Sex & animation combine in Romantic Chorus

B Animated documentary
Directed by Jeff M. Giordano

This strange, unusual documentary studies human sexuality. But don’t get too excited. It isn’t exceptionally erotic, and I don’t think it was intended to be so. For 84 minutes, people talk about their sex lives, their desires, and their experiences. But since this is a movie and not a podcast, there must be visuals. And it’s mostly those animated visuals that makes Romantic Chorus worth watching.

Director Giordano breaks the documentary into four categories: Monogamy, Sex, Fear, and Technology. But, when you come down to it, they’re all really about sex.

Giordano and his team interviewed a lot of people; and from what I could tell, all were from the Bay Area. While we listen to them talk, we don’t see any of the interview subjects directly, although some may be animated versions of the real people. They talk about monogamy vs. open relationships. They talk about sexual taboos and coming out. They talk about why straight men are so repressed. They talk about technology, and how that has changed the way people hook up with strangers.

By the end of the film, at least one of the interview subjects – one who is animated in a very realistic style – feels like a good friend. Others, on the other hand, seem like shallow jerks (male and female) who think of nothing but getting out of what they want from another person.

Unfortunately, you can’t always easily understand what they’re saying. Several of the interviews sound as if they came from an awful telephone connection. While they make up far less than the majority, the film plays enough of these to make them annoying.

But it’s the animation that really makes this movie worth watching. This very low-budget movie pulls out all sorts of animation. There’s conventional drawing, clay puppets, rotoscoping (paint over film), cut-outs, and digital. (I’m guessing here; for all I know, they may all have been done digitally.)

Sometimes, the images are clever and funny. Other times, stunningly beautiful. A moment of two people dancing was especially moving. You could turn off the sound, and put on some other music, and just watch the images. One type of image the film blessedly avoids: out-and-out pornography.

A truly independent film, Romantic Chorus doesn’t yet have a distributor. But it will be available on Vimeo Friday, January 29 through Sunday, January 30. Hopefully, it will get more distribution.