*Monogamish* the movie premiers
Remember the Kickstarter appeal last March for Tao Ruspoli's indie docu-movie Monogamish? It passed its goal of $35,000 and ended with $50,210 from 515 backers.
Now the movie is finished, but it's not yet available; it's supposed to be by the end of 2015. Among its featured people are polyamory movement stars, such as Diana Adams, Christopher Ryan, and Dossie Easton. Here's the trailer (2:28).
Monogamish premiered October 21 to an audience at the Rome Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter ran this review:
Tao Ruspoli explores the highs and lows (mostly the lows) of long-term fidelity.
By Jordan Mintzer
Love and marriage make for rather poor bedfellows in Monogamish, a documentary investigation that questions the way most modern relationships are supposed to function, underscoring why the concept of long-term fidelity may be the worst way to keep your couple going far into the future.
Directed by Italian-American filmmaker Tao Ruspoli, who was prompted to pick up his camera after suffering a heartbreaking divorce (from actress Olivia Wilde, with whom he was married for 8 years), the movie provides a thorough expose on conjugal practices both past and present, revealing monogamy to be a rather bogus concept that humankind has espoused for only the last hundred-odd years. It also clearly stacks the deck in favor of open marriages and polyamorous relations, with experts and practitioners preaching the benefits of a love life guided more by natural instincts than current societal norms.
...Both a personal odyssey and global overview of monogamy and its discontents (which was the film's working title), Ruspoli chats face-to-face with a number of writers, thinkers and therapists about the failings of his own relationship, and how the desire to stick with a sole sexual partner may have been the root of the problem.
A brief foray into the director’s origins – he’s the son of an Italian prince and American actress; his grandfather was Spaghetti Western star William Berger – reveals a family tree bolstered by royal alliances, until the Ruspoli men squandered their wealth in unions of passion, rather than ones of pure convenience.
To reinforce his study, Ruspoli talks to pundits and authors responsible for cheekily titled treatises like Mating in Captivity, Sex at Dawn and The Ethical Slut. They all have interesting, sometimes provocative things to say about how we’ve constrained ourselves to living against our nature, with one expert summing up the monogamy issue as “not a problem you solve, but a paradox that you manage.”
Their arguments can be more convincing than Ruspoli’s attempts to illustrate them cinematically, with archive footage and cheesily staged reenactments showing various couples going through the throes of a relationship. The filmmaker also relies too heavily on subjects leaning towards one side of the debate: there are only one or two examples of successful monogamous pairs, while many of those interviewed seem to be of the free-loving, West Coast variety (particularly two Santa Monica hipsters who rather smugly describe how they came to embrace polyamory as a way of life).
The film never really questions the emotional repercussions of open marriages or three-way couples, which may be more of an ideal than something many of us could live with on a daily basis. But who knows? Monogamish might be ahead of its time, and in a century from now the idea of spending the majority of your adult life with a single soulmate may seem as archaic as horse-drawn carriages or prefrontal lobotomies....
The whole review (October 29, 2015).
Kate Hakala did a story about the movie for Connections.Mic last April:
A New Movie Is Shattering a Major Myth About Modern Relationships
...Ruspoli was hoping to tackle the subject of monogamy — specifically why, as the 40% to 50% divorce rate suggests, it seems to fail so often.
..."We have tendencies in both directions: We want to pair up with people, we want to make commitments to each other and have a sense of safety and security," Ruspoli told Mic. "But we also have other desires to explore, have a sense of mystery in our lives and obviously keep our sexuality alive. So the question is, how do we negotiate all those tensions?"
...In a 2014 survey of 18 to 49-year-olds conducted by USA Network, 82% of respondents said they had absolutely no tolerance of cheating, but 81% would cheat if there were no consequences....
About half of the Generation X and Y participants surveyed admitted that monogamy was a "social expectation but not a biological reality."
...As a society, we're questioning that ideal now more than ever. Polyamorous, swinging and otherwise open relationships have been around for years, but they're getting more mainstream press now.
..."There's a lot of industry around making people feel like there's something wrong with them if they're not having passionate sex with each other if they've been together for 10 years," Ruspoli said. "We pathologize that — maybe that's a natural thing that happens and we need to address that."
That doesn't have to mean encouraging infidelity or abandoning "traditional" marriage. Rather, said Ruspoli, "We should question monogamy in the service of maintaining that commitment, not as a way of rejecting it."...
The whole article (April 9, 2015).
The movie's website. Facebook page. A podcast interview with the director.