Vertel me hoe je van me hield, zodat ik kan begrijpen hoe ik kan liefhebben.
Een filmmaker en haar personages wagen zich aan een persoonlijke zoektocht naar het begrip van en de emotie bij intimiteit. Op de diffuse grens tussen realiteit en fictie volgt TOUCH ME NOT de emotioneel geladen verkenningstochten van Laura, Tomas en Christian, en biedt de film een diep empathisch inzicht in hun leven. Verlangend naar intimiteit, maar tegelijk ook beperkt door angsten en weerstand, werken ze aan het verkennen en overwinnen van oude patronen, afweermechanismen en taboes. Ze proberen de grenzen te verleggen om zich vrijer te kunnen bewegen, zowel fysiek als psychisch. De een wil intimiteit, maar durft zich niet over te geven. Een ander geeft zich helemaal, maar botst soms met de afwerende houding van mensen in de omgeving. En weer een ander klampt zich teveel vast aan herinneringen, maar probeert zich wel langzaam open te stellen.
TOUCH ME NOT kijkt naar hoe we intimiteit kunnen vinden op de meest onverwachte manieren, hoe we van iemand anders kunnen houden zonder onszelf te verliezen, hoe we toestaan dat we aangeraakt kunnen worden door onszelf de ruimte te geven.

Vanaf 22 november 2018 is TOUCH ME NOT te zien in de filmtheaters:
EYE Amsterdam; De Balie, Amsterdam; Rialto, Amsterdam; Het Ketelhuis, Amsterdam; Filmhuis Den Haag; 't Hoogt, Utrecht; O42, Nijmegen; Forum Groningen; De Lieve Vrouw, Amersfoort; Natlab Eindhoven; Focus, Arnhem; LantarenVenster, Rotterdam; De Filmschuur, Haarlem; Lumière Cinema, Maastricht

filmaffiche Touch me not

Roemenië, Duitsland, Tsjechië, Bulgarije, Frankrijk; 2018; kleur; 125 minuten; Dolby 5.1;
Engels gesproken; Nederlands ondertiteld.

Credits

Regisseur:
Acteurs: Laura Benson, Tómas Lemarquis, Christian Bayerlein, Grit Uhlemann, Adina Pintilie, Hanna Hofmann, Seani Love, Irmena Chichikova
Productie: Bianca Oana, Philippe Avril, Adina Pintilie
Camera: George Chiper-Lillemark
Muziek: Einsturzende Neubauten, Blixa Bargeld
Montage: Adina Pintilie
Awards: Gouden beer Berlinale,
Scenario: Adina Pintilie
Design/Set decoration: Adrian Cristea
Kostuums: Maria Pitea
Sound-Design: Dominik Dolejší

Over de regisseur:

ADINA PINTILIE
Graduated in 2008 from the National University of Drama and Film Bucharest, ADINA PINTILIE is a young Romanian filmmaker and visual artist, often awarded in prestigious international film festivals. At the border between fiction, documentary and visual art, her work is very particular in the new Romanian cinema landscape, standing out through a highly personal visual style, the courage to experiment in cinematic language and an uncompromising exploration of human psyche. Her medium length film DON’T GET ME WRONG (produced by Aristoteles Workshop, supported by ARTE France, the Romanian Cinema Center, and the Romanian National Television) premiered in Locarno 2007 —Filmmakers of the Present Competition, screened at 2007 IDFA— Best of Fests, won the Golden Dove Award for Best Documentary at Dok Leipzig 2007, was selected/awarded in over 50 international film festivals like: Thessaloniki, Montpellier, Trieste, Namur, Documenta Madrid, Munchen, Moscow, Sarajevo, Warsaw, Krakow, Docupolis Barcelona, etc. Her latest short film, DIARY#2, a co-production Romania/The Netherlands, won the ZONTA Award at OBERHAUSEN International Short Film Festival 2013 and was screened in Sofia Film Festival – Best Balkan Shorts 2014, Belo Horizonte International Short Film Festival 2013 etc. —while her previous short SANDPIT#186 (co-director: George Chiper) premiered in Locarno 2008, Author’s Shorts section, won the Runner Up Award at the Miami International Film Festival 2009 and a Special Mention in Trieste International Film Festival 2009.

 

DIRECTOR’S NOTE
When I was twenty, I thought I knew everything about love, about how a healthy intimate relationship should be, how desire functions. Today, after twenty years of trials and tribulations, all the views that I had on intimacy back then lost their definition and grew more and more complex and unsettlingly contradictory. As a reflection of this personal journey, TOUCH ME NOT is an artistic research about the human longing and yet (in)ability to touch and be touched, to make contact. Intimacy plays a central role in human experience, having its roots in the initial physical, emotional and psychological bond between the mother and the new-born. It is through this primary attachment that the infant has the first contact with the world and starts building its sense of self. This initial contact shapes the infant’s brain, profoundly influencing its self-esteem, its expectations of others, and later, how it bonds and approaches intimacy as an adult. Beyond its crucial role in identity formation, healthy intimacy at an individual level has major implications at community level, allowing a psychosocial network of human beings connected through solid emotional attachments.

Dysfunctional intimacy within the family nucleus fosters fertile ground for further conflict, abuse, discrimination and prejudice at a larger, social and political scale. TOUCH ME NOT aims to become a space for (self)reflection and transformation, where the viewer is challenged to deepen their knowledge of human nature and to re-evaluate their experience and ideas about intimate human relationships, with a particular focus on de-objectification and personalization of human exchange, on stimulating our curiosity about the different “Other” and our empathic ability to place ourselves into the Other’s skin. I personally believe that understanding the human nature and exercising our capacity to perceive the other as another me, as another possibility of our own self, can have an essential transformative power, both of our inner self and of the way we interact with the others. As Gustav Landauer notes: “Society is not something which can be changed by a revolution, but is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of human behaviour; we change it by changing our mode of relating, by behaving differently.” ADINA PINTILIE

TOUCH ME NOT TOUCH ME NOT TOUCH ME NOT TOUCH ME NOT TOUCH ME NOT TOUCH ME NOT

De pers over TOUCH ME NOT

Het radicaal intieme Touch Me Not van de Roemeense filmmaker Adina Pintilie is de even verrassende als omstreden winnaar van het Internationaal Filmfestival van Berlijn.
Juist daarom is het interessant om Pintilies imperfecte, gedurfde oefening in kwetsbaarheid in al haar complexiteit eerst maar eens het uitdagende discussiestuk te laten zijn dat het is, voor het met een oordeel terzijde te schuiven.
lees het artikel in de VPRO-gids – Karin Wolfs

een film die zich op fascinerende wijze staande houdt op het breukvlak van fictie en documentaire…. In het veld van visie en risico vinden we het werk dat de filmkunst op lange termijn verder brengt.
indebioscoop
4 ****

Touch Me Not uitleggen is een opgave op zich. Zo not done als het volgens velen is om kunst als therapie te gebruiken, zo duidelijk gaat deze film daar tegenin.
interview De Filmkrant

Het is een van de opmerkelijkste en dapperste debuten van dit jaar…. De vragen die Touch Me Not oproept over de helende kracht van de aanraking in hyperseksuele tijden zijn hoogst noodzakelijk.
NRC

Cinemagazine
3,5*** *

Filmrecensent: “Touch Me Not maakt indruk in de wijze waarop de filmmaker de kijker meeneemt in haar gesprekken.”
lees hier

Protagonisten: “Touch Me Not daagt de kijker uit.”
lees hier

Medisch Contact “Heel sterke en ontroerende film.”
lees hier

 

Adina Pintilie’s first feature is an eye-opening look at human sexuality on the uncertain edge of fiction and non-fiction.
Hollywood reporter

“If anyone is shocked by “Touch Me Not,” they’re not getting the point” – Variety.

SIGHT & SOUND on TOUCH ME NOT:
“A brave experiment… This well-intentioned, restlessly inquisitive celebration of sexuality should strike a chord most readily with those who’ve struggled to understand and express their own identity.”

INDIEWIRE on TOUCH ME NOT:
“Radically humane.. an unclassifiable film.. a bold treatise about the strange (and often estranged) relationship humans have with their own bodies.”

FILM DE CULTE on TOUCH ME NOT:
“A film you have never seen before… a space for self-reflection, at the same time unsettling and captivating…
The subversion of Pintilie’s approach lies particularly in the way to re-imagine the relationship with our own body and the limits of this body. Intimacy – the film proposes – it’s the art of pushing these limits, of breaking down your inner walls. At this level, TOUCH ME NOT absolutely breaks new ground.” (Gregory Coutaut)

DIRECTOR’S NOTE

When I was twenty, I thought I knew everything about love, about how a healthy intimate relationship should be, how desire functions. Today, after twenty years of trials and tribulations, all the views that I had on intimacy back then lost their definition and grew more and more complex and unsettlingly contradictory. As a reflection of this personal journey, TOUCH ME NOT is an artistic research about the human longing and yet (in)ability to touch and be touched, to make contact.

Intimacy plays a central role in human experience, having its roots in the initial physical, emotional and psychological bond between the mother and the new-born. It is through this primary attachment that the infant has the first contact with the world and starts building its sense of self. This initial contact shapes the infant’s brain, profoundly influencing its self-esteem, its expectations of others, and later, how it bonds and approaches intimacy as an adult.

Beyond its crucial role in identity formation, healthy intimacy at an individual level has major implications at community level, allowing a psychosocial network of human beings connected through solid emotional attachments.

Dysfunctional intimacy within the family nucleus fosters fertile ground for further conflict, abuse, discrimination and prejudice at a larger, social and political scale.

TOUCH ME NOT aims to become a space for (self)reflection and transformation, where the viewer is challenged to deepen their knowledge of human nature and to re-evaluate their experience and ideas about intimate human relationships, with a particular focus on de-objectification and personalization of human exchange, on stimulating our curiosity about the different “Other” and our empathic ability to place ourselves into the Other’s skin. I personally believe that understanding the human nature and exercising our capacity to perceive the other as another me, as another possibility of our own self, can have an essential transformative power, both of our inner self and of the way we interact with the others. As Gustav Landauer notes: “Society is not something which can be changed by a revolution, but is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of human behaviour; we change it by changing our mode of relating, by behaving differently.”

ADINA PINTILIE

OPEN LETTER

…As years passed by, when confronted with real life, a question started to trouble me more and more: why does intimacy bring also so much fear, guilt, mistrust, loneliness? Why is every moment of happiness is shadowed by the fear it will end soon? Looking at my own experience
and that of the people close to me, I gradually started to doubt all my once so clear views on life, normality, love etc. And that’s how a long journey of self-discovery started.

Along the way, I discovered the intricate ways in which our adult ability to be intimate is so much influenced by our childhood, and, first of all, by our primary bond with our mother. As a dear friend psychotherapist put it: “tell me how you were loved, to tell you how you love”. And the earlier the experience, the more unconscious it is, imprinting in our brain patterns of behaviour, which deeply influence our adult life, our view on ourselves and the other in our intimacy, without us even being aware of them.

– And here I am, in full process of working on myself, to finally cut the cord, to get rid of all that keeps me back in my intimacy, in my creativity, to be free and blossom. And TOUCH ME NOT is part of precisely this personal exploration, questioning first of all my own views on intimacy. All these characters crave for intimacy, but are deeply afraid of it, are stuck in old patterns and defense mechanisms, in a deep clash between connection and autonomy, between giving and receiving, between their image of intimacy and its reality. Loving another without losing ourselves, central dilemma of intimacy, is at the core of my search, both here, in this film and in my life…

(Excerpt from the filmmaker’s notes)

ON REALITY AND FICTION

I’ve always been particularly interested in my own intimate relationship with reality as a filmmaker. I work a lot with reality and I don’t believe there is a border between reality and fiction, there is just cinema, as subjective experience of reality.

The main level where the reality versus fiction dialectics comes into play is the actual filmmaking process: not only in terms of using the creative potential of real locations and events, but also, and particularly, in working with the characters. The cast is a mix of professional and non-professional actors. Extensive improvisation workshops experiment approaches like family constellation, re- enactment, “staging” reality, intimate diary, enacting characters’ dreams and fantasies etc., in order to build the characters based on the participants’ real emotional backgrounds and to reveal deeper and deeper layers of the characters’ inner truth. Fiction functions as a framework to work with reality, while at the same time offering a safe, protective space for the people who took the risk to open themselves and share their soul with us in the process.

I do “cast” a person to embody a “character”, but the character becomes “real” while I work with the private history of the person embodying it, whose biography, personal memories etc. become thus hybrid part of the emotional flesh of the character. The human being on screen is a new, complex, full of contradictions creature, a hybrid between my own material and their own biography.

What is at the same time fascinating and deeply moving for me during this process is the unexpected way reality and fiction mirror and inform each other, how the boundaries between them become more and more blurred, how the cinematic experience can change reality and the other way around, both for the characters and for myself as a filmmaker.

All along this process, I gradually discovered how all these people deal in fact, in different forms, with the same isolation, how they are all caught in the same trap, between a deep need for intimacy and a huge fear of it. Yet, I am not interested at all in a mere “inventory of solitude”. What fascinates and deeply touches me are the unexpected ways in which people try to get out of their inner prison, to get back in touch with their own bodies and emotions. I discover again and again that at the core of the most intriguing and often outrageous human behaviour there is, most of the times, a deep unrelinquished need to love and be loved.

Whereas my emotional journey with TOUCH ME NOT characters reveals to me a lot about my own unconscious defence mechanisms and projections, preconceptions, distorted perceptions in intimacy, irrational behaviours etc. I see myself reflected in each of these human beings, in different moments/ stages of my life, like in a fragmented mirror made of both real and possible glass pieces. “Madame Bovary is me” or could definitely be me.
“I didn’t ‘play a part’, I explored feelings and situations – which I shared with the camera – and entrusted Adina with the chaotique material. She made sense of it after. I didn’t. I don’t think that I ever said or thought “Laura could or could not do this or that”, since – like in life – the limits are where you put them. And her limits where no doubt going to be a bit of mine. I dared do and share things in the diaries that I filmed, and I discovered ways of expressing myself that I would never have thought of. This personal research I think creates a certain quality of presence in the film. Despite the discomfort, I felt safe and loved this process. I could hide behind Laura and do and live things that I would never have dared so, yet alone thought of doing. This allowed me to explore and discover areas that I would never have thought of going to.”

LAURA BENSON
LAURA BENSON, is a bilingual English/French actress living in Paris since 1981. She trained at the prestigious Nanterre Amandiers theatre school directed by Patrice Chéreau and Pierre Romans. Her first film was HÔTEL DE FRANCE (1987) directed by Patrice Chéreau. She made her debut on stage interpreting the part of Anna Petrovna in Tchekhov’s Platonov, a play also directed by Patrice Chéreau (1987). She has worked on stage with a number of directors such as Pierre Romans, Luc Bondy, Irina Brook, Stuart Seide amongs others. In 2003, together with Nathalie Bensard, she co- wrote/conceived George which she produced which her own theatre company. Her performance brought her a ‘revelation’ nomination at the 2005 Molières theatre awards. She played in THE LOVER by Jacques Doillon in 1987 and the following year in DANGEROUS LIAISONS by Stephen Frears. Her other credits include Alain Resnais’ I WANT TO GO HOME (1990), RobertAltman’s READY-TO-WEAR (1994) and Pierre- François Martin-Laval’s LES PROFS 2 (2015).
“I’ve been always fascinated by the process of inner transformation. Bringing my shadows to the light. TOUCH ME NOT has been an unique opportunity to continue this work in front of the camera, a process which has been both very scary and exciting. This work process on the fluid border between reality and fiction offered a safe space and tricked my own mind to think I was “acting” some one else. When in reality my subconscious was bringing my own things to the surface to deal with. Adina is a master at creating this sacred space where you loose all directions about who you are, if you are in reality or fiction. You enter a roller-coaster of feelings and emotions and come out at the other end both transformed, with a lot of new questions and with a film. I don’t ask for more.”

TÓMAS LEMARQUIS
After growing up in Iceland and France, TÓMAS LEMARQUIS studied theater at the Cours Florent in Paris and the Reykjavík School of Fine Arts in Iceland. Meanwhile he explored various shamanistic practices and other alternative therapies, his process of personal growth harmoniously combining the spiritual research with the artistic experimentation. He is possibly best recalled for his central role in the 2003 Icelandic film NÓI ALBÍNÓI. He also appeared in films such as SNOWPIERCER, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE and BLADE RUNNER 2049.

GRIT UHLEMANN
“Born in 1976, I am a ceramic artist working in Rhineland Palatinate. I also studied Sculpture and Combined Media in Ireland. My life is about landscape, geology and experiencing different cultures. I travel a lot with my boyfriend Christian. We‘ve visited many places in Asia and Europe together. I feel it is important to see different cultures to show that disability doesn’t mean to have to stay at home and feel sorry for yourself. Disabled people in particular need to have a much more varied life. Only in that way can they form their opinions and be more involved in the community. I feel that other disabled people should also have the opportunity as well, to experience travel for example through exchange programs or other financial support. My relationship with Christian over the last three years has been a beautiful one. Our life is so varied and we have a lot to share. Having a disabled partner can be just as rewarding as any other relationship.”

“I’m not afraid of this film or myself being attacked. You know, Adina, when they accuse you of exploiting vulnerable human beings such as the disabled ones, just know that the people screaming are precisely those who have no idea about disability, about what us disabled people feel, need, desire. They have their own false concepts about disability. They look at us as vulnerable and as somebody who has to be protected. But that’s actually patronizing, they are putting us down. Like anyone else, I do have the right to enjoy my body, to explore my sexuality and show myself as a sexual being. I believe it is important to show that we, disabled people, have the same desires, dreams, responses to stimuli, like everybody.”
CHRISTIAN BAYERLEIN
“I was born in 1975 and I live in the southwestern part of Germany in the Rhine valley and I’m a wheeler with SMA. I studied computer science, now working as a web developer. I’m a nerd, loving Science and Science Fiction – especially Star Trek. I travel a lot, seeing the world is one of my big passions. I love to hang out with friends and go to the cinema as well as enjoying arts and culture. As a political activist, I fight for the rights of disabled people, e.g. for better accessibility or the right to live in the community. I have a big interest in sexuality and disability and run a blog on the topic, called “kissability”. I also give talks on the topic and participate in several cultural projects focussing on positive views on (disabled) bodies and empowerment.”
HANNA HOFMANN
HANNA came “out of the closet” as a transsexual 11 years ago, after 20 years of marriage in a life and a skin in which she never felt home. Since as far as she remembers, she always wanted to be a woman, in spite of the nature endowing her with a vigorous male body. Reaching her 50’s, HANNA finally decided to take the risk and become what she really wants to be: she left her(his) marriage and family and started a new life as a woman. Around the same time she started practicing sex work.

An intelligent and charming conversationalist, HANNA elegantly moves from her philosophical references (she studied Philosophy), to her experiences in her profession (she makes her living mainly as a real estate agent, complimented by escorting), and to the political and economical crisis in Germany and Europe. She was also an activist for the rights of sex workers and sexual minorities, being an executive member of BEDS (Berufsverband Erotische Und Sexuelle Dienstleistungen) and providing psychological consultancy to her fellow transsexual sex workers.

Contrary to the general preconceptions, her main reason to practice sex work is not only money. Escorting played a central role in her search for identity, being a liberating and inspiring playground where she could explore her sexual preferences and fantasies, her seduction power and vulnerabilities, her femininity. As well, she debates about the therapeutic qualities of her sex work, both for herself and for the client. The escorting services HANNA provides are an intriguing mix of erotic role-play and psychotherapeutic counselling, having often an empowering effect on the clients, as they feel recognized and reassured that their fantasies and desires are not “wrong” but actually a healthy way to explore themselves.

SEANI LOVE
Australian-born Seani Love is a male escort specialising in erotic journeys using the wonderful overlaps between Conscious Kink, BDSM and neo-Tantra. With training in counselling, theatre, Urban Tantra and many other hands-on and hands-off modalities, he has won numerous accolades including Sex Worker of the Year at the Sexual Freedom Awards in London in 2015. His work combines techniques from erotic ritual, extreme sensitivity to consent and boundaries and Jungian psychology to create powerful pathways to empowerment, healing and self-discovery. As an international workshop facilitator, Seani Love has supported many on their journey to places of increased power, sexual expression, body awareness and self-love.

“Times are changing. We are entering a new phase where we as a species are gaining greater understanding of the sexual impulses we have. Kinks aren’t seen as disfunctional traits any more but increasingly as healthy aspects of normal peoples’ sex lives. If we attempt to consciously explore our sexual fantasies, we are exploring a part of our subconscious minds and thus we are gaining personal insights, self-knowledge and thus wisdom about our own journeys through our world. We are bringing the subconscious processing into the conscious mind for understanding, for exploring and for gaining greater self-awareness.”

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