One of the few movies that has been almost universally praised at Cannes thus far is John Cameron Mitchell's (he of Hedwig and the Angry Inch fame) Shortbus -- the film is screening out of competition and won't be winning any big awards, but critics have loved it. You'd think, then, that at a festival where the sales market is reportedly pathetically light on quality films, distributors would be lining up to buy Mitchell's film. There's one problem, though: The movie is charming and funny, but also happens to feature real sex, including an opening made up of "a young man performing oral sex on himself in front of a camera, another a young man masturbating as he is whipped by a dominatrix and ... a couple having acrobatic sex in their apartment." So yeah, distributors are facing a bit of a dilemma.

In the US, for example, the movie will obviously be slapped (and like it) with an NC-17 rating, immediately slashing the number of theaters that will even screen the film, in addition to making mainstream advertising practically impossible. While the film could still be released by a canny distributor -- witness ThinkFilm's success with the NC-17-rated Aristocrats last year -- it nevertheless represents a very risky investment in an industry that is nothing if not profit-driven.

James' Shortbus review -- like everyone else, he dug it -- is here; distribution updates will come as we get them.