Today’s episode of Girls On Film is about the winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, How to Have Sex. Anna Smith is joined by Molly Manning Walker, who wrote and directed How to Have Sex, and Mia McKenna-Bruce, whose performance as Tara earned her the BIFA for Best Lead Performance and Best Actress at the European Film Awards.
The film shows Tara and her two best friends from school, Skye (Lara Peake) and Em (Enva Lewis), celebrating the end of their GCSE exams on a girls trip to Malia. In a flurry of neon mini dresses, fish bowl cocktails and an intriguing group of eighteen-year-olds in the same holiday complex, the girls navigate the worlds of sex, consent and self-discovery.
How to Have Sex has been hailed by viewers as a vibrant and authentic depiction of the agonies, and ecstasies of girlhood, and in this episode Mia and Molly talk about the filming process, as well as the film’s impact on viewers, from critics at Cannes to teenagers in the classroom. Molly talks about the importance of building meaningful backstories for all her characters, and creating a ‘360 degree’ set to give her cast an authentic background to work against.
The pair recall the excitement of working on a project like this, where club nights and football matches were a common fixture among cast and crew. They also speak to Anna about the ‘bittersweet’ response to the film, citing how it has sparked meaningful conversations about sex and consent, but also how it is exposing just how many people have been affected by the issues that How to Have Sex explores.
How to Have Sex will be streaming exclusively on MUBI from 29 December 2023 and Girls On Film listeners can watch it with 30 days free at mubi.com/girlsonfilm
Other series mentioned in this episode:
I May Destroy You (Michaela Coel, 2020)
Sex Education (Laurie Nunn, 2019)