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NYFF Film Review: ‘Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn’ is…A Lot

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

A warning precedes the screening link for Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, stating essentially that this is an incredibly sexually graphic film, before also stating that it’s a comedy. If that sounds like a lot to swallow, well… it is. Playing at the 59th New York Film Festival, Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn is a lot, in every sense of the word. Now, I tend to like that. I’m all about when a joke goes on too long (just listen to our podcast for amble evidence of that). Here, however, it seems like the point of the satire is being made with a sledgehammer, never letting it come across naturally. For some, this will be a bravura experience and a movie that they won’t soon forget. For others, it will be a nearly unwatchable slog. Me? Well, as you might expect from the set up, I fell somewhere in the middle. I’m kind of thrilled that NYFF is featuring a flick like this, but I found it very hard to enjoy.

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn is a bold and often scathing satire about how society deals with sexuality. The focus is almost entirely on how ridiculous it is to attack private actions, both specifically in Romania but also generally in the world today. It’s a concept that can really work, but the way that it’s depicted here is fairly off-putting. The initial sequence will be a barrier of entry for some, while a mid-point montage will test your patience. Again, it’s all just…a lot.

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

The film begins by showing us the sex tape that will become such a focus point for a group of parents. Teacher Emi (Katia Pascariu) and her husband are having a grand old time, but when he uploads it to an adult website, it gets leaked to the general public. Going viral, it quickly is discovered by her students, enraging their parents and concerning the school. While awaiting a meeting, Emi walks around her Romanian town, encountering some bile directed at her, but mostly just observing how terrible people are to each other. Then, it’s time for a second act montage to hammer that point home, before cutting back to Emi’s story.

When it comes time for Emi to face the parents of her students, they’re as awful as you’d expect. Forced to watch the sex tape again while they make lewd comments, they then begin to accost Emi. She refuses to take it lying down, repeating how her private life is just that. Eventually, a vote is taken on whether she should keep her position. How the film opts to conclude is as bold as the rest of it and worth discovering for yourself, so I’ll leave things vauge there.

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn


Katia Pascariu is very good in a role that asks a lot of her. One may wish you learn more about her, but Pascariu really does give it her all. The sexual content is one thing, but how she has to just take it during the “trial” of sorts, before getting to defend herself, that’s some strong stuff. Supporting players like Claudia Ieremia, Stefan Steel, and more, they’re all fine. Mostly, it’s just watching Pascariu take abuse and defend herself, so it’s mostly her show.

Filmmaker Radu Jude goes all in on his satire, both to its strength and detriment. Opening up Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn with the un-simulated sex scene sets the tone, before things really slow down for a while. Then, there’s the middle montage, with is also sexually graphic, though mixed in with a lot of more random musings. A little bit goes a long way, especially when the third act meeting is far more compelling. Jude doesn’t have a great sense of tone, so the ebbs and flows here are somewhat jarring.

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn is a challenging satire that just goes a little too far off the deep end to recommend. If art house cinema strikes your fancy when it really is out there, this will be worth seeking out. If not, you’ll almost certainly hate it. At NYFF this year, I’m sure there was a mix of both, so the reception will probably be somewhat mixed. Still, make of this one what you will…

SCORE: ★1/2

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Written by Joey Magidson

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