9 Songs

This review discusses a controversial film involving explicit sexual relations. Reader discretion is advised.

That means that if you’re a prude, fuck off.

9 Songs explores the story of a couple in a very real, intimate way. When I say intimate, I mean intimate. The film has faced controversy for being borderline pornographic. That’s a debate I’m going to avoid for this review, since it doesn’t make sense to me to discuss what is and isn’t pornographic, as it doesn’t make sense to me to discuss what is and isn’t art. There is an interesting comparison to make between pornography and film, though.

9 Songs cannot be fairly construed as simply an edgy poke at societal norms in films, by having a large portion of the film be acts graphic sex. Admittedly, there’s a large chunk of the film that is simply the two leads engaging in intercourse. Rather than viewing the sex for just sex, I think it’s fair to ask why we’re being shown this sexual act. As with all films (I hope. See: any Transformers movie, ever.), every iota, from the clock on the wall to the sex acts being performed, was planned and deliberate. Yes, you could have slapped together sex acts in the middle of the movie and called it an ‘art house film’. I don’t think that’s solely what’s going on here.

There are direct relations between the narration, the sex, and the admittedly sparse discussions between the two leads. Were they on purpose? Perhaps, but probably. If you choose to put in the effort, this film offers plenty for the viewer to think about, independent of the shock of seeing someone ejaculate on screen. Why are we being shown this? Why is this sex act being shown now

As with art, you’re going to have a different interpretation of the film, and you’re going to have different answers to these questions, or you may simply be insulted that this sort of depraved movie could even be afforded anything but a binary, carnal, offensive thought. Is this movie worth watching? Only if you want to push the boundaries of what you consider to be pornography, only if you want to explore your own ideas of sex, relationships, film and the relationship between the three. It’ll be a touching love story, if you’re able to look past the pornographic nature of the sex. It’ll be something to get yourself off to, if you’re not interested in the ‘slower’ unsexy parts. 

7/10. I appreciate the effort, and enjoy the complexity this film offers, but I feel a tinge of pretentiousness throughout. A sense of, “Our feelings and understanding of sex is more valid than those who don’t feel like sex belongs in movies.”

You can stream 9 Songs for free with a library card or university login here.

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