Brazilian Karim Aïnouz returns to Cannes with Motel Destino, one of the most erotic films in the race for the Palme d’Or, with numerous sex scenes shot with the help of an intimacy coordinator, the profession of more and more widespread in cinema.

The 58-year-old director is delighted to have called on this profession, responsible for helping with the filming of sex or nudity scenes while respecting the actors. “It was great working with an intimacy coordinator. Choreography (sex scenes) and respect for privacy are two sides of the same coin, he explained to AFP. It’s very important, there have been abusive sexual relations in cinema for so many years, abuse of power, that we need to do a sort of historical act of reparation. We did not arrive at these situations of sexual abuse by chance,” he added.

Intimacy coordinators are increasingly present on film sets, particularly in Hollywood, but not all filmmakers use them. Also in competition at Cannes, the American Sean Baker explained to Variety that he had nothing against it, if an actor asks, but that this had not been the case with his film Anora. “I’ve directed about ten sex scenes in my career, and I’m very comfortable with that. It is our priority that the actors are safe, protected, comfortable and involved in the process,” he explained.

Karim Aïnouz’s film, Motel Destino, depicts a love triangle in a seedy motel near the ocean, against a backdrop of murky sex and delinquency, in a slightly surreal atmosphere. Returning to his native Brazil, the filmmaker also sees his film as a return to life, after the mandate of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022). “I wanted to make an erotic, sensual film, but a sensuality that celebrates life and not one that talks about death. For me it is very important, after so much time under an authoritarian regime in Brazil, a terrifying regime whose real obsession was death. I wanted to make a film where people would celebrate life. I believe there is nothing more vital than sex,” he said.