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Intimacy

Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

She comes to him late on Wednesdays, only for sex, the cab waiting outside. They talk of nothing much and there are silences in which they can only look at one another. But neither wants to withdraw and something must be moving between them for they stand up together and lie down beside the table, without speaking.

Same time next week she is at the door. They undress immediately. She leaves, not having slept, but he has felt her dozing before she determinedly shakes herself awake. He has no idea where she lives or where she is from.

Now she doesn't come into the house but goes straight down to the basement he can't afford to furnish, where he has thrown blankets and duvets on the carpet. A room where everything but clarity, it seems, is permitted.

If sex is a way of meeting and getting to know people, what does he know about her?

Theatrical propaganda posters

Intimacy image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film erotic sex casual adultery theatre

Persons of interest

  • Mark Rylance .... Jay
  • Kerry Fox .... Claire
  • Susannah Harker .... Susan
  • Alastair Galbraith .... Victor
  • Philippe Calvario .... Ian
  • Timothy Spall .... Andy
  • Marianne Faithfull .... Betty
  • Fraser Ayres .... Dave
  • Hanif Kureishi .... Author
  • Anne-Louise Trividic .... Screenwriter
  • Patrice Chéreau .... Screenwriter
  • Patrice Chéreau .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Wow, really messed up people bonking.

If you've ever wondered whether or not you should look outside the marital bed to satisfy your sexual needs then wonder no more. Intimacy shows you what happens when you do. Assuming that you're middle class, of course. And straight, although non-heterosexuals can't get married so it's a bit academic, unless you include the gay or lesbian couples who enter into a long-term monogamous relationship, which is a silly idea in and of itself because monogamy is more likely to break up a relationship than rooting around and a lot of pink marriages do not follow the closed relationship model because it's more often than not unworkable as different people have different libidos so why should one partner suffer unwanted sex or the other partner suffer from not enough, it's nonsensical.

</rant>

Intimacy is an unhappy urban drama stocked with despairing people in search of an unattainable happiness (unattainable because it's a picket fence dream). Jay is lost after the end of a relationship, Claire is lost in the middle of a relationship, Andy is lost in his own delusions. Their unlikely and unworkable love triangle is the weight that drags them down into the mud from whence none can rise without some touch of dirt. Lying to your lover never works.

Heck, lying never works, but that's the topic for a film all by itself.

Mark and Kerry pull out all the stops, inhabiting their characters with a degree of talent and professionalism that few actors can manage. You only have to watch the High level sex scenes to see that, but the bits with clothes on are just as fraught with danger, just as intense, just as sweaty.

If you want intellectual stimulation with a bit of rumpy pumpy, Intimacy is the one for you.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Disc: Single side, dual layer
  • Languages: English
  • Picture: Widescreen 16:9 enhanced
  • Special features:
    • Cast and crew filmographies
    • Director notes

Security censorship classification

R 18+ (High level sex scenes)

Surveillance time

119 minutes (1:59 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 24 January 2002 - Melbourne
Film: 31 January 2002 - Sydney
Film: 7 January 2002 - Perth
Film: 28 March 2002 - Adelaide, Brisbane
DVD rental: 5 June 2002
VHS rental: 5 June 2002
DVD retail: 16 July 2003

Cinema surveillance images

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Director's note
The only question one can never answer is: why does one do this thing or that thing? This film or another one? Why does one choose one novel in particular? Sometimes the novel itself chooses you.

Hanif Kureishi entered my life - like many others - with Stephen Frears' marvellous film My beautiful laundrette. It was a long time ago. Then, I had a kind of "appointment" every time one of his books was released. I loved The Buddha of suburbia and Black album and, not so long ago, two-and-a-half or three years ago, I read Love in a blue time, a collection of short stories.

One day, a very early morning in April 1998, I found Intimacy in my bookshop. The lady told me it had just been released this very morning. I bought it. I had to go and take pictures very far in the Paris suburbs.

I was glad it was far, because it left me time to read at every traffic light. When I went back home, I had finished it. I decided I wanted to meet Hanif Kureishi.

the first impression I had of Intimacy was that all I had felt in all the books from hanif was there more concise and more powerful. it was very much more honest and cruel against himself but also brutally lucid and cheerful about a very sad story.

I understood how close I felt to his writing, to his sense of derision, of humour, close to the people he depicts, who are my generation. On this day, I decided I wanted to work with this author who knew how to talk to me about myself, about my generation and our hopes in the 70s and 80s. This author who was trying to tell me about couples nowadays and what two people can or cannot do together.

I finally met Hanif in London. But I had changed of aim since just after Intimacy I had read Love in a blue time with Anne-Louise Trividic (who wrote the script with me) where we discovered a very beautiful short story Nightlight: five or six perfectly written pages, very short and concise. It was the story of a man completely lost, a man who, like in Intimacy, had left his wife and children. He now lives very poorly in a basement apartment in London and has a secret and silent relationship with a woman who comes to his place every Wednesday at set time. They make love and don't talk to each other. This is where the story begins. Many questions suddenly came to us: Who are they? What do they want and how are they going to manage to go on? At what stage does love take part in their "loving game"? What does it mean to make love with somebody? To build up a couple? And for how long? Anne-Louise and I wanted to try to answer, that's why we wrote the script and why we made this film. A short story is often closer to a film than a novel. I tried, I honestly do not know why - now it is done, the film is made - I tried to mix up these two stories, the short story and the novel. Nightlight was the key I needed to open the door of Intimacy, the novel. Today it is your turn to see if you feel close to these two characters, Claire and Jay, and if they can teach us something about us, about who we are today.

Patrice Chéreau

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