When Elektra Luxx premiered last month at SXSW, the projector malfunctioned an hour and ten minutes into the screening, leaving director Sebastian Gutierrez to entertain the audience while staff attempted — unsuccessfully — to resolve the issue. No such disaster befell Friday’s screening at the Gen Art Film Festival, but after a strong start, this ambitious but ultimately uneven film ran into trouble all on its own.
Elektra Luxx is the second installment in a trilogy, bookended by Women in Trouble and the yet-to-be-shot Women in Ecstasy. We pick up the story where Women in Trouble left off: porn superstar Elektra Luxx (Carla Gugino) quits the biz after discovering she’s pregnant by her rock star sometimes-boyfriend who has just died on a plane while having sex with a flight attendant who is now blackmailing Elektra. Confused?
Left: Adrian Grenier and Carla Gugino; Right: Abbie Cornish
Prepare for plot overload as Elektra’s story is ringed by three other lurid and vaguely connected narratives. Despite strong performances by Gugino (whose best work in the film is as Elektra’s incarcerated twin sister) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a porn blogger who lives in his mom’s basement, the actors fight a losing battle against lines such as, “I am wet with indecent happiness for you.”
Left: Zachary Quinto; Right: Alexis Bledel
Elektra Luxx’s flaws are somewhat tempered by an unexpected cameo by Julianne Moore, a soundtrack by Robyn Hitchcock, and a top notch opening credit sequence (which drew spontaneous applause from the audience), but I’m in no particular hurry to see where the characters end up in Women in Ecstasy.
The Gen Art Film Festival, which is celebrating its 15th Anniversary, is a week of premieres that spotlight the most talented emerging filmmakers in North America. Click here for 2010 film information and tickets.