History of Sex in Cinema:
1999, Part 2
|Movie Title/Year and Film/Scene Description|
The General's Daughter (1999)
Director Simon West's often-offensive, misogynistic psychological military thriller was based on the 1992 novel by Nelson DeMille. It told about a sexual murderous assault (and its scandalous corrupt and "lunatic" underworld within a military base). Although the film commented upon the gender inequalities in the military, it was also criticized for leering at the female victim when she was gang-raped by trainees dressed in camouflage, and the horrific image of the murdered victim laid out and then decomposing was often revisited during the film.
The film began by introducing its two main military characters, a father and daughter:
At the Army base outside Savannah, Georgia, Elisabeth was soon found murdered. She was staked down with tent pegs and ropes, spread-eagled, mock-raped (there was no semen found and after tests, no sign of rape), and strangled in the middle of a training compound field for urban warfare training.
The case was investigated by two undercover warrant officers (from the US Army's Criminal Investigation Command or CID) who had a romantic history together:
During the initial investigation, Brenner met with the base's Provost Marshal Colonel William Kent (Timothy Hutton) and the general's overprotective adjutant Colonel George Fowler (Clarence Williams III). Brenner curtly summarized the motives for murder to Sunhill:
The CID officers had 36 hours to investigate before the FBI entered the case with a task force, when the media would make the death "a goddamn circus." Brenner was cautioned by Fowler to do things "the Army way" - not "the right way or the wrong way." Soon, secrets about the daughter's dark sexual past were revealed. A hidden room behind a false wall with a sliding door in her basement was found complete with a bed, condoms on a table, bondage paraphernalia (handcuffs, harnesses, a belt with a dildo on it, etc...) as well as a camera and videotapes. As Brenner left the room, he was attacked by an unidentified masked man who stole the bag of videotapes.
At the murder site, Sarah astutely examined the evidence. Strangely, there were no signs of a struggle, although there were tear marks on Elisabeth's cheek. Panties placed under the rope tied around her neck were there to presumably prevent rope-burn ("What's a little rope burn if you're going to kill somebody?"). Either more than one person was the killer/rapist, or she had been compiant with her killer(s)/rapist(s). Her clothes and dog-tag were found stashed in a plastic bag on a nearby rooftop. Headlights were seen at the scene the night of the murder at 3:00 am, 3:30 am, and again at 4:00 am.
Elisabeth's mentor and commanding officer Colonel Robert Moore (James Woods) was arrested on suspicion of murder (or accessory to murder) - with his fingerprints found on Elisabeth's dog-tag. Shortly later after being released under house arrest, he was found dead in his home - with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. It was assumed that his guilt caused him to apparently shoot himself - and the case appeared to be solved.
As the investigation proceeded, it was revealed that Elisabeth had been involved in flagrant S&M sexual activity with her father's officers and staff (many married) to embarrass her father ("The general's daughter banging his entire male staff"). She called it "psychological warfare, and that the enemy was daddy." Elisabeth was dating the Chief of Police's deputy son Wes Yardley (Chris Snyder), but only for outward show.
Seven years earlier, she had been gang-raped by six men as a West Point cadet (in her sophomore year) during a nighttime training exercise when she became separated from her group. Her rape was in the same manner she was found at the time of her death (held down with stakes in an isolated area) by men dressed in camouflage. [The gang-rape was committed by the 6 man recon squad led by Captain Bransford (Brad Beyer), who was fooled into confessing to the gang-rape.] She was hospitalized, and treated for venereal disease and pregnancy. However, this rape case was covered-up and kept confidential, when Gen. Sonnenberg (John Frankenheimer) convinced her Lt. General father to cooperate and protect his daughter:
In the hospital, the General had coerced and urged his daughter to forget the incident: "It never happened. None of this ever happened." When the General met with Brenner, he still believed that the rapists couldn't be caught, and that he had no other choice but to deny the rape. Brenner presented him with the list of 6 names - the men in Captain Bransford's squad, who had been arrested and faced 20 years in prison. Then Brenner described that sexually-traumatized Elisabeth had deliberately re-enacted or recreated the original rape incident from seven years earlier, just before her murder, to show her father first-hand what had been covered up:
It was revealed, in flashback, what had occurred. She had herself tied up at 3:00 am, aided by Col. Moore -- to force her father to deal with her earlier rape. Her father had given her an ultimatum - either resign her commission, or agree to undergo therapy. When she refused both options, he threatened to draw up charges of misconduct and present her for a general court-martial. Campbell strode onto the site at 3:30 am where Elisabeth was spread-eagled. She provoked him: "Do you see what they did to me?...I want to hear you say it happened." She called him a coward for covering-up and denying her rape. After betraying her and telling her: "I don't give a damn what happened to you 7 years ago," he walked away. As an aside, Colonel Fowler had wrongly thought all along that the General had killed his own daughter.
Afterwards, Kent met with Brenner and Sunhill on a training site, where she hypothesized: "I think this was a woman giving it out all over the post, and the one man who cared about her, the one who's willing to risk it all for her, is the person she doesn't want. And that's because she couldn't want anybody." Kent confessed to what had happened: "She owned my heart. She tormented me. She became my obsession. So I followed her and found her out there on the range, on display." When Kent came up to her after she had been rejected by her father, she threatened him - and was strangled to death by the spurned soldier:
To avoid capture by Brenner, Kent suicidally killed himself by stepping on a "bouncing betty" mine that he had planted in the surrounding mine-field training site.
In the conclusion, Brenner reprimanded General Campbell, who still claimed he had done nothing wrong: "Nothing is gained by my involvement." He was planning on further covering-up his participation in the entire incident. Brenner was steadfast as he confronted the General:
The General was court-martialed and found guilty for failing to report and concealing the West Point gang-rape. He subsequently withdrew from public life. The film's ending title: "Today, nearly 200,000 women serve on active duty in the military services."
Captain Elisabeth Campbell
The Murder Scene
Her Dark Sexual Past
The West Point Rape
The Rape Re-Enactment
The Girl Next Door (1999)
Not to be confused with the romantic comedy The Girl Next Door (2004) with Elisha Cuthbert or the 1999 teen drama of the same name with Polly Shannon and Gary Busey, this porn documentary film from director Christine Fugate was about an adult-film star who was in the business for four years.
The featured porn star was Stacy Valentine, an ex-housewife from Oklahoma named Stacy Baker who moved to Los Angeles and entered the skin-trade business in San Fernando Valley - after her husband suggested she submit nude pictures for men's magazine Gallery, and she won the contest as the magazine's "Girl Next Door" in July 1995.
Over the film's two-year period, she endured a number of things:
Divorcee Stacy boasted matter-of-factly:
She also said: "When I get horny, I go to work and when I need affection, I have my cats."
Guardami (1999, It.)
Writer/director Davide Ferrario's mainstream erotic biopic drama (in Italian without subtitles) about the porn industry (two years after Boogie Nights (1997)) was based on the life of Italian X-rated adult movie actress Moana Pozzi, who died of cancer at the age of 33.
The film was criticized for its bold and explicit scenes of stage sex, hardcore closeups (gynecological), lesbian sex, oral sex (fellatio), and S&M sex.
The film starred Italian mainstream actress Elisabetta Cavallotti as Nina who became involved in a romantic lesbian relationship with Cristiana (Stefania Orsola Garello) - the publicist/editor of a hard-core adult magazine.
Stage Sex with Nina
Nina (Elisabetta Cavallotti)
(Stefania Orsola Garello)
Nina - S&M
Holy Smoke (1999)
Writer/director Jane Campion's sexual-politics film was a risk-taking, powerful, R-rated drama (for scenes of strong sexuality and language).
It starred Kate Winslet as young, earthy Australian religious cultist Ruth Barron who had been to India where she was spiritually enlightened by a hypnotic cult guru named Baba (who renamed her Nazni). Upon her return to Australia, she was forced to be deprogrammed over three days in a remote Halfway Hut in the outback by professional "number one exit counselor" P. J. Waters (Harvey Keitel) from Los Angeles - a misogynistic, rough-hewn, mustached man with dyed black hair.
Confining her and making her captive for the treatment, he first attempted to gain her respect, then strip her of her sari ("remove her props, upset her and provoke her"), but succumbed to her sexual advances.
Its most notorious scene was the one of full-bodied Ruth - after her sari had been burned - vulnerably standing in the outback, stripped nude and urinating while walking toward him, and then a scene of Waters overpowered by her seductive, vengeful, manipulative sexuality - as he had sex with her.
Both were mutually deprogrammed in an about-face from their own experiences (him from his misogyny and vanity, her by using her sexuality to humiliate and 'feminize' him). With a reversal of power roles, she convinced him to wear her red dress, lipstick (and one cowboy boot) - and he heat-stroke-hallucinated - seeing her as a Hindu Kali goddess with multiple arms (to the tune of "Baby, It's You").
By the film's end, she had returned to India with her mother for further enlightment, and he had returned to the United States - married (to Pam Grier) and the father of twins, and a letter between them conveyed that something did happen between them in the desert.
Ruth with P.J. Waters
Idle Hands (1999) and Late Last Night (1999)
Pretty model/actress Kelly Monaco, fresh from being Playboy's April 1997 centerfold Playmate, also gained greater public acclaim for her roles on the soaps General Hospital and the spin-off Port Charles. She had bit parts (both showing off her naked form) in two 1999 films:
[Note: Kelly Monaco was the 2005 winner of the first season of TV's popular Dancing With the Stars, and a finalist in the 2012 seasons All-Stars show.]
Tiffany (Kelly Monaco)
in Idle Hands (1999)
Elaina (Kelly Monaco)
in Late Last Night (1999)
The Loss of Sexual Innocence (1999)
British writer/director Mike Figgis' pretentious film was an episodic, poetic meditation (composed of vignettes) on coming of age, love, loss of sexual identity and relationships.
In non-linear fashion, it told about the life and sexual exploits of a British director/ethnographer Nic (Julian Sands) in various stages of his life, when young and teenaged, during the 50s, and then in present day.
One of its episodes was a stylized retelling of the Adam and Eve Garden of Eden expulsion story (filmed with an amber filter), with two characters exhibiting graphic full-frontal nudity, and also reacting to each other urinating:
Adam with Eve
Director Linda Kandel's melodramatic, independent film, not to be confused with the thriller Mascara (1987) starring Charlotte Rampling, was a rights-of-passage drama.
The character study told about the anguishing and self-pitying plights of three unsettled young females (30-something college friends):
In this serious film, the women were involved in failing or conflicted relationships (involving loss of love, emotional breakdown, infidelity and vengeful sexual retribution, possible incest, etc.). The film followed their struggles for passion, happiness and truth beyond society's expectations, and to make life choices.
(Amanda de Cadenet)
Pola X (1999, Fr./Ger./Swiss)
The highly-charged Léos Carax-directed art-house film updated Herman Melville's 1850s novel "Pierre, Ou, Les Ambiguites" (Pierre, or: The Ambiguities) to modern-day France. The film was considered controversial for its scenes of unsimulated sex (although some involved body-doubles).
This extreme film told about privileged would-be writer Pierre Valombreuse (Guillaume Depardieu), living (incestuously or Oedipally?) with his domineering and doting mother Marie (Catherine Deneuve) on the family's Normandy estate. He was engaged to marry wealthy and refined blonde fiancee Lucie (Delphine Chuillot). Together, they both shared an unusual, ambi-sexual relationship with his moody cousin Thibault (Laurent Lucas).
After weird dreams and haunted meetings in town and in the woods with a ragged Yugoslavian refugee, he abandoned everything to her. The mysterious waif-vagrant claimed that she was his half-sister Isabelle (Katerina Golubeva) who had been abandoned by their father, a famous diplomat, after his affair. Pierre joined her to engage in an illicit and passionate dark affair, and to experience a life of vagabonding and squatting in a freezing, abandoned factory.
Their relationship was marked by an explicit, X-rated scene shot in a shadowy room including mutual masturbation, cunnilingus, fellatio and intercourse - as his life slowly disintegrated during their incestuous relationship.
Pierre with Isabelle
Romance (1999, Fr.) (aka Romance X)
This sexually-graphic drama import from daring French filmmaker Catherine Breillat faced international censorship problems for its explicit depictions of fellatio and intercourse. It was the first mainstream movie to feature an erect penis. It was released with no MPAA rating, although it undoubtedly would have been an NC-17 rating with its full frontal nudity and explicit unsimulated oral sex - a turning point in the candid depiction of non-pornographic sex on screen for a mainstream film.
The main character was a sexually-frustrated, self-reflective, semi-depressed Parisian elementary school teacher named Marie (Caroline Ducey) who was paired with an unresponsive, unloving male partner and model named Paul (Sagamore Stevenin) who no longer touched her or agreed to intercourse, although she still clung to him. She complained to him: "You won't make me give up sex," and "You don't deserve my faithfulness" and threatened to leave: "You'll never see me again." When she initiated sex with him and began fellating him, he responded disinterestedly. She requested that he touch and pleasure her, stating: "Women come a lot more than men," but seemed to feel that he despised her: "You despise me because I'm a woman...You think I'm the lowest."
Feeling dishonored, she began to contemplate finding unbridled sexual gratification and lustful fulfillment through various 'no-strings-attached,' explicit sexual encounters with others - one began almost immediately with a studly stranger from an all-night bar. She expressed pleasure from their first encounter of "pure desire," although she didn't have sex with him at first: "I can never stop myself from yielding" - she mused.
She soon began full sexual involvement (including rear-entry sex) with the Italian stranger, named Paolo (Italian porn star actor Rocco Sefredi), complaining to him about how most men who wore condoms would go limp. She also engaged in a long monologue about the shape of male genitals ("A thin cock isn't noble"), and then requested rear-entry sex:
However, she wouldn't kiss him (or someone she didn't love), saying: "It's too intimate" although she said: "I don't care who stuffs my cunt."
She also became sexually intrigued and involved, in a "trivial" and "shameful" relationship, with her older boss Robert (Francois Berleand), a "prince of seducers," who claimed he had enjoyed 10,000 women (with a record of his conquests), and promoted her potential for S&M masochism, degradation and bondage, although she was at first freaked by the experience. However, they maintained a long-term association:
Upon returning to Paul's empty bedroom, she masturbated with her legs tightly closed ("It's proof I don't need a man") -- providing the image for the film's red-X'ed poster - her self-pleasured private parts. When she began pulling away from Paul, she became pregnant with his child during one rare act of sexual contact (through a drop of his seminal fluid without ejaculation).
After nine months of drifting further apart from Paul, she left his apartment to deliver her baby, accompanied by Robert, while Paul was left passed out from booze in his apartment's bed, with the gas stove turned on - so that he would die in the subsequent explosion.
The film ended abruptly with Paul's funeral and her voice-over:
The film's additional scenes included:
Marie (Caroline Ducey) with Paul (Sagamore Stevenin)
Marie with Robert
The Sex Monster (1999)
This lightweight, teasing sex comedy farce (basically nudity-free) had the taglines: "A comedy that answers the question: 'What would happen if your wife said yes to a menage-a-trois... and loved it!'", and "His fantasy was a great idea, until she liked it...a lot."
After six years of marriage, LA contractor-businessman Marty Barnes (director/star Mike Binder) encouraged his wife Laura (Mariel Hemingway) to sample his fantasy of a menage a trois:
She didn't realize that being introduced to experimental sex would lead to much greater Sapphic desire, making her an insatiable lesbian sex monster.
Laura first came onto her hair-dresser co-worker Didi (Renee Humphrey) who was invited over for dinner. After some hip-grinding dancing with Laura on the outdoor patio, Didi was found wearing a black thong and nothing else in the swimming pool, before the trio ventured to the bedroom for three-way kissing and sex.
And then the plot heated up with Laura going after Diva (Missy Crider), Marty's secretary, by stroking her leg under an outdoor dinner table, and then apologizing in the kitchen, although they ended up secretively lip-locking together:
When Diva and Laura were discovered together in bed by Marty, to excuse her behavior to her husband, Laura rationalized her feelings for Diva by explaining that they were 'warming' up and waiting for him, although they essentially ignored him:
Diva (Missy Crider)
Varsity Blues (1999)
Director Brian Robbins' teensploitation sports and coming-of-age film, from MTV Films, about West Texas high school football, was memorable for its one scene - a breakthrough appearance for the actress.
Slutty cheerleader/girlfriend Darcy Sears (blonde bombshell Ali Larter) dumped her injured boyfriend - first-string quarterback Lance Harbor (Paul Walker). She wore a strategically-placed whipped cream bikini to entice brainy jock and star back-up quarterback Jonathon "Mox" Moxon (Dawson Creek's James Van Der Beek), who was being coached by hard-driving and tyrannical Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight).
In another part of the debauched, formulaic comedy film, awash with breast, sex, gay, puke and drinking jokes, the football players took a night out at the local strip club, where they found that their sex-ed science teacher Miss Davis (Tonie Perensky) had a secret side-profession as a stripper.
In class, she had requested: "Now I want y'all to repeat after me: penis, penis, penis; vagina, vagina, vagina!" and then had them call out names and slang terms for aroused male genitals:
The Virgin Suicides (1999)
Director Sofia Coppola's mystery drama (her debut feature-length film) was set in an affluent Detroit suburb.
There was one pivotal scene on the nighttime football field in which beautiful Lux Lisbon (Kirsten Dunst) finally made love to high-school football player Trip Fontaine (Josh Harnett).
Post-coitally, he left her there to wake up alone, causing her restrictive Catholic parents, the Lisbons (Kathleen Turner and James Woods), to apply more pressure to their family, and ultimately making them partially responsible for the tragic demise of all of the adolescent girls.
Lux died from carbon monoxide fumes from the car in the garage, after stalling everyone so that her older sisters could all commit suicide too:
Earlier, 13 year-old Cecilia (Hanna R. Hall) had succeeded in her second suicide attempt by throwing herself from a second-story window onto the front yard's iron-spiked fence.
Lux (Kirsten Dunst) with
Trip (Josh Hartnett)
Volaverunt (1999, Fr./Sp.) (aka The Naked Maja)
Director Bigas Luna's film was based on a historical novel by Antonio Larreta, set during the rule of King Carlos IV, a Spanish ruler of the early 19th century.
It was a murder-mystery surrounding the untimely death of the Duchess of Alba (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón). Artist Francisco de Goya (Jorge Perugorria), who had recently painted her portrait, was implicated.
Penelope Cruz played the part of peasant girl Pepita Tudo, whose beauty was admired by the Prime Minister Manuel de Godey (Jordi Molla). He invited her to the royal court in Madrid, where she became his mistress and the subject of several of Goya's nude paintings, including the Naked Maja.
Walk on the Moon (1999)
Tony Goldwyn's nostalgic romantic drama told about the life of a married, frustrated Jewish mother of two, who was vacationing at a Catskills summer resort in the late 60s in upper New York state.
Pearl Kantrowitz (Diane Lane) engaged in a lustful extra-marital affair with traveling blouse salesman/hippie Walker Jerome (Viggo Mortensen).
She fulfilled her inner fantasies and was sexually-awakened at the Woodstock music festival with him - she made love to him under a waterfall and also stripped down wearing only body paint.
At the rock concert, she was also surprised by a chance meeting with her rebellious teenaged daughter Alison (Anna Paquin).
Web of Seduction (1999)
The film's poster tagline for this erotic thriller by writer/director Blain Brown, from Mystique Films and Playboy, asked the tantalizing question: "Sex. Money. Power. How Far Will You Go?"
The soft-core film starred lots of little-known, non-mainstream actresses, two in roles as wealthy, ignored housewives:
Two of the females, Jenni and Simone, were involved in a complex murder plot to kill each other's spouses - a lesbian twist on Hitchcock's suspenseful Strangers on a Train (1951).
However, the film basically was an excuse to show the idle, passion-seeking, seductive women in self-pleasuring scenes (in lounge chairs and a hot tub), Brandy's naked underwater masturbatory scene, one lesbian sex scene in a hot tub (Brandy and Jenni), a threesome sex scene (including Brandy and Simone), and various scenes of the women cheating on their husbands.
Jenni (Tracy Ryan) and
Brandy (Nancy O'Brien)
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