by Matthew Muccia
Edited by Benjamin Boquist
Sex In Cinema…
On a spectrum of experience and understanding, sex hits each one of us differently. It is a delicate subject and filmmakers know this. They know how to get a cheap rise out of viewers by throwing some them some “T&A”.
From a psychological perspective, however, we have to be gentle. What we are commercially viewing and listening to can shape our views of that behavior. It is important for us to view depictions of this behavior with a proper and mature understanding. One cannot simply be educated through an auteur’s biased representation.
Steve McQueen’s new film “Shame”, for example, shows an individual that has been severely impaired by his misunderstanding of sex as well as societies norms surrounding this enjoyable interaction. Is this a necessary case study of male sexual tendencies and how far out they can get?
Likewise, in the film “Last Tango in Paris” the character Paul forces himself on a young Parisian woman, who is seemingly unknowing of the rape that is going on. If you have not seen the film you must understand that she does not resist, but it is rape in Paul’s eyes non-the-less. Was this scene necessary to make you understand the inception of their relationship?
Finally, in “Irreversible” we see the loathsome side of the human condition. Monica Bellucci plays Alex who, after seeing her boyfriend in a bathroom doing cocaine with two females, leaves in frustration to walk home by herself. What follows is the most intense depiction of “rape” I have ever seen. It must last at least 30 seconds. Was the length of the scene necessary to make you feel what Alex was feeling?
There are two ways to view the above films. One, as a physical representation of the human condition with desperation being the focal point. The other is the examination of the effect of “sex” on our brains, Which belongs to the world of graduate psychology courses.
My own tastes drift between the artful representation of sex in cinema and the effects sex have had on the filmmakers that have chosen to tell these stories this way. Both can exist, but you have to be at a certain level of sexual maturity to understand what you are seeing.
Without getting too above myself I would love to stress the importance of having a loving influence on shaping a child’s perception/understanding. This doesn’t have to be the child’s parents, but it has to be somebody.