“Sex is not erotic if it’s sterilized,” says 28-year-old actress Carla Juri. “I get extremely bored when films are all tidy.” Nothing is sterilized or tidy in Wetlands, the year’s most sexually (and scatologically) explicit film. Based on Charlotte Roche’s 2008 novel, it stars the Swiss-born Juri as Helen, an 18-year-old with an overclocked sex drive, raging hemorrhoids and a mischievous taste for bodily fluids. She steps into a fetid Trainspotting-style bathroom and wipes the nasty seat clean with her bare crotch; later she masturbates with a cornucopia of produce (she prefers carrots to cucumber to ginger) and boasts of her “very healthy pussy flora.”
But the film – made in German but opening to American audiences on September 5th – is not a gross-out stunt; instead, it’s a comedic love story that confronts the kind of youthful sexual experimentation teen franchises like Twilight would rather bury in metaphors. “Helen’s not trying to be rebellious – she’s just raw,” says Juri. “Her nakedness is more truthful than sexual.”
Director David Wnendt adds that “many actresses declined” the part, worried “what media might say” – but it’s likely to launch the career of Juri, who just picked up a high-profile Hollywood agent. If Cameron Diaz became a star by smearing semen into her hair in There’s Something About Mary, there’s no telling what Juri, who risked far more, may do next.