Eddy Terstall :: The Netherlands :: 2007 :: 1h36

Set up as a relay of consecutive not-too-serious stories about sex. It is the second part (after Simon) of a trilogy looking at life in contemporary Dutch society. The fundamental questions treated: Can you actually listen to what a beautiful girl is saying? Do you not have the right to be a little discriminated if you are a Lesbian couple? If you fall in love with someone who is married, does your love or their commitment take the upper hand? As I am sure you understand, comedy is the way here, and it should be judged on its humour and power to hold our attention. Sextet has some of both, with some creative merit in surprising places.

Sextet is advertised as a cheap sex movie (see the website), which is grossly inaccurate. The movie is simple, funny and gives you some insight into life in the Netherlands, wrapped up in a package with a lot of pretty girls. It is only the latter, with some gentle nudity thrown in, which is supposed to justify the marketing approach. Although, that could also have been to counter some criticism the director apparently had been getting… “What do you mean, too many breasts in my movies? I would rather have a pair of breasts against my head than a gun.” (VPRO Gids, 2004) Having read that, you may now be surprised to find that there is actually relatively little nudity in it.
But it is not a movie about nudity, but one about sex. We see a whole range of different relationships with the questions which pre-occupy the characters. It is clearly unpretentious amusement, which thankfully never falls into an emotional rant. Some of the stories are too simple (man falls in love with married girl) and some are too outrageous (woman finds lover in bed with another and easily lets it go) but as a whole it is a pleasant ride. Dutch society is lightly analyzed, opening with: “the only people who still marry are gays” and as Holland is slowly but surely becoming atheist: “religion is often accompanied by sexual obsession, so where does that leave us?” And on that note, we are taken from story to story.

Humorous quotes aside, there are plenty of changes of visual style to keep you interested (black and white to colour to animation) and even the story relay itself is presented as a movie in the movie by a frustrated teacher at a Belgian film academy. This trick, together with the negative comments from the film academy teacher about the movie, lighten your critical stand to the movie. Although it is not a masterpiece and the visual switches are seemingly random, you can take the whole mess casually. And to help reduce your criticism, it should probably best be watched late at night.


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