VENICE, Italy — Bijou Phillips, the daughter of the late rock legend John Phillips, said she was scared when the sex scenes in her controversial movie Bully provoked more comment than its real-life story of senseless murder, the execution-style killing of a neighborhood bully by a group of teenagers. Her co-star Rachel Miner, so far best known as Mrs. Macaulay Culkin, thinks that this is indicative of why the Bully murder happened in the first place.
"It's denial. These parents were there and going to church with their kids, but they were denying their kids would do this," says Miner. "What's interesting I've found promoting this [film] is [that] there are parents saying, 'This will corrupt my kids' — and it's their kids who are like this and it's their denial that is causing this." The film, from Kids director Larry Clark, is just one of two projects that centers on teens doing drugs and having sex that is in contention for the Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion award. In a less shocking vein, And Your Mother Too, a sexually charged Mexican film from the Hollywood-based Alfonso Cuaron (The Little Princess), tells the coming-of-age saga of two best friends and the married woman who helps them grow up. IFC Films is releasing And Your Mother Too in November, hoping to have the second consecutive Mexican entry in Oscar's Best Foreign Language Film race, while Bully expands this month following its limited summer run in New York and Los Angeles. The film was released unrated after the MPAA deemed it worthy of an NC-17 rating. "Where Else But in America?" Clark noted that all the events in Bully were true, as was much of the dialogue. "What I found fascinating was how these people … involved in the murder of Bobby Kent didn't even know Bobby Kent. They came together [just] to do this. I don't think any of these characters could do it by [them]selves. "This is, just for me, an American kind of story. Where else but in America, such a rich country where we have so much, [would you find] these kids who could be this immoral? Who had the luxury of chilling all the time and smoking pot, driving around and drinking, being this isolated in their own world. They never thought of the ramifications of what they did." Coming of Age, Mexican Style Cuaron's film, meanwhile, features male and female frontal nudity and sex scenes almost too numerous to count, but no murders.
The film, which stars Gael Garcia Bernal of the Oscar-nominated Amores Perros, follows two horny best friends in the summer before college. Still, Cuaron emphasized he's made not a sex film, but a coming of age story about two boys and the end of their friendship. "In the Hollywood-style coming of age films, they tend to serve the same old formula which we've had for many, many years and it's a hypocritical formula. This film has been a success in Mexico because it's one of first films to show real life, with a mosaic of the various social classes. "It doesn't focus on just one social class, you can see the rich politicians and go right across the board to the poor fisherman. The people in the rest of the world can appreciate this as well, for we deal honestly and without pretense."