Starting with its lascivious-sounding title, Below the Mouth looks like a very hot movie. Of the ten promotional photographs sent by the publicist, seven were of beautiful young women making out. It's the story of a woman who is a roofer. She falls for another woman, a fashion editor (judging from the trailer it appears she is in a relationship with a man, but with all the quick cuts it's hard to tell), and they embark on a passionate weekend affair. The film, which played at TIFF last year, opens just in time for Valentine's Day.
But Below the Mouth doesn't seem to be mere lesbian erotica. To begin with, the entire production - from the director to the writer to the producer to every single crew member - is female. Maybe this is a first, I'm not sure, but the production company enjoys touting the fact, so it must be significant. It's lesbian soft core without the slightest taint of male - not even gay male - influence. It's as pure as Ivory Snow.
There has been much talk about hiring quotas for women on production crews lately, mostly in regard to male-dominated jobs like cinematography, sound, and lighting. But the industry, at least in Canada, has never completely shut women out. I've worked with women as producers, directors, writers, editors, first ADs, cinematographers, and locations managers, as well as traditional woman's work like wardrobe, hair and make-up. It's nice to see more women on film crews, but it would be just as nice to see more gay men, as well. I wonder if any film can lay claim to having an all-gay male crew? Probably not even gay porn.
In the digital age, it certainly makes sense to have an all-female crew, even though it still seems as much a novelty as an all-girl rock band. Though perhaps it also raises more scrutiny. One can't help but wonder, is an all-female crew as good or even better than an all-male crew? Hopefully, viewers will be too aroused to even care. lf I may go out on a limb here, I think Below the Mouth might be the next in that long line of lesbian movies, from Desert Hearts to Bound to High Art to Blue Is the Warmest Color, that makes dykes wet.