The director behind the intimate, NSFW gay indie film talks titillation and sexuality.
On paper I Want Your Love, a film backed by porno dollars and bursting (or rather, pulsating) with genuine sex scenes, is unlikely to attract attention beyond those with a penchant for blue cinema and a ready supply of lube and tissues. But according to its director Travis Mathews, the film is far more than a series of steamy scenes threaded together by a laboured and unfulfilling narrative. “I wanted to show sex in a way that isn’t necessarily for titillation, but for story and character,” he says.
But wait, isn’t this project funded by Nakedsword.com? (Need we underline the fact this link is super, super NSFW?). Well, yes.
But the porn producers, apparently, didn’t want Mathews to massage his script into the sort of thing you might find on their website. “They were very clear from the beginning that they didn’t want me to make porn,” says Mathews. The two parties actually linked up after NS saw Mathews’ project In Their Room, an intimate documentary series that explores the private lives and sexual habits of gay men in cities across the globe. Impressed with Mathews’ bold approach to sex and nudity, the porn supremos asked him to develop the existing script for I Want Your Love into a full-length feature.
I Want Your Love revolves around Jesse, a 30-year old gay man who moved to San Francisco from Ohio in his early twenties. Over the years, Jesse has been seduced by the city’s cosseting atmosphere, and is subsequently plagued by a state of inertia and dissatisfaction. He decides to leave, ashamed of his lack of direction, but not before having one last weekend in the city. His friends and ex-lovers want to throw him a going-away party, but given his turbulent state of mind, having love showered on him is the last thing he wants. Not least because of a really tricky one night stand the previous week.
Mathews uses sex to allow the audience a voyeuristic look into Jesse’s intimate world and private angst. “The one night stand happens days before he already knows he’s leaving. It’s another instance of him trying to do what he thinks he should do and trying to be free and easy – very San Fran – but the anxiety of what he’s leaving behind and about what’s in front of him is short-circuiting him,” says Mathews.
Mathews argues that sex is a powerful tool in portraying three-dimensional characters who are as beautiful as they are flawed. His decision to weave graphic sex into I Want Your Love is not for banal eroticism – porn connections aside – but because he believes that audiences are ready to accept the reality of what it is to be gay. He seeks to deconstruct traditional representations of gay men as stereotypes and tropes by presenting a character who happens to be gay, but not for the purpose of plot. “Jesse’s struggles have nothing to do with his sexuality,” claims Matthews. “He struggles with life, sex and relationships in much the same way as anyone would, regardless of sexuality,” he adds.
I Want Your Love comes out in the UK on 28th June.
Words: Gavin Jewkes