Sex­ual heal­ing

Di­rec­tor se­bastián le­lio once more pits de­ter­mined women against the world with lat­est movie Disobe­di­ence

Empire (UK) - - PREVIEW - Alex god­frey

Se­bastián Le­lio won an os­car in March for A Fan­tas­tic Woman, a dev­as­tat­ing bat­tle cry about a trans woman’s un­just treat­ment. a sump­tu­ously shot piece of work, it is worlds away from his new one. Disobe­di­ence, which fol­lows new Yorker Ronit (Rachel weisz) as she re­turns home to her north Lon­don or­tho­dox Jew­ish com­mu­nity, pos­sesses a sti­fling sub­ur­ban drab­ness.

Yet Le­lio’s sto­ries have much in com­mon. in Disobe­di­ence, Ronit rekin­dles a for­bid­den pas­sion with ul­tra-re­li­gious friend esti (Rachel Mca­dams), and things, as you might imag­ine, don’t go smoothly. “these two films, and Glo­ria,” says Le­lio of his 2013 drama, “take char­ac­ters on the fringes of main­stream rep­re­sen­ta­tion, and take them to the ab­so­lute cen­tre, cre­at­ing these hope­fully com­plex por­traits of women that are go­ing through the en­tire emo­tional spec­trum. they’re will­ing to pay a price to be­come who they are.”

in Disobe­di­ence, years of re­pres­sion pay off when Ronit and esti hit the bed­room — the sex scene is the cen­tre­piece. “it’s the heart of the film,” says Le­lio. “it needed the screen­time: a good five min­utes of pas­sion.” the re­sult is an al­most meta­phys­i­cal erup­tion: graphic yet not porno­graphic, the fo­cus on the faces. “we are liv­ing in a mo­ment of hu­man his­tory where we are over-ex­posed to sex,” Le­lio ex­plains. “we can see every­thing, so we don’t need to imag­ine any­more. So i forced the spec­ta­tor to com­plete what is not be­ing shown with his or her own fan­tasies. what can be stronger than that?” it is any­thing but drab. disobe­di­ence is in cin­e­mas from 30 novem­ber

em­pire met se­bastián le­lio in a drab lon­don board­room on 7 June. For­bid­den lovers Ronit (Rachel Weisz) and Esti (Rachel Mca­dams). Be­low: Esti with hus­band Dovid (Alessan­dro Nivola). Bot­tom: Ronit in a con­tem­pla­tive mood.

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