Below Her Mouth and the goddess of authentic film
How do you create a film that’s real and honest when we’re auto-programmed with the male gaze? Merryn Johns finds out
Below Her Mouth
Remember the French film, Blue Is the Warmest Colour? Many were outraged at the movie’s exploitation of its actresses and the multiple sex scenes in which the women seemed to be performing, not for each other, but for the male gaze. The film started a debate in our community: why couldn’t we make a sexy film of our own, authentically representing lesbian sex and desire?
It turns out that Below Her Mouth was already in development when Blue Is The Warmest Colour made a splash at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Screenwriter Stephanie Fabrizi and her partner and producer, Melissa Coghlan, were determined to make Below Her Mouth as sexy, as original, and as unwaveringly lesbian as they could. Crewed entirely by women, many of them queer, the film passes the Bechdel test (the test that asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man – phew!) with flying colours and received an F-rating from the Internet Movie Database – F standing for female or feminist. Even better news for long-term survivors of bad lesbian movies, the dialogue is kept to a minimum, desire is at a maximum, and no one dies at the end! We spoke to the cast and crew to find out more.
ERIKA LINDER – DALLAS
On playing Dallas:
“Dallas and I are nothing alike. She’s tortured and doesn’t live her life authentically. She’s driven by her lust, rather than love. She only cares about herself and trying to maintain this tough facade. I mean, it was kind of a running joke on set that Dallas ‘got way more game’ than I do. I’m like a puppy in comparison. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, regarding the explicit content and the feelings I had to find within and bring out. Those pick up lines were pretty funny to deliver, but I’ve never used any lines like that in my life. I’ve also never gone to a girl party before, until the release of the film. My mum’s comment about the film was, ‘Dallas is cooler than you’.
"She apologised after saying it, but to me it was a winner. I think girls fall for the Dallas [and Shane McCutcheon] type because they have an ‘I dare you’ feel and look about them. Most people always want what they can’t have.”
Find out how she handled those sex scenes and what co-star Natalie Krill had to say about the film in the October issue of DIVA, on sale now at divadigital.co.uk.
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