STUDIO: Pathfinder Home Entertainment
MSRP: $19.98

RUNNING TIME: 104 Minutes

The Pitch

The folks
who brought you Riverdance present: the horizontal tango!

The Humans

by Jimmy Duggan and narrated by Catriona Ni Mhurchu.

The Nutshell

The film
is a two-part documentary called The Land of Sex and Sinners, which
makes a lot more sense than Sex and the Celts, since it’s
focused on Ireland and her fascinating history of sexual expression and
suppression. Director Duggan (there’s a name ready for children’s book
inclusion) stretches back to pre-history and then leaps forward to moments of
key changes in the sexual landscape, eventually ending up in the modern era.

I nominate a new flag for Washington State.

The Lowdown

If you’re
one of those semi-literate types that gets needlessly worked-up whenever
someone points out a phallic symbol or a sexual metaphor where you previously
saw none, your blood pressure will thank you to avoid this disc. For anyone
else who is fascinated by the way sexuality meshes with religion and politics,
this is a judgment-free survey of a few of the more interesting moments in
Ireland‘s sexual history.

The pace
of this documentary kind of lopes along, but along its easy jog it lets go
quite a few pieces of trivia. Everything is couched in an historical context,
which thankfully removes the potential for political agenda. What you get is a
string of interesting anecdotes about sexual practices throughout the years. I
say "anecdotes" rather than "facts" because I’m a bit
dubious about the claims of several of the experts that Dugan set up for
interview. For the sections of pre-history, before we have written record,
there’s an inordinate amount of speculation, and even in the sequences dealing
with more modern Ireland there are a couple of times with correlation is
mistaken for causality.

it’s not hard to separate the experts’ personal opinions from their legitimate
historical facts, and even the former are interesting, if for no other reason
than that they originate from keen minds.

"This is very important for your Home Ec final, ladies.
Watch closely. See how I work the shaft."

There are
nuggets worth notice in all the periods discussed, but most fascinating to me
is the section on Catholic influence in
Ireland, and that’s because I devour
internal tensions. The Irish church, as founded by St. Patrick, was conflicted
from day one about its stance on sexual expression. The Irish were unwilling to
let go their long traditions of (at least rudimentary) rights for women, as
well as their pantheon of gods and goddesses that often acted as married
couples. Being thrust into a patriarchal religion, with a patriarchal deity,
caused a bit of a mental snap in the Irish, which eventually resulted in the
second-most powerful position in the church being occupied by a woman, as well
as priests getting married, and panic in the streets.

did you know the Irish have termed masturbation the "hand festival?"
Good to know.

As time
progresses closer to our modern days, the distinctiveness of Irish sexuality
gradually fades. This makes the second part of the documentary a little slow in
pace, and a bit thinner when it comes to interest. The ruminations on gender
roles (which recall Dr. Gull’s amazing dialogue with his driver while touring
London in Alan Moore’s From
) are

As time
continues, the Irish sexuality loses its distinctiveness, which makes the
second half of the documentary drag a little. Far more interesting are the ruminations
on gender roles in religion, from stone age to medieval, which recall Dr.
Gull’s brief history to his driver in Alan Moore’s From Hell. In a final
reckoning, Sex and the Celts is middle-heavy; the leading section on
prehistory doesn’t feature enough reliable content, and the concluding section
on 17th century and forward is too familiar to really catch an audience’s
interest. Except for, possibly, the devices by which Victorian men tried to
combat nocturnal emissions.

drinking game: every time the interstitial cinematography flashes something
that looks like a penis or a boob, take a sip. Only a sip, now; I don’t want to
be responsible for your alcohol poisoning.

The Package

is not sexy. Have a trailer, and that’s it.

Oh, and every
last bit of exterior interstitial footage has an annoying edge-blur and was shot a
couple f-stops off. It all looks like this:

Always save the best penis for last.

Near as I
can tell, there’s no reason for it, other than, "Hey guys! Look what I can

6.9 out of 10