Outlines Episode 1 – ShowTime – Melena A (SexArt / 2015)

Rules, conventions, and our collective expectations help give society structure and provide artists with both context and content. We go to a comedy expecting to laugh, to a thriller expecting to be scared, and to a mystery movie expecting to be surprised. Genre films can be satisfying, but strict formats can hinder as well as help an artist. Alis Locanta understands the rules, conventions, and our expectations of erotic cinema — and he delights in breaking, subverting, and defying them. In this first episode of his 4K series “Outlines” he returns to the single girl masturbation feature — a genre in which he’s a respected master — and takes it in a new and unexpected direction. The film is short, but it is dense, layered, complex. The action is simple, but the visual language is rich, intricate, engrossing. The director has subtitled this film “ShowTime,” and bills it as “a Locanta vision,” and that thumbnail is instructive: Think of this not so much as a linear narrative, but as a visual tone poem. Melena A stars. She caresses an old TV set, then turns it on, gazing at the snowy image from mere inches away. We see what she’s seeing: herself as she begins to take off her short pants, the image grainy, the colors saturated. Melena A, now bathed in the light from and transfixed by the image on the off-camera screen, lost in the moment, eases her panties down her long legs. She begins to masturbate, her moist slit glistening luridly in the cathode glow. Perspectives shift. The distorted gains in clarity, the line between the watcher and the watched blurs. The intensity builds, gliding, grinding, ratcheting upward. And then, release — powerful, surprising, exquisite. Welcome to “Outlines Episode 1 – ShowTime.” Leave your expectations at the door and enjoy it.