Bloom Up (2021)

Pet shop owners by day and swingers by night, Italian couple Hermes and Betta are still regular people. Director and cinematographer Mauro Russo Rouge was invited into their lives with no moment off-limits, which gives this documentary an honest, sex-positive look at the swinger lifestyle without the normal judgment or exploitation that you would expect.

Rouge said of the filming, “I hope that the audience watches the film with objectivity and without prejudice towards this couple who, despite being unscrupulous and transgressive, also have amazing heart and honesty. Hermes and Betta live an uninhibited but serene sexuality. “We are just like you.” Betta has been repeating this phrase to me for over a year. I can now confirm it is absolutely true!”

The thing I learned about this movie is that setting up all of these encounters with other couples is a lot of work, all to keep emotions out of the way and the right people coming together. Often the single people are simply sex toys for couples to use and move on; yet through all of this, Hermes and Betta share all things, even working together at their pet shop. It’s a level of sharing that many relationships would feel strained by; they seem to have a supportive and loving marriage and this film shines a welcome light on other lifestyles without any need for moralizing.

Bloom Up opens in New York City on August 12 at the Quad Cinema, expanding to the Laemmle Noho in Los Angeles and other markets on August 19 from Kino Lorber.

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