How to Have Sex, by Molly Manning Walker, shown in British schools

“I want to open a space where we could talk, freely, about a more fulfilling sexuality,” explains the director.

How to Have Sexthe director-operator's first film Molly Manning Walker, has continued to make noise since its presentation at Cannes in May 2023, where this film dealing with the awakening to sexuality of a teenager and her two friends on vacation in Crete walked away with Prize One Certain Regard. Since then, its director has toured festivals to present it to the public, taking particular care to show it to young spectators, in order to then debate with high school students of the same age as its protagonists.

“If the first part takes conventional paths (the parties, the alcohol, the neon lights of the clubs, the desire that rises and the half-naked bodies that sniff each other), How to Have Sex takes on a whole new dimension when the film finally addresses its real subject and is interested in a subtly lucid way in consent and gray areas, wrote First upon its release, emphasizing the strength of this first film to manage to explore its subject from all angles, while being played by a stunning actress. Darkness sets in and the camera only has eyes for Mia McKenna-Bruce, a gifted 26-year-old, almost unknown in the battalion. Her ability to go from deep sadness to absolute joy in a second gives her the air of Florence Pugh in Midsommar (the two actresses, who however do not have the same features at all, are strangely similar in certain respects). The actress' baby face becomes the scene of dizzying questions about freedom (does her virginity really belong to her?) and social pressure around sex.”

This week, How to Have Sex arrived in France on DVD, blu-ray and VOD, under the banner of Condor Films, and this release coincides with the establishment of broadcasts of the film in secondary schools across the Channel. Its English distributor, Film4, has in fact signed a partnership with Mubi and the School Consent Project so that this work focusing on the question of consent is shown primarily to a young audience, in order to then organize debates on this subject. .

Molly Manning Walker: “With How to Have Sex, I explore confusion, hesitation…”

An idea defended by Molly Manning Walker, who explains in an interview with the AFCAE (the French Association of Arts and Essai Cinemas) that she designed her film to spark freer discussions about sexuality.

At the question : “What reaction do you hope for from the public and, particularly, from young people?”the director responds:

“My colleagues and I organized focus groups across the UK, divided into two groups – girls and boys – to read extracts from the script and get their reactions. Some read the scene of the attack and told us “but it’s not an attack! » and at one point a girl even said “Girls need to take responsibility and not get drunk like that”. On the other hand, several young people, both girls and boys, began to talk about their attacks, sometimes for the first time because they saw that they were in a safe place to do so and realized that they were not alone in their case.

Ultimately, we were even more convinced that it was essential to make this film: we had to address the complexity of social pressure regarding sexuality and show that we are a product of this environment in order to outline new avenues future so that the younger generation feels less alone. After the few screenings that have taken place so far, I realize that the young girls are very moved and thank me for having dealt with this complex and important subject in their eyes. It still remains complicated for the boys, they often don't stay when there is an exchange with the public following the film. I hope this will change.

Even the reactions of many male journalists in Cannes surprised me: they mentioned alcohol to excuse the attacks or the fact that Tara did not say no, the responsibility in their eyes seemed shared… We did not represent the attacks of 'a violent or excessive, but realistic way.

I hope, with this film, to open a space where we could speak freely about a more fulfilling sexuality and to spark a debate, particularly with young people, on the means to achieve this.”

As a bonus on the French DVD, a presentation of the film by Molly Manning Walker is offered, discussing in detail the question of consent. We can also see his first short film: Good Thanks, You? (2019) and open the reflection with an interview with Iris Brey, journalist and director (Sex and the Series, The Female Gaze, a revolution on screen…). Supplements that allow you to delve deeper into the complex questions brilliantly developed in How to Have Sexan important film about adolescence and for adolescents.

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