In “Touch Me Not,” the first feature from experimental filmmaker Adina Pintilie, and the surprise winner of the Golden Bear at last year’s Berlinale, a middle-aged woman (Laura Benson) attempts to break through emotional barriers to experience sexual pleasure and/or intimacy. Along the way, the film addresses things like ageism, transphobia, and the erasure of the disabled (especially when it comes to sexuality). Sex is a universal topic of interest, and has been so probably since before humans even developed language. Despite this, portrayals of single-minded sexual focus have a tendency to get super abstract, or over-intellectualized, or exploitative. “Touch Me Not” is definitely abstract and intellectualized, although I didn’t find it exploitative. But so much of the film left me cold, even bored.
There’s a lot of explicit sex and a lot of frank sex talk in the film. (I can’t tell you what you will feel about “Touch Me Not.” Tolerance for sexuality onscreen depends on the individual. What I find tiresome may be what you find fascinating, and vice versa.) Pintilie uses a blend of documentary and narrative fiction, meant to pierce through preconceived notions about what sex is, who “gets”