SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2022 REVIEW! Dawid Nickel’s Love Tasting is set in a small Polish town and follows four teenagers dealing with the excitement and the struggles of one of the most important things to any person their age: sex. As Kuba (Michał Sitnicki), his girlfriend Monika (Sandra Drzymalska), her twin brother Tomek (Mikołaj Matczak), and their friend Oliwka (Nel Kaczmarek) navigate the closing weeks of school, they eagerly anticipate the final party of the year. Naturally, this blowout drips with sexual possibility, and these young people, who are very much in love with the ideas of love and sex, take part in a veritable love tasting. But, unfortunately, the dangerous waters of adolescence pose threats to everyone involved, and only a few will come out unscathed.
“…four teenagers dealing with the excitement and the struggles of…sex.”
Love Tasting is a sexual frenzy that puts significant stock in the attraction that sex has on the majority of the world. Writer-director Nickel essentially puts all of his eggs in one basket as he anticipates that sex is a strong enough vehicle to tell his story and entertain viewers. In the end, it pays off. Most people’s obsession with sex develops during puberty, but exploring the sexuality of a child is a risky business as it poses several threats to the filmmakers and those willing to watch the film. Regardless of whether or not a narrative about teenage sex should be told, here it is, and there’s a discomfort that lurks just beneath the surface. If I were a parent, this would be a nightmare, seeing what a high school-aged student is experiencing in the field of sex, but the honesty that the cast and crew present is exceptional.
The aforementioned discomfort permeates this sexual bildungsroman works twofold. First, it works to remind audiences that this topic is uncomfortable for a reason and should remain that way. Secondly, it allows outsiders a look into the world of a teenager. Even better, it presents adults watching the ability to empathize with their dilemma as we often forget what it was like to be 15 years old not long after that time in our life has appeared in the rearview mirror.
"…this topic is uncomfortable for a reason and should remain that way."