LONDON — Strolling right into a/political, viewers are instantly confronted with a number of screens displaying intercourse scenes. These scenes are fragments from The Customer, Bruce LaBruce’s retelling of Pasolini’s Teorema (1968), the story of an enigmatic, sexually fluid stranger whose intimate encounters with every member of a bourgeois household turns their world the wrong way up. LaBruce’s scenes are accompanied by manufacturing stills, clothes printed with the political aphorisms that seem all through The Customer, and a tough lower of the movie itself.
Though LaBruce retains the essential plot of Pasolini’s movie, by the previous’s eyes, the determine of the outsider (Terrence Stamp within the authentic) is a refugee, including a definite political dimension that’s absent within the nearly otherworldly presence of Stamp’s Customer. LaBruce makes use of the political upheaval of a bourgeois household’s encounter with an outsider as a imaginative and prescient of sexual liberation, with a political explicitness to match the sexuality on show.
All through intercourse scenes, slogans and declarations — FUCK FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW; OH BONDAGE, UP YOURS — present up on display screen in vivid shades of pink and yellow. At one level, because the eponymous Customer sexually climaxes, the phrases OVERRULE BRITANNIA flash on display screen. This second presents readability on the intent behind LaBruce’s Customer undertaking (one thing that’s nonetheless evolving, because the movie itself stays unfinished). LaBruce creates a brand new definition of (sexual) liberation by bringing collectively the political awakening of OVERRULE BRITANNIA — a sly subversion of “Rule Britannia,” the 18th-century paean to oceanic mastery and empire — with a second of sexual bliss, displaying that bodily need can cleared the path to one thing extra; as soon as these characters have come along with the Customer, are they capable of redefine themselves in new, doubtlessly radical methods.
At dinner with the Customer, every member of the family reveals one thing that’s modified by their sexual expertise with him; the Daughter says, “you might have impregnated me with hope for the longer term […] now I like everybody.” The Customer is specific in its language to be able to preserve political and sexual awakening throughout the identical register — one other line on this confessional dinner is “you might have colonized the colonizer.” Because the confessions proceed, the digicam pans alongside a darkish area, at all times returning to the dinner desk; every time this occurs, one other character is undressed, till solely the Customer himself is absolutely clothed, everybody else now capable of naked themselves to the world.
Bruce LaBruce’s The Customer continues at a/political (6 Stannary Road, London, England) by October 28. The exhibition was organized by a/political.