Review of Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn: a riotous, kaleidoscopic assault on social norms

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Review of Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn: a riotous, kaleidoscopic assault on social norms

Radu Jude’s Golden Bear-winning film begins as an amateur sex tape and quickly transforms into a bizarre exposé of Romanian culture and history.

You’re not going to be able to take your eyes off it.

It’s a huge task to sum up Radu Jude’s bizarre independent film Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn’s style and structure in a few words.

To say the least, Romania’s Golden Bear winner at this year’s Berlin Film Festival is ambitious.

It tosses its political, sexual, and capitalist ideas at the wall in a chaotic Dadaist fashion, then points to it with the grin of a child prodigy who has pulled off a practical joke.

Jude incorporates snippets of social media footage, hardcore pornography, mini-history lessons, and philosophical tracts into his own narrative.

This isn’t your average bowl of popcorn.

The film is ostensibly about Emi (Katia Pascariu), a history teacher at a prestigious school, whose amateur sex tape with her husband is accidentally leaked on the internet.

When her students’ parents find out, they demand a meeting to discuss whether she should be fired.

But there’s no straightforward jab at sexual hypocrisy here; instead, it’s wrapped in a frankly wild examination of Romanian culture as a whole.

The first act moves at a leisurely pace as it follows Emi on errands around the city.

Jude’s camera drifts aimlessly past her casual street encounters, and the people around her appear to be bristling with a growing hostility.

Jude departs from Emi and her stressful day in the film’s second section to present an A-Z “dictionary of anecdotes, signs, and wonders,” as he calls it, that zigzags between anti-Roma racism, subtle and overt misogyny, Romania’s past oppressive political systems (fascism and communism), and the insidious leak of consumerism.

Finally, the third act delves into the drama of Emi’s socially isolated school meeting, in which she is chastised by a cast of hypocritical stock characters.

Pornography’s transgressive role is portrayed as morally neutral; in the end, tweens discovering a sex tape is a minor social concern in an otherwise sick world.

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn combines a walking tour through an unappealing Bucharest cityscape with a potted history lesson and more.

Its multicolored assault on conservative social norms must be seen to be believed.

Now playing in theaters

Review of Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn: a riotous, kaleidoscopic assault on social norms

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Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, review: a wild, kaleidoscopic attack on social mores

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, review: a wild, kaleidoscopic attack on social mores

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