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The Pick: The Mechanical Bride, a new documentary about sex dolls (and the men who love them)


(Warning: the trailer contains mildly NSFW images of sex dolls without clothing and, at times, heads)

Last week, we recommended an opera in which a man falls in love with an automaton. This week, we’ve got the real thing. The Mechanical Bride, showing this Sunday at Hot Docs, delves deep into the bizarre world of sex dolls, fembots and the men who love them. The film is packed with grotesque imagery—Realdolls being groped at a sex show, disassembled body parts in a workshop—but it’s also surprisingly nuanced, venturing deep into the ethics and science of the subculture.

Throughout the picture, the viewer is introduced to the various characters who make up the scene. There’s the dollmaker, a long-haired, self-proclaimed “artist” who walks us through the architecture of the doll. There’s the doctor, a hilariously outspoken professional doll repairman. On the cutting edge, there are the scientists, working away on fembot prototypes. And, of course, there are the customers who buy the dolls—hardly sex fiends, but lonely men seeking a little companionship.

Underlying the film is the question of why so many men would rather have a blank-eyed latex doll or a hard-wired automaton instead of a living, breathing woman. The movie flits around a few potential answers—fear, lust, the desire for perfection and, yes, the desire for control. There are strong arguments for all of them, but director Allison de Fren doesn’t settle on any final answers. In the end, the answer is whatever we want it to be—much like a sex doll.

The details: May 6, 9 p.m. $14.50. Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 783 Bathurst St., 416-637-5150, hotdocs.ca

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