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Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn Review | NYFF 2021

The Golden Bear-winning pandemic satire, Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, is a film that shares many thoughts and every single one is put onto the screen all squished together. There are funny moments, and there are hysterical moments, albeit, for most of its runtime, it feels like a raunchy overlong SNL sketch, for better or worse. 

A teacher (Katia Pascariu) at a prestigious Bucharest school gets her sex tape accidentally leaked on the internet by her husband; her life and career are going to change forever. She must now face an angry mob of parents in a trial that will decide her fate. Either the teacher will remain to teach or be sacked due to the video. 

The film is divided into three parts, each resembling a different type of satire depicting the many subjects it wants to tackle: society during the pandemic, sexual relationships with your partner, pornography, politics, religion, etc. Many entanglements are loose, like sketches; they are awkwardly constructed, zany, and, in a sense, realistic. The first part focuses more on how society is filled with anger and frustration caused by the pandemic; human unhappiness is crawling through every single street of Romania. It is slow and a bit repetitive. Nothing actually happens in the foreground; everything unfolds in the background. 

The second consists of different video clips with repartee and sarcastic bearings, thanks to the commentary placed upon each snippet. You are still unengaged; it runs like that for quite a while. There are more than 15-minutes commenting on excerpts with no trace to where it’s going. By delivering ironic dictionary definitions of multiple terms, here we start getting some comedic moments. From robots to blowjobs & tyranny to pleasure, Radu Jude keeps on going and going trying to make a ruse out of the film. Is it all seriousness, or is it just a joke? Of course, it’s a joke! 

We know it’s a joke when the third part arrives, which is the meat of Jude’s comedic derision. This is where the whole action takes place: the trial. Teacher versus parents; their politics versus the liberty to do whatever you want. All the hilarious jests, comments, and puns are in here. For most of this part’s runtime, you are going along with it. As people keep coming and more topics are put upon this witty stew, you are laughing with it more than at it, unlike its two previous arcs. This act touches on hypocrisy and the power of prerogative as well, both of which are dealt with. Yet, the film doesn’t want to end in your regular happy ending. 


Instead, it gives you a couple of possible scenarios in which things might go. By the end, you feel a bit disgusted that you have laughed at most of its jokes, but you are well-fed in terms of mordant tittering. The problem is that it takes too long to get to the good stuff; to get to the trial everyone wants to see. You spend almost 40-minutes waiting for that moment, and when it comes, it delivers, but by then, you are far too tired. Radu Jude wants to shock you with this thought-provoking porn lampoon that is Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, but, unfortunately, it feels too much like a creaky and insipid modern-day Saturday Night Live farce on the topic.

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By Hector Gonzalez

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