The liquids, secretions, perversions, discomforts, orifices, odours and tastes of our bodies abound in the 2008 literary debut of German musician, TV presenter and writer Charlotte Roche, an immediate success which sold millions of copies. Some heralded it as a brilliant feminist manifesto for a new sexual liberation, while others dismissed it as pornographic trash. David Wnendt’s adaptation slips into Roche’s mostly autobiographical narrative and fantasies as nimble as the main character Helen on her skateboard, the bothersome haemorrhoids cited from the explosive start of the novel notwithstanding.
Feuchtgebiete dedicates itself immediately to the most delicate task, to present on the screen an erotic-physiological imagination that provokes a joyous disgust, but by resorting to irony rather than vulgarity. As we gradually become familiar with Helen and her extraordinary stories, to the point of being won over by her personal battle against personal hygiene, we realize however that the film has another objective, more ambitious than just goading our conformity: it also wants to bring us closer to its irresistible heroine, too vivacious to seem in pain, but who, typically, is missing some love, starting with that of her parents. And if Wnendt successfully manages to do this, credit must also go to the actress he chose for an only seemingly easy role: with her smiles and grimaces and with every part of her body generously offered to the film, the Ticino native Carla Juri makes Helen the proctology patient whose nurse we would all, men and women, like to be at least once.Lorenzo Buccella