9 Songs

January 20th, 2005


9 Songs

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Michael Winterbottom at event of 9 SongsMargo Stilley at event of 9 SongsMichael Winterbottom at event of 9 SongsKieran O'Brien at event of 9 SongsKieran O'Brien at event of 9 Songs9 Songs

In London, England, love blooms between an American college student, named Lisa, and a British glaciologist, named Matt, where over the next few months in between attending rock concerts, the two lovers have intense sexual encounters.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 4.9/10 (10,655 voted)

Critic's Score: 43/100

Director: Michael Winterbottom

Stars: Kieran O'Brien, Margo Stilley, Huw Bunford

Matt, a young glaciologist, soars across the vast, silent, icebound immensities of the South Pole as he recalls his love affair with Lisa. They meet at a mobbed rock concert in a vast music hall--London's Brixton Academy. They are in bed at night's end. Together, over a period of several months, they pursue a mutual sexual passion whose inevitable stages unfold in counterpoint to nine live-concert songs.

Kieran O'Brien - Matt
Margo Stilley - Lisa
Huw Bunford - Himself (Super Furry Animals)
Cian Ciaran - Himself (Super Furry Animals)
The Dandy Warhols - Themselves
Elbow - Themselves
Franz Ferdinand - Themselves
Bobby Gillespie - Himself (Primal Scream)
Bob Hardy - Himself (Franz Ferdinand)
Dafydd Ieuan - Himself (Super Furry Animals)
Alex Kapranos - Himself (Franz Ferdinand)
Mani - Himself (Primal Scream)
Nick McCarthy - Himself (Franz Ferdinand)
Michael Nyman - Himself
Guto Pryce - Himself (Super Furry Animals)

Taglines: 2 Lovers. 1 Year.


Official Website: Official site [Germany] | Official site [France] |

Release Date: 20 January 2005

Filming Locations: Brixton Academy - 211 Stockwell Road, Brixton, London, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: £1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $13,457 (USA) (24 July 2005) (1 Screen)

Gross: $49,835 (USA) (31 July 2005)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | USA: (DVD version)

Did You Know?

Margo Stilley never wanted to be credited in the film because of the unsimulated, explicit sex scenes. She asked the director to refer to her in interviews as "Lisa", the name of her character in the film.

Revealing mistakes: While driving along the dual carriageway, the rev-counter of the car (the large left hand dial on a Mk. 2 Ford Granada) is at 0 showing the engine to be switched off. (In mitigation, it's a very old car so the rev counter could just be broken.)

[first lines]
Matt: When I remember Lisa I don't think about her clothes, or her work, or where she was from, or even what she said. I think about her smell, her taste, her skin touching mine.

User Review

Physical love is a dead end ("L'Amour physique est sans issue")


I had read some reviews and comments from the Director before seeing "Nine Songs" so I had adapted my viewing mode accordingly. I armed myself with the kind of cold, intellectualized, high-culture glasses one uses to see relevant contemporary art. Most of the times it won't be neither an esthetically satisfactory experience nor a necessarily pleasant emotional experience but if we can see the point of the artist and if that point seems in resonance with one's curiosity and awareness of the world around, that will be good enough. From that somewhat minimalist expectations' level viewpoint, "Nine Songs" did the trick. I can see Michael Winterbottom's point. Why can a writer engage in sexual imagery with no restrictions and a film author can't do the same? There is also, I think, a honest experimental tone in all that. Something like "Let's see if it works to ask the actors to go all the way. Let's see if we can stay inside serious film making and not add an item to the increasingly inflated porn film list." I think MW managed to sail through. Yes, it can be done (but, at what a price for the actors it remains to be seen); yes, it's definitely miles away from porn. As to if this incursion into real sex in the picture is as effective as explicit sex in literature, I'm afraid that MW is no Houellebecq. Sex in the daring novels of Houllebecq retain a kind of legitimacy because in the center of the plot there is a couple where love between the two is expressing itself (although fed by some rather non-conventional sexual behavior). Sex in Sade or in other libertine writers was deliberately tabu-breaking, and liberating in a way. The extremely good quality of the writing (both in Houellebecq and Sade) is a crucial element in allowing the authors who engage in such edgy fields to get away with it. In "Nine Songs" the couple fails to touch us, there is no love there (not even the good chemistry of sexual love), and the "writing" in film terms is not that impressive. It resembles more a documentary, which in fact it is ("How to introduce explicit live sex in mainstream cinema"). We end up leaving the screening room with the frustrating sense that an opportunity was lost. Like a piece of rather cold contemporary art it challenges you, it makes you engage in argument with your friends, it makes you wish to write a comment on web site. But we enjoy good cinema, not merely relate to.Enjoyment is not there.


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