The Principles of Lust

Director: Penny Woolcock
Screenwriters: Tim Cooke, Penny Woolcock

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


Due to the mature content of this film, no one under 18 will be admitted.

The road paved with excess may lead to enlightenment, but it is also scattered with the decay of human emotions. the Principles of Lust plunges headfirst into this examination with a bravery and freshness that stem from Penny Woolcock's confident direction.

Paul (Alec Newman) has writer's block and is becoming increasingly listless. That changes momentarily when he meets Billy (Marc Warren), a charismatic risk seeker, and Juliette (Sienna Guillory), a single mother with whom he falls in love. The two new acquaintances rejuvenate Paul with diametrically opposed forms of temptation. But as his relationship with each develops, he must choose one or the other.

Handheld camerawork at its best lets the extraordinary actors unfurl their immense talents without restrictions and provides enough spontaneity to induce a rawness that mirrors the characters and the world they inhabit. Despite the sometimes-graphic images of sex, drugs, and violence, at its core The Principles of Lust is a passionate film about the unpredictable terrain of love. It's about someone waking up to life and saying yes to new experiences in order to learn what truly matters. Woolcock handles a distinctly masculine tale with impressive assuredness, making her an exciting new voice in British cinema.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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