I haven't read the original book and there doesn't yet seem to be an English translation. Although I imagine that will be rectified pretty soon given the attention that it's getting. There is probably a hard-working translator turning dialogue like "Nie jestem workiem ziemniaków" into "I am not a bag of potatoes" as we speak.
|The heroine is not one of these. She made that quite clear.|
That said, I am happy that this film is there, onscreen, and causing a bit of bother. Fifty Shades of Grey was released in 2015 and the third and final part instalment Fifty Shades Freed was released in 2018. We have not exactly been deluged with smutty erotic cinema offerings since then, have we? The film industry releases about three hundred Marvel superhero films every year. You'd think there would some demand for Fifty Shades-esque kinky romance.
The biggest controversy with this film is the issue of its Dubious Consent (or DubCon as it is referred to in smutty book-writing circles). And the consent portrayed in this film is about as dubious as you can get, given that the 'hero', Mafia boss, Massimo forcibly drugs and kidnaps Laura and holds her against her will telling that she has 365 days to fall in love with him.
I think we are all in agreement that abduction and imprisonment are Not OK in the real world. I believe there are actually laws against it.
There is, however, a long tradition of such things being portrayed as romantic storylines. Rudolph Valentino was always at it. Kurt Russell kidnapped Goldie Hawn in Overboard and as I recall she had a delightful time of it. Even Disney have turned their hand to Stockholm Syndrome romance. Twice.
|My first fantasy Dom|
I think what he actually means is "I won't stick my penis inside you without your consent" and to be fair to him, he doesn't actually do that until he has Laura's enthusiastic say-so. So I suppose he is almost a gentleman in that regard. He probably should have been a clearer about his intentions though.
|Rudolph Valentino is literally 365 times sexier than Massimo.|
The important thing to bear in mind here is that 365 Dni is a work of fiction written by a woman and written for women. The intended audience is not men who fantasise about kidnapping women. This will be watched for the most part by women imagining themselves in Laura's predicament. Mainstream Porn - and Hollywood in general - is still primarily focused on the needs of men and the male gaze. Women are objectified throughout the entertainment industry. For all the nudity on display, Laura is not an object. She is the subject, the protagonist and the Audience Surrogate.
I am a feminist and a sexual submissive and sometimes that it is a troublesome line to straddle. But while I am absolutely adamant about Informed Consent in real life, in fiction (and in my own personal daydreams), I am happy for those lines to be blurred.
|Lines being blurred|
It means we're a bit kinky, obviously. But, hey, if you're following this blog, then you probably already knew that about yourself.
(While we're on the subject of kink, it's worth mentioning that, aside from a very odd bondage scene, there is next to no BDSM in 365 Dni. Probably for the best given the outrage that has already kicked off about this film. Can you imagine the furore if a fictional character was not only kidnapped but then beaten while she was in captivity. I'm all for more spankings in mainstream movies but lets not run before we can walk.)
The film is oddly named because it doesn't take Massimo anything like the 365 days to meet his target. Laura - Spoiler! - declares her love for him around week 8, I think. Despite the unpromising committing-a-serious-felony sort of start of their relationship, she is won over by the tattooed mumbly mafia guy who has asked her to teach him how to be gentle. I presume there will be more to follow given that the film ends of a cliffhanger that makes Fifty Shades of Grey's breakup scene look half-hearted by comparison.
I will no doubt watch any sequels that come along. I will also likely watch anything else that Netflix decides to acquire in this genre. Because while 365 Dni might have been naff and awkward and not blessed with any kind of workable plot, it is still a film based on an erotic novel written by a woman that handsomely delivers on sexy shag scenes.
Neflix, if you're reading, please note that that's definitely something that I want to see more of.
In fact, Netflix, if you're looking to commission a whole bunch of new kinky romance stories, you might want to check out a blog post I wrote a few years ago about spanky romance books that I really wanted to see onscreen. I even took care of the casting so, quite frankly, I have done all the work for you there. Or, if you like, you could turn one of my books into a film. I'm sure it would upset just as many people on Twitter as 365 Dni did.