Saturday, 5 March 2011



There's a bit of a mystery with this "feminist sci-fi comedy", as it's described in the Q+A included in the DVD extras, and it's actually got nothing to do with the film itself - merely that it doesn't actually seem to have been released in this country. Play and Amazon don't appear to stock a UK DVD, and more intriguingly it doesn't appear to have been through the BBFC. Which is a little baffling. Not that it's any kind of offensive - if it was classified it would almost certainly be a 15 for "moderate sex references" or something - but that is what the BBFC is actually for, isn't it?

The title Teknolust and its artwork (import) actually makes it look like some kind of artificial-intelligence-gone-wrong SF thriller rather than the strange mix of deadpan comedy, indie romance and science-based SF it actually boils down to. Tilda Swinton is a bespectacled genetic scientist who has illegally created three colour-coordinated clones (Olive, Ruby and Marinne, all also played by Swinton in different robes and wigs) in her basement. Ruby, the most advanced of the three, goes out every night to pick up strange men for sex, because semen helps their immune systems. Unfortunately, the men all become mysteriously branded with numbers, they suffer from impotence, and their computers crash. While the police hunt for the mysterious woman in red, Olive and Marinne decide they want to explore the world outside as well - and Ruby has found a man she wants for something deeper than sex....

And it's actually quite nice and quite charming, with the SF aspect largely confined to ideas rather than futuristic gizmos and special effects. The bulk of the film's success falls to Tilda Swinton having to play four completely different characters, three of whom are interacting at the same time (and even have a dance number). It's amusing rather than laugh-out-loud funny, and there are aspects that don't really gel (Karen Black turns up as some kind of investigator named Dirty Dick). But I don't think it was ever intended as a mainstream project: it's very much an arthouse piece rather than a multiplex attraction. Interesting and intriguing, and nicely done. (Made around 2003.)


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