Love & Sex at Sundance: 'Thirstygirl' x 'Voice Ever'
Kiss me thru the phone like Soulja Boy said
This review is part of my 2024 Sundance Film Festival Coverage!
We all saw Black Snake Moan right? The 2006 movie where Christina Ricci plays a sex addict, Justin Timberlake is her worried hubby-to-be, and Samuel L. Jackson is the religious saint who saves them all by locking her up in his cabin while she is wildly horny and writhing on the floor?
That movie has nothing on Thirstygirl, a 10-minute short where Charlie (Samantha Ahn) goes on a road trip with her little sister Nic (Claire Dunn), but Charlie is keeping a secret.
She’s a sex addict. She has a slew of people for sex when she has a craving, watches porn in disgusting bathrooms, and even attempts to masturbate in the most unethical situations.
The story has roots in reality as writer/director Alexandra Qin is a recovering sex addict. This authenticity gives the storyline a vibe of intimacy and vulnerability, we get to see the complications of addiction through a woman’s lens. I thought it was a hella interesting short because while women are often seen as objects of desire or something to chase, we rarely get to see the darker sides of our sexuality OUTSIDE of things like sexual assault or rape. This story, although just a short, starts to go beyond and gives an actual look at something like sexual addiction. It shows the kind of turmoil it puts Charlie through and how it is affecting her relationships.
The film tries to get you to think about the stereotypical concepts of gender and addiction, and not in a campy way like Black Snake Moan…which was ultimately a story about a man and his issues while the female protagonist was used to further his plot.
We keep exploring sex and relationships in Voice Ever, a French short written and directed by Pauline Archange and Céline Perréard.
It’s about a dating app where people choose each other based on only their voices. It wants you to think about the intricacies of intimacy and attraction in a moment where dating apps are the norm and meet-cutes barely exist.
I was immediately drawn to this because I feel you can learn so much about someone just through their voice—my love story involves phone calls late into the night. People connect more and more on apps through voice notes instead of messaging, and phone calls are less “Why are you calling?” and more “Why aren’t you calling?”
Voice Ever, through 4 different stories, tries to ask if we’re looking for true connection beyond the physical or if even in a dating world with no photos, are we somehow still focused on what’s on the surface. It also explores loneliness and if we’re looking for connection just for the sake of connection.
In their own ways, Voice Ever and Thirstygirl get into the deep bits of human connections and try to untangle the intricacies of love, desire, and sexuality. They show the constant journey folks are on for genuine fulfillment in sex, love, and relationships.
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