I’m subscribed to a fair few newsletters, but my absolute favourite has to be Doc Club’s. I’ve discovered many great documentaries through them and it was in one of their mailers back in June that I first read about Tickled.
Tickled is an investigative look into the bizarre “sport” of competitive endurance tickling. If you picture a young athletic man tied down with ankle and wrist restraints being mounted and tickled by other young athletic men, you sort of have the idea. It sounds porny just writing it, but – as the documentary shows – the ticklers being investigated in the film are very keen to point out that THIS DEFINITELY ISN’T PORNOGRAPHY, NO SIREE BOB.
Despite the complete absence of women in these tickling videos, those making them really want to stress that it’s “not homoerotic”, so much so that the protagonists replied to the director’s first email by asking him to not contact them again as he’s openly gay and the association would be damaging. Charming.
It’s hard to believe the people making these tickling videos and tickling websites do so just for the fun of it though, you only need to look at the restraints and props which could be from any S&M video to realise that there is something sexual going on here, even if the (always young and handsome) participants are all fully clothed.
But this isn’t a documentary about fetishes or pornography. It’s 2016, we know people like different things and that quirks and kinks are wide and varied. Nobody’s judging what other people find sexy.
Where this documentary is so gripping, is that these supposedly innocent videos come with a sinister side order of lawsuits, fraud, coercion, public humiliation and even FBI investigations.
It’s a fascinating look into a hidden world and I can only applaud David Farrier and Dylan Reeve for having the patience (not to mention the balls) to stick with this documentary despite the endless threats of legal actions and constant wall of silence.
Here’s the official trailer…
I don’t want to spoil anything, so I shan’t go into how I ultimately felt once I left the cinema, but I will say that watching so much tickling doesn’t half make you feel ticklish. It’s a bit like talking about nits, I kept feeling all squirmy and uncomfortable.
Once you’ve seen the film, this makes for very interesting reading and the video is well worth a watch. I wouldn’t watch/read it beforehand though.
Tickled will be in selected UK cinemas from Friday (August 19th) and long story short: I highly recommend it. I also recommend you slide into my DMs as soon as you’ve seen it so we can chat about it. I NEED TO TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT IT.
Big thank you to StudioCanal for letting me attend last night’s press preview. It’s a great movie.