covers of a typical Australian neighbourhood and reveals the – often surprisingly sweet – peccadilloes that dwell there.

It’s not an original refrain, but it’s one that rings true: a filmmaker – often an actor/filmmaker – is none too impressed with the fare on offer, so he decides to make something more in line with his own tastes. It’s what drove Ben Affleck and Matt Damon to make Good Will Hunting, and a similar urge propelled Josh Lawson to labour on his new film, the sex comedy The Little Death.

“I have been critical of a lot of Australian films for a long time,” Lawson explains. “I have been dissatisfied as well and not just with comedy, but across the board. I can’t say that I love a lot of Aussie films – I wish I could, but I just can’t say it. So, for me, it was born out of the fact that I was tired of complaining about what wasn’t in the industry and decided to make the sort of film that I thought we should be making.”

The result is a kind of multi-strand narrative that delves into the lives of five different couples, each at different stages of their relationship, each suffering through a different kind of crisis, and each focused on a different kind of kink. “I thought

we should tackle sex. I thought it was an interesting topic, I thought there was plenty of comedy in it and I thought it was a bit risqué. I thought it was a topic I could choose that might get a bit if attention, you know? As opposed to your usual kitchen sink drama. I thought that if I did a comedy about sex that might be strong enough to get the attention of these Australians who don’t seem to want to see any Aussie movies.”

While not setting out to shock, Lawson’s film does cast a wide net in terms of the fetishes it takes in, starting with the opening scene in which Maeve (Bojana Novakovic) confesses her rape fantasy to her boyfriend, Paul (Lawson). “The first one in the movie is the first one that I wrote. That’s where it all began. It was a risqué one, it’s one that if we handled it indelicately could have fallen really flat and I just wanted to make a splash – I really did. That’s why I started there and then the others followed. Over the years I developed it and the script matured and I grew and the script changed with me and ultimately we’ve gotten it made at the right time – I think the script needed time to be refined, because it’s such a delicate topic.”

But though the film does go to some potentially dark and problematic areas, it’s saved by both Lawson’s assured understanding of tone and a crucial underlying factor: “I think the reason we can get away with it and what unifies them, even though they are all different, is that they are all love stories. As long as I kept the love between them, they could do pretty horrible stuff provided there wasn’t any malice. That’s the thing – no one’s being cruel. When they do awful things it’s actually to get closer to their partner. It’s trying to find an intimacy that’s not there and they decide to go through unusual or even dark means in order to find a connection with the person they love.”

TRAVIS JOHNSON

 

 

 

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