The Loss of Sexual Innocence

Director: Mike Figgis
Screenwriters: Mike Figgis

Institute History

  • 1999 Sundance Film Festival


In his most personal and probably most visionary film, Mike Figgis has created an extraordinarily beautiful and multilayered work. Reaching
into the ethereal atmosphere of ideas while enrapturing us with an array of stunning aesthetics, The Loss of Sexual Innocence is the kind of complex, yet powerfully emotive, filmmaking that restores the viewer’s passion
for film as an expressive art form.
With a segmented structure overarched by parable, the narrative follows Nic at various stages in his life—as a boy in colonial Kenya, an adolescent in sixties London, and a grown man working as a film ethnographer—and at each point chronicles formative incidents and sexual awakenings that influence his maturation.
Intercut with the biblical tale of Adam and Eve, The Loss of Sexual Innocence is a film which ceaselessly provokes and stimulates as it flows through the senses. And yet the level of sophistication is such that it doesn’t ever become didactic or coercive. Instead, it expands and heightens our receptivity to what art promises in a way that transcends the usual clichés.
With études from Chopin resounding in our ears, letter-perfect performances, especially by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Julian Sands, and
cinemagical imagery, the filmic discourse is never dry or academic. Nevertheless, it is a work which doesn’t fear the monumental
implications of its subject. The Loss of Sexual Innocence is self-conscious, actually self-reflexive, and a resonant reflection on the state of humanity, the media, and modern mores.

Mike Figgis, Director
Mike Figgis is best known for Leaving Las Vegas , which won Nicolas Cage and Academy Award and earned three other nominations, including best director. Figgis was born in Carlisle, England, and spent part of his childhood in Kenya. He is also an accomplished musician and has created the score for several of his films, which include The House , Stormy Monday , Liebestraum , Mr. Jones , The Browing Version , and One Night Stand . He has also written for HBO and directed several television documentaries.

— Geoffry Gillmore

Screening Details

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