Eros (15)

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The Independent Culture

When Michelangelo Antonioni let it be known that he wanted to make a "really erotic" work, a producer friend of his hit on the idea of Eros: a portmanteau of three short films, each with a sexual theme. Don't get

too excited, though. Wong Kar Wai is the only writer-director who seems to have taken the brief seriously. There's an intense yet delicate air of longing about his tragic fable of a tailor who is devoted to the

prostitute (Gong Li) he dresses, but never undresses. Steven Soderbergh, overlooking the knack for graceful sex scenes he demonstrated in Out Of Sight and Solaris, turns in a wacky sketch in which an advertising executive, Robert Downey Jr, describes a dream to an analyst, Alan Arkin, who has other things on his mind. With a sad inevitability, Antonioni's segment, the project's raison d'etre, is the worst of the three. Coming across as a cruel parody of the 93-year-old's earlier films, it's a risible fantasy in which two raven-haired beauties pause only to make cryptic statements before they strip off on a beach. If Antonioni was so desperate to see some naked young women, couldn't he have just gone to a pole-dancing club?

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