365 Days: This Day Is Half-Step Away From Asking, “Would You Stream Porn On Netflix?”, Film Companion

The closest to porn that Netflix will perhaps come, 365 Days: This Day is the reckoning of a sex-suspicious generation — one caught between insistent, progressive sex positivity and nervousness at the pharmacy asking for a condom. If tomorrow, Netflix has pornography as a genre selection on the timeline, would you open it in incognito and wipe your digital footprints after you consume its curation? Would your answer change depending on whom you share your Netflix account with? 

Neither 365 Days nor its sequel is porn, but that is just a matter of semantics. What differentiates cinema from porn? We have had movies with full frontal, where sex is just a means to an end (Theo and Hugo), and we have had movies and shows where sex was the point of the narrative (Sex/Life). Neither are considered porn, but both come dangerously close, as does This Day, where one of the first dialogues that invite you into this pornucopia is “I don’t have panties”.

There is no pretense of storytelling here, only an exuberant stream of sex strung along by a story that has no business being there. Massimo (Michele Morrone) and Laura (Anna-Maria Sieklucka) are married but he is too controlling and she is too unfettered. There is a hot gardener, the third edge of this love triangle, if that is what this is. He is played by Simone Susinna, an alternative alpha to Massimo’s greasy mop of hair — cropped close, thinner lips, an evening shadow, beads around the neck. There is also Massimo’s twin. 

365 Days: This Day Is Half-Step Away From Asking, “Would You Stream Porn On Netflix?”, Film Companion

The writers, if that is who they are, are not even trying here, for what use is effort when they have zeroed in on their target audience? With a zero percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the first film, 365 Days, had TikTok teenagers reacting to the infamous sex scene on the yacht, gasping and groaning at the wooden dialogues being replicated in ironic internet-talk (“Are you lost, baby girl?”), all of this girded by frothing activists writing letters, petitions, hashtags about the glorification of kidnapping. This would remind you of the second wave feminists who decided to not just protest against pornography, advocating for its ban, but also protesting against sex, which they considered inherently patriarchal and violent. A culture of female subjugation is produced by and produces a cinema of female subjugation, they argue. What of pleasure, then? If the act is sexist, certainly pleasure gained from it, too, must be sexist, right?

This film has neither the novelty nor shock of 365 Days. There was something indisciplined about desire in that film. Here, there is no attempt to rake deeper, content at holding the reins where it was held.

It’s not hard to see the appeal of the first film. Michele Morrone’s is a full-bodied loving, he doesn’t kiss as much as lunge, his tongue flickering like a fang in between, he doesn’t grunt as much as roar, he doesn’t ride as much as thrust, he doesn’t stare as much as smoulder, he doesn’t stand as much as swagger, hands in pocket, chest in, shoulders out. It’s a posturing that invites submission. In January 2020, he had 200,000 followers on Instagram. By the end of June, he had more than 7 million.

365 Days: This Day Is Half-Step Away From Asking, “Would You Stream Porn On Netflix?”, Film Companion

The appeal is not just sex but wealth, too. Not just being thrust into by a hulk, but having your legs up on a boat floating away at sea. In this film, there is a tasteful cutting to show the couple inaugurating each corner of their house with their shaved bare bottoms — the rug, the sofa, the fireplace, the bedroom with windows facing the ocean and the bedroom with no windows, upholstered like a red room. There is even a moment in the golf course, where hole gets a radical rechristening of meaning. 

This film reverses the sex density of 365 Days, where there, it was the second half that sputters into fire. Here, we are thrown into the pits from the word go. Slowly, a semblance of a narrative assembles itself before being flung out, thumbed under the orgasm. But this film has neither the novelty nor shock of 365 Days. There was something indisciplined about desire in that film — a man kidnaps a woman taking her to his palace, promising to leave her if she doesn’t fall in love with him in 365 days. Here, there is no attempt to rake deeper, content at holding the reins where it was held. The sex, too, feels unable and unwilling to colour outside of the borders it made in the first film. A repetition of what works is what this film is. But there is ennui, too, doing the same thing, the same way, again and again. 

Subscribe now to our newsletter

SEND 'JOIN' TO +917021533993 TO CONNECT WITH US ON WHATSAPP