The thought of participating in an orgy is a titillating one. Sex with multiple partners is a common fantasy for many of us, but does not wanting to take part make you prudish? Zane Rubin’s latest short A Good Dinner Party explores just this situation, as a social gathering betweens friends leads to the suggestion of good old fashioned group sex, with uncomfortably funny results.
Taking place at the titular dinner party, Rubin’s film sees a relaxed evening between four hipster-couples quickly derail after one of them suggests having an orgy. Discussion amidst the friends ensues, with gems like this one:
“What’s the point of friends if you can’t f*ck each other once in a while?“
It only gets more uncomfortable from there, after one of them, Zoe — played by writer/director Rubin — isn’t really onboard with the idea. Which, in an “open” and “progressive” setting like this, means that she has to face accusations of being close-minded and offensive. How should one react to that?
A Good Dinner Party is a socially conscious farce that will make you cringe-laugh throughout — but it might also make you… think? “We live in a sensitive hyper PC culture at the moment”, Rubin explains when discussing the inspiration for her film. “I wanted to make something that weighed both sides of that argument by asking: What is offensive? What is homophobic? Where is the line?”
While orgies have weirdly become something of a trope in short filmmaking (see Joel Jay Blacker’s Let’s Do It or Molly McGlynn’s 3-Way (Not Calling) for similar group-sex themed shorts), it is due to Rubin’s odd sense of humor, her talents as a gifted creator of funny, absurd comedic scenarios and her own spin on the “genre“ that make A Good Dinner Party stand out.
We last featured Rubin on S/W when we showcased her The Last Virgin in L.A. film and since then she has continued developing her particular voice as a filmmaker of uncomfortable, socially awkward comedy, with her self-aware on-screen persona injecting an additional special flavor to her oeuvre.
At the risk of using the well-trodden phrase “she might be the new [insert director’s name here]“, I can’t help but see her in the tradition of independent filmmakers who put themselves front and center in their own work and create a kind of “brand“ for their work – such as Lena Dunham or Joe Swanberg.
Between The Last Virgin in L.A. and A Good Dinner Party, Rubin produced a handful of other short films, a music video, and a mini-web series for Comedy Central, adapting her inimitable sensibilities to various formats. Given her unique style and persistent work ethic, I sincerely believe that her big break is overdue and we’ll be hearing a lot more from her in the years to come.
She is currently developing a few different TV shows and a feature, and also just directed a pilot presentation/short film for JASH, the online comedy video powerhouse created by Sarah Silvermann, Michael Cera, Reggie Watts and Tim Heidecker & Eric Wareheim.