Reviewed by Thyronne Millaud-Available for streaming on Amazon Prime and select other online platforms as of December 26th, 2020, director/producer Sarah Portelli and Ivan Malekin’s IN CORPORE is an anthology film that delves deep into the desires and conflicts of four very different couples in very diverse corners of the world. Each one challenging the audience to question the oftentimes complex emotional landscapes of relationships.
The first of the four stories are set in Melbourne, Australia where we meet a New York-based artist Julia (Clara Francesca), who is visiting her parents and trying to find a way to tell them that she has married an older man back in New York. They surprise her by inviting Henri (Frank Fazio), an old friend of hers to lunch. Henri let’s it slip that he knows about her marriage which stuns her parents and angers Julia. Later as he apologizes to her she tells him that she’s in a polygamous marriage and acting, on old feelings that have always been there, she sleeps with him.
The second installment takes us to Malta, where Anna (Naomi Said).and Manny (Chris Dingli) are a recently married couple. There are very much in love but Manny is far more anxious to start a family than Anna is. He is constantly making comments about it and when Anna tells him she got her period he wants to see a doctor to find out what is wrong with him.
One day at the beach with a friend, Anna opens up about the pressure she’s getting from not only Manny but also all her family and friends about it being time she has a baby. She confides that she is not ready to start a family as she would like to achieve some personal goals first and is annoyed by all the pressure being put on her. In an attempt to comfort Manny’s hurt feelings she initiates an intense sexual session. Afterward, the first thing Manny says to her is that he is sure they conceived and she decides to tell him a hard and brutal truth.
The third scenario concerns a lesbian couple in Berlin, Rosalie (Sarah Timm) and Milana (Kelsey Gillis) who seem to be on the verge of breaking up because of Milana’s sex work as a cam girl and prostitute. Rosalie is obviously jealous though she tries to be tolerant and accepting. After Milana tells Rosalie she said she agreed to spend an entire week with a well-paying male client Rosalie’s expressions of dissatisfaction continue to escalate until it manifests as a desperate sexual encounter in the shower.
Finally, we end up in New York where Julia has returned home and has told her husband Patrick (Timothy McCown Reynolds) about her sleeping with Henri. Although they had talked about having an open relationship he seems very passive-aggressive and leaves her questioning the true parameters of their relationship.
IN CORPORE has the look of a low budget film with instances of lost focus and not necessarily the most flattering lighting. There are a lot of tight closeup shots in small rooms. Every segment has at least one intense sex scene that seems a little longer and a little more graphic than it needs to be to move the story along. The actors all give dedicated and emotional performances of dialog that feels improvised. This all adds up to a very voyeuristic experience.
None of the four vignettes are compelling enough to stand on their own, and except for Anna, none of the characters interest me enough to see any more than the 20 or 30 minutes they were allotted in the anthological format. When taken as a whole, IN CORPORE, coalesces as an interesting and unique exploration of the subtleties and complexities of relationships and even questions the traditional expectations placed on women by traditions of society, family, and lovers.