Forget the battle over Battle in Heaven – what's a couple of blow jobs compared to 9/11-as-digital orgy?

There will certainly not be a more controversial film at this year's Festival than Edouard Salier's Flesh (subtitled, The Truth About 9/11), which showed for the first time as part of Shorts Program V this morning. Visually stunning but tasteless and ideologically confused,  this 10-minute, CG-short endeavors to restage the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks as an orgy ... literally. In Salier's digital dystopia, mostly-naked female bodies writhe in superimposed ecstacy on the glass face of every skyscraper in the city. When the planes hit the World Trade Center towers, the buildings appear to strike out in spears of frozen blood – but the sexy girls writhe away, entirely unaffected until the towers fall away. This happens around minute five, and as the shot pulls back for a wide view of the destruction, it seems for a moment that Salier is going to leave it at that – a bad joke, perhaps, but not enough of a statement to be worth getting upset over.

He doesn't. Soon, the music changes, and the sky fills with more planes – one for every building in the city, and by extension, for every girl. First the Crysler Building, then the Empire State, and it goes on from there: one by one, these CGI flyers take out every notable structure in New York City, puncturing each pouty vixen somewhere near the heart. Surely there's some significance to the fact that the Statue of Liberty alone (which here glows an almost sky blue) is spared, although beyond the facile fact that it's the city's one structure not colonized by Vivid Video refugees, I'm not exactly sure what it it because she's French?

I'm actually of the mind that it's time to confront 9/11, both as a historical reality, and in terms of its lasting cultural mythology. But Flesh is not just offensive - it's really rather silly. Beyond the instant, easy metaphor of penetration, it doesn't seem to have an idea in it's admittedly pretty little head. 2 points for flawless execution of a terrible idea.