Maybe it's because he was having flashbacks to 1993's "Body of Evidence", but Willem Defoe was really enjoying Antoine D'Agata's "AKA Ana" last night at the Miami International Film Festival's Cutting the Edge Multi-Media exhibition.
Held at the New World School of the Arts' gallery space in Wynwood, the event was otherwise reminiscent of the Second Saturday art walk: free beer and vodka, vinyl by Lolo Reskin, local curators and artists like MOCA's Ruba Katrib and Federico Nessi mixed in with a bunch of Germans, except that Director Abel Ferrara was there with his much younger, red-haired girlfriend, and really good porn was being projected onto one of the free-standing white walls.
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AKA Ana, a condensed erotic diary shot with Paris Hilton-like video, shows D'Agata having sex with seven different ex-girlfriends (not all at once, mind you, though he certainly seemed up to the task) while the interior monologue of each reads at the bottom of the screen in subtitles. A typical scene: D'Agata fucks his Japanese girlfriend doggy-style while the subtitle reads, "I feel lost at sea." D'Agata says the point of the film is to contrast the sex--shot to resemble nighttime footage of copulating animals--with the humanism of the subjects' thought processes. Despite being a well-known photographer in the European art world, D'Agata has never shown his work in the U.S. and was "anxious," he said, to see how it would be received. He even told new MIFF director Tiziana Finzi that she was "probably crazy" for showing the film.
Enter Willem Defoe, who plopped himself onto the red leather couch opposite of AKA Ana and for fifteen minutes was wide-eyed, beaming, and laughing hysterically. "I think he likes it," I told D'Agata, who said, "Well, that's one."