John Cameron Mitchell, the same genius mind behind 2001’s cult
rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, returned in 2006 with his second
directorial outing Shortbus – an erotic comedy-drama about a group of New
Yorkers who attend an underground salon for the sexually challenged.
Hailed by film critic Lou Lumenick as "a rare example of a non-porn film that doesn’t exploit graphic sex as a gimmick", the film nevertheless caused a few ructions when the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation threatened to fire Shortbus star Sook-Yin Lee from her regular gig for her participation in several graphic scenes. Thankfully, she kept her job after several celebrities including Yoko Ono, David Cronenberg and Michael Stipe kicked up a fuss.
There’s a little shout-out to its predecessor In the Realm of the Senses in the form of a vibrating egg branded with the film’s title but one of Shortbus’ most impressive scenes is one involving autofellatio which contrary to popular myth apparently doesn’t require the removal of several ribs. Good to know.