A man. A woman. In bed. A cat watches. The image suddenly becomes obscured; seemingly random shapes and objects flit crazily across the screen, like some sort of visual feedback. Just as suddenly the players return in sharp relief--my God, they're making out! And doesn't THAT look like the guy's...?The image again drops away; again, the random collage, the jittery editing; what is happening? Through a window you can see the trees moving slightly in the wind. And through it all the continuous roar of the ocean, the crashing of the waves against the nearby shore, mixed with what sounds like a light drizzly rain.
On a strictly technical level this is all very impressive. Unfortunately, Carolee Schneemann's massively arty 22-minute film (she both directs and plays The Woman) never really becomes the Henry Miller-ish paean to Sex that, if I am reading all this correctly (and this is a very big "if"), it was intended to be. Admittedly a film this intensely subjective is tough to criticize; there's always the worry that one is simply not Getting It. But it seems to me that the film's blatantly and relentlessly "erotic" symbolism--the wind, the rain, the crashing waves, and so on--never rises above cheap Freudianism, never becomes more than the unimaginative linking of sexuality with the forces of nature. You feel like you're getting pop-song sentiment in a high-art package.
Did I mention the cat? Every so often the camera cuts to a black cat that lurks about the premises as Man and Woman enjoy their lengthy toss in the hay. The damned cat is even listed in the credits. Now, there are any number of jokes you could plug in here, but I will say only that the presence of the cat is rather jarring: I can't tell if it's some misguided stab at comic relief or if I'm actually supposed to interpret it as somehow belonging to all the wind/water/rain/forest symbolism.But I guess that's Art, ain't it?