Apart from the very explicit beginning which is surprising for a second until you realise it is there for context, Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn doesn’t set out to shock the audience. This is writer and director Radu Jude’s interpretation of how society on the whole behaves and thinks. Although set in Romania, it feels as if this could have been anywhere.

Secondary school teacher Emi and her husband film a sex tape in which they engage in sexual activities. Somehow the film ends up on porn sites which are then found by Emi’s students and the parents who are outraged by this behaviour. A meeting is called so that a decision about Emi’s future working at the school can be discussed with the head teacher and the parents of her students present.

Sovereign Film

The structure to this unconventional comedy drama is both disjointed and in places, brilliantly observed. Split into the three sections, we first see Emi the day before her hearing just going about her business, either involved with hideous encounters or observing them, showing the worst of humanity or at least a section of them. We are then suddenly pulled out of the story to watch a visual alphabet of director Radu Jude’s thoughts and ideas. Some of these moments are amusing but on the whole rather distracts from the story and character we had been following. It isn’t quite clear why Jude has decided to do this. For the third part, we are brought back to Emi and a very frustrating hearing where she is verbally abused and judged for something in her private life. Though these parents are mostly disgusted by Emi and her husband’s actions, the fact that these parents have let their children watch porn sites is not focused on enough. Instead of being an intriguing third act, there is only frustration to be had. But this could be what Jude had intended all along, especially after a title card asks if this was all a joke after all.

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Although the spotlight is on Emi, possibly due to her position and role as a teacher but also the fact that she’s a woman, you can’t help but wonder how this fall out is affecting Eugen. We don’t see his face, we don’t even hear his voice in phone calls with Emi later on. He is just the guy in the video and little emphasis is on him, even in the discussion with the parents. Some doubt that it even is him and that Emi is with a ‘lover’. There is so much focus on Emi that the other person in the porn video is nearly forgotten, which is odd. But this again, might be something that Jude has left out.

Being heralded and received in positive light from most, there is an intriguing series of comment on society and not just in Romania made in this film, but the structure is rather off putting and ruins any flow the story could have had. But if you are curious about the film, by all means seek it out for yourself to make your own judgement.

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn is released 26 November 2021

By KatieHogan

Katie has been writing about film for 10 years and joined the FH team back in 2016. Having been brought up on the classics from Empire Strikes Back to Marx Brothers’ A Night at the Opera, Katie has been obsessed with film since she was young and turned to writing about film after she immersed herself in her 6,000 word essay about the Coen Brothers.

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