History of Sex in Cinema:
2006, Part 1
|Movie Title/Year and Film/Scene Description|
Alone With Her (2006)
Canadian writer/director Eric Nicholas' disturbing and creepy low-budget suspense thriller was about the invasion of privacy and voyeurism. The cautionary story was entirely shot with the POV of the protagonist's many store-bought video surveillance nanny-cams and listening devices, including an open-zippered camera bag concealing a camera, a 'body-cam' and numerous planted devices.
The film's prologue with a quote from David Wiseman of the US Department of Justice described the pervasive problem of stalking:
The skilled and intensely lonely, unemployed high-tech Los Angeles stalker Doug (Colin Hanks) was scouring beaches and other public areas to find objects of fetishistic scrutiny when he noticed a beautiful woman in the park with her Corgi dog Rocky. The sweaty, panting and flabby pervert saw that she had an emotional reaction to two lovers on the grass, and realized that she was his next vulnerable prey. He immediately became infatuated with getting to know her better. His victim was:
After placing devices in her apartment's foyer, bedroom, shower, bathroom, bed, and living room, the sociopathic, obsessive peeping tom monitored everything she did to learn her likes/dislikes. He orchestrated running into her at her neighborhood coffee shop, where he amazed her by 'coincidentally' having the same musical and movie interests. In one scene, he dozed at his computer monitor as she also went to sleep (he aimed one of his cameras on himself). His voyeuristic sessions included watching her showering and masturbating with her hair brush handle late one night - as he masturbated at his own monitor from a safe distance.
The jealous and sick predator insinuated himself into an artificial relationship, manipulating her to believe that he was a nice guy by helping her create an art website, and assisting her in selling her paintings. At the same time as things became more sinister, he stole her laptop computer, and sabotaged her other relationships with members of both sexes to alienate her (including scaring off suitor Matt (Jonathan Trent) by infecting Amy with poison ivy using infected Q-tips applied across her bedsheets). He helped Amy when she 'accidentally' injured herself on broken glass in the dark, in order to then turn around and rescue her as a knight in shining armor. And he faked a phone call to himself to avoid further scrutiny by Amy's suspicious best friend Jennifer (Jordana Spiro). Eventually, he found an opportunity to kill Jennifer by bashing her over the head in the park on a rainy night.
Another manufactured disaster was set up when he stole Amy's dog and then after a few days returned it. Amy was so overjoyed that she began to passionately make out with Doug, but he experienced impotency. She realized things weren't quite right and asked him to leave. He raged at her, asking her what she would be returning to in her needy life without him, and casually mentioning her brush (that she had used for self-pleasure).
Amy suddenly realized he couldn't possibly have known about her "brush" without spying on her, and she discovered one of the camera bugs next to her bed.
The film ended on an inevitable downer note when she tried to trick him into having tea and sitting down to talk to get to know him better, and her attempt to knock him out failed - and he overpowered her and strangled her to death on the living room floor. The shocking and riveting film ended on an even more disturbing note - the next winter, Doug was at it again, hunting down another female.
(Ana Claudia Talancon)
The Disturbing Finale
Alpha Dog (2006)
This film was a fact-based crime drama (about the Jesse James Hollywood case) from writer/director Nick Cassavetes.
It told about how Southern California drug dealer Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch), after being double-crossed in a deal by Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster), impulsively kidnapped Jake’s naive 15 year-old half-brother, Zack (Anton Yelchin), and took him to Palm Springs to be held as ransom.
Zack blindly enjoyed his captivity, drinking and doing drugs and having first-time sex with two party-girls in a pool skinny-dip scene playing Marco Polo ("This is your lucky night. Get in"):
The situation eventually escalated to tragedy and the murder of Zack.
In a scene with the most explicit nudity in the film, Johnny's girlfriend Angela Holden (Olivia Wilde) engaged in a hotel tryst with him - although he was pre-occupied with events in his life and couldn't perform even after attempted oral sex:
Julie (Amanda Seyfried)
and Alma (Amber Heard)
American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile (2006)
This gross-out teen sexploitation comedy was an inferior direct-to-video/DVD release (in both R-rated and Unrated versions). It was the fifth film in the long-running series franchise and the second direct-to-DVD pseudo-sequel release of American Pie Presents: films (following Band Camp (2005))
As with the other gross-out films, it was filled with scatological (and bodily fluids) humor -- and, of course lots of nudity.
The central sequence was its title event: a 10-minute Michigan university night-time streak-run in the all-together (with about 100 naked extras). The run was prefaced by a long, drawn-out, absolutely inane introduction by the race's founder Noah Levenstein (Eugene Levy):
The three main sorority girls involved in the naked mile race were:
The film's basic plot was an innocently sappy love story about two virgins (Erik Stifler (John White) and Tracy Sterling (Jessy Schram)) who eventually discovered that they were right for each other, although at one point next to a pool table, Erik was threatened with seduction and the loss of his virginity by a topless Brandy.
[Note: The next (and third) film in the series of four direct-to-DVD/video releases was American Pie Presents: Beta House (2007).]
Erik & Tracy
Earlier Scene of Brandy (Candace Kroslak) Attempting to Seduce Erik
Another Gay Movie (2006)
Writer/producer/director Todd Stephens' unrated (to avoid an NC-17 rating), outrageous coming-of-age gay comedy was a take-off of American Pie (1999) although taken to whole different level.
The film featured various forms of anal and oral sex, bodily functions and defecation, nudity, an explosive electronic genital stimulator, and graphic language. It opened with one of the main characters fantasizing that he was having sex with his equally-excited male San Torum HS math instructor on a lab table, as he masturbated in his bedroom with a carrot. His parents then shocked when they caught him with a collection of sex toys under his covers, with the husband commenting to his wife: "Well, I guess that's life with a gay son."
It told about four gay friends:
They planned on losing their "anal virginity" during the summer after San Torum's high-school graduation.
In one raunchy comedic scene, Andy had sex with a warmed-up quiche, at the same time that he had a cardboard TP roll up his butt with a twirling gerbil tail sticking out.
Art School Confidential (2006)
Terry Zwigoff's satirical and offbeat black comedy (or dramedy) about coming of age, with a screenplay by comic-book artist Daniel Clowes, had the tagline: "Who said anything about talent?" It told about an East Coast NYC art academy, named Strathmore Institute (based upon Pratt Institute in Brooklyn), that existed in a seedy section of the city.
The tale of a geeky romance at Strathmore was between:
Jerome had become obsessed and enamored with Audrey when she posed as a nude sketch model for his drawing class. [Note: There was also a scene with an older, naked male model named Leslie (Ezra Buzzington) posing for female students!] Early on, Jerome claimed that he wanted to be famous or recognized. He said he was an aspiring Picasso ("I want to be the next Picasso") who would benefit from the adulation ("Even though I am super short and bald, I am able to have sex with any beautiful woman I want just because I'm so great").
He was eager for acceptance and began to experiment with many artistic, more trendy styles to find a better fit and to increase his popularity with Audrey - although he began to lose his own individuality ("He is trying to sing in his own voice using someone else's vocal cords"). Jerome found himself romantically competing for Audrey against handsome Jonah (Matt Keeslar), another student-painter whose literal interpretation of art was taking the spotlight. [Note: Jonah was actually an undercover cop posing as an art student to entrap an on-campus slasher.] Jerome's roommates were:
He was taught by a visionary, self-promoting professor - the disinterested Professor "Sandy" Sandiford (John Malkovich), known for a series of misunderstood "triangle" paintings, and not very encouraging to the young art hopefuls ("Only 1 out of 100 of you will ever make a living as an artist").
Drunken, misanthropic, and cynical artist Jimmy (Jim Broadbent), an embittered graduate, had returned to the campus, and was living in a nearby tenement slum. Amidst crazy rants, he helped to mentor Jerome. He even asked Jerome at one point: "Are you a great artist when it comes to fellatio?"
By film's end, Jimmy was discovered to be the serial killer, who was creating violent paintings that revealed details of the crimes. He was lending his artwork to Jerome who was claiming that they were his own, leading to his arrest for the homicides and increasing his notoriety when he was obviously innocent.
Jerome's Sketch of Naked Audrey
Naked Male Model Leslie
Ask the Dust (2006)
Writer/director Robert Towne's noirish drama was filmed beautifully in sepia-tones by cinematographer Caleb Deschanel. It was adapted from John Fante's 1939 Depression Era novel, and was set in 1933 Los Angeles.
The film featured two major stars:
In the Bunker Hill area of LA, Arturo found himself after five months almost penniless (and unable to pay his hotel room rent) when his attempt to write the last great Los Angeles novel was failing. The two first met in the diner where she served him coffee (in exchange for "his last nickel"), and they started showing contempt and antagonism for one another immediately.
Their romance blossomed on a deserted beach where both went skinny-dipping at night in the rough ocean surf (and showed full-frontal nudity) and in a rented beach bungalow in Laguna Beach where they participated in a lengthy and erotic love-making scene. [Note: This scene was dubiously honored as the "Best Nude Scene" in a 2006 film by the MrSkin.com website.]
By the film's tragic ending, Camilla died a lingering death of tuberculosis while coughing up blood.
Arturo (Colin Farrell) with Camilla (Salma Hayek)
Babel (2006, Fr./US/Mex.)
In this Best Picture-nominated film composed of parallel tales, one of the actresses was challenged with numerous scenes of nudity to express her budding sexuality:
In one of the film's scenes, she portrayed full-frontal nudity when as an exhibitionist school girl in uniform, she flirtatiously flashed her "real hairy monster" twice to a nearby table of boys in the cafeteria, by opening her legs under the table.
In another scene, she was disrobed fully nude and seductively threw herself at a handsome young policeman investigating her mother's suicidal death in her father's apartment - she guided his left hand to her right breast.
Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi)
Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction (2006)
This critically-lambasted, belated sequel by director Michael Caton-Jones (originally subtitled Risk Addiction) found the now 47 year-old Sharon Stone character (ice-pick suspected murderess and novelist Catherine Tramell) living in London where she was being treated by psychiatrist Dr. Michael Glass (David Morrissey). As in the previous film, the male fell for her game of seduction.
The R-rated US version was full of sexy (mostly vulgar) dialogue, an orgy scene, a nude rooftop hot-tub scene, and an over-hyped rough sex scene involving erotic asphyxiation. Fifteen minutes of footage was edited out of the film (including a menage a trois scene) to avoid an NC-17 rating.
Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone)
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
Not to be confused with the animal rights documentary about the Animal Liberation Front, this Scott Glosserman-directed comedy horror/thriller contained one of the most gratuitous (self-admitted) nude scenes of all time. It was a clever hybrid documentary (along the lines of The Blair Witch Project (1999)) and horror slasher film about "heir apparent" fictional serial killer Leslie Vernon/Mancuso (Nathan Baesel) in the quiet and small town of Glen Echo in Maryland.
A male film crew (Doug Johnson (Ben Pace) and Todd Best (Britain Spellings)), led by aspiring grad student WUSA-TV intern/interviewer Taylor Gentry (Angela Goethals) with a unisex name, was allowed to follow Leslie to record a behind-the-scenes look (a film-within-a-film) at how he made extensive plans to stalk and kill his prey - for a "slasher night."
The story deconstructed each of the archetypes (e.g., "Survivor Girl" or "Ahab") and cliched conventions (innocent virgin armed with a Freudian-phallic weapon, slut, stoner, jock, etc.) of the contrived horror film sub-genre (with frequent references to three main horror/slasher icons whose masks brought death: Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and Jason Voorhees, their methods and locales, ie., Camp Crystal Lake, Elm Street, Haddonfield, etc.).
Leslie explained how to prepare a murder scene, set up traps, and discussed the symbolism of various weapons. Retired psycho-serial killer Eugene (Scott Wilson) and sausage enthusiast served as Leslie's mentor. Kelly Curtis was selected as Leslie's primary target or "Survivor Girl" - a young, blond-haired, supposedly "virginal" woman who worked at a diner, and old librarian Mrs. Collinwood (Zelda Rubenstein) (named after the character in The Last House on the Left) was chosen as the "red herring" victim.
When Leslie's bearded ex-psychiatrist Doc Halloran (Robert Englund) (named after a character in The Shining (1980), but patterned after Donald Pleasence in the Halloween films) entered the picture as his pursuing male protagonist "Ahab," and Taylor tried to uncover Leslie's real hidden agenda, the film changed. Characters soon learned that they were actually Leslie's victims in the film's last third, or "slasher act" occurring at the long-abandoned Vernon farmhouse. The virginal Taylor finally realized that she had always been intended as Leslie's "Survivor Girl" - not Kelly, to face Leslie and kill him. Taylor succeeded in crushing Leslie's head with an apple crusher, then doused the barn with gasoline and set it ablaze. As surviving Taylor, Todd, and Doc watched the consuming fire, Todd asked: "What was he?" Doc responded: "Just a man. He was just a man."
During the end credits, footage from a security camera at the morgue showed the charred body of Leslie ominously sitting upwards on an autopsy slab table in front of a mortician - he had feigned death by slathering his body with a flame-retardant gel (Preparation H).
The one guilty pleasure scene was one in which blonde Lauren (Krissy Carlson with a body double) was making out, and allowed her zip-front top to be opened, and her teenaged boyfriend to massage her breasts. The voice-over dialogue commented:
Lauren (Krissy Carlson)
Black Book (2006, Netherlands) (aka Zwartboek)
Director/co-writer Paul Verhoeven's dramatic war-time thriller contained so much graphic nudity that it spurred an R-rating.
In flashback, it told about a Jewish singer named Rachel Stein (29 year-old Dutch actress Carice van Houten) who was able to seek revenge for the ambush-trap massacre of her family by vicious Nazi officer Gunther Franken (Waldemar Kobus).
She infiltrated into the Gestapo's WWII headquarters in Nazi-occupied Netherlands while involved with the Dutch Resistance movement. She changed her name to Ellis de Vries and disguised herself as a blonde to appear more German - even dying her pubic hair with blonde hair-dye in front of a full-length mirror.
"Ellis" orchestrated her meeting of Gestapo SS officer Ludwig Muntze (Sebastian Koch) on a train and in his office provided him with some stamps for his collection, and asked seductively: "If you see anything you like, you can take it." She became his mistress and slowly fell in love with him, although at one point when he suspiciously accused her of being Jewish, she defused his allegations by putting his hands on her breasts and then on her hips and asking twice, teasingly: "Are these Jewish?" When he first viewed her blonde pubic hair, he complimented her, noting: "Also blonde. You're a perfectionist."
While taking a pee break down the hall after having sex with Muntze, her lusty, opportunistic, fun-loving compatriot Ronnie (Halina Reijn) showed off Ellis' breasts to her fat German sex partner Franken, bragging: "Now that's what I call healthy" but added: "Reserved for Hauptsturmfuhrer Muntze."
While sleeping with the enemy, "Ellis" gradually fell in love with Muntze, although he still questioned whether she was a spy or not - at one point, holding a gun on her under the sheet at crotch level, prompting her to smile and ask: "What have we got here?" When he held the gun barrel next to her nipple, she convinced him of her sincerity by informing on Franken's duplicity.
In the film's climax, a stripped Ellis/Rachel was whipped, disgraced and humiliated when a large bucket of human excrement was poured down onto her by the victorious resistance movement that thought she was a traitorous "Nazi bitch."
Rachel/Ellis & Ronnie
(Carice van Houten)
Black Snake Moan (2006)
Writer/director Craig Brewer's dirty, visceral and raw Southern drama was about redemption and guilt. Its two main characters were:
Lazarus was grieving from a recent breakup in his marriage, and took it upon himself to care for Rae.
Early in the film, Rae cheated on her absent boyfriend/fiancee Ronnie (pop star Justin Timberlake) who was away for military training. To cure her "itch," she found sex in a hotel room and then on a bluish-lit football field while wearing shoulder pads amidst used plastic drink cups. When the pads were removed, she said:
Lazarus found Rae bruised and abandoned by the side of the road.
He chained the scantily-clad female (wearing a ripped and cut-off T-shirt with a Confederate flag and shorts) to his radiator to keep her from straying and so he could save her from her promiscuous afflictions - and likewise save himself.
When a teenaged black errand boy appeared, she removed her loosely-cropped top to jump into his arms and seduce him.
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
This faux documentary's centerpiece was the lengthy, nervously-funny sequence - the humorous precursor to the lengthy naked fight scene in Cronenberg's Eastern Promises (2007).
The title character - obtuse, ill-mannered, anti-Semitic Kazakhstan TV journalist Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen), jealously caught his own overweight and hairy producer-cinematographer Azamat Bagatov (Ken Davitian) masturbating over a picture of Baywatch's "goddess" Pamela Anderson. She was the lifeguard character C.J. (Borat was obsessed over traveling to Los Angeles to meet her). He shouted at his partner: "How dare you make hand-party over Pamela?", and they began to wrestle naked in their hotel room.
During their epic fight, their genitals were continually blocked out by black squares. After they ended up in an embarrassing '69' position (and Azamat threatened to crush his weight into Borat's face: "Eat my asshole!"), their struggle eventually left the hotel room when they entered the hallway and elevator (with other shocked guests).
They emerged into the lobby and ended on the stage of a mortgage brokers' annual banquet-seminar/convention.
The Break-Up (2006)
A lot of hype was generated over this PG-13 romantic comedy involving two main characters - a one-time ex-couple:
The film was most noted for Aniston's implied nudity scene in which she walked from their downtown condo's bedroom to the kitchen and back while naked to show off her newly-waxed genital area after a 'Telly Savalas' beauty treatment. Vaughn's head and other objects purposely blocked the view or the shots were blurry.
William Friedkin's intensely disturbing psychological thriller, based upon Tracy Letts's 2004 off-Broadway play, starred two characters - lost souls who became horrifically bonded in a rural motel apartment room:
During their first love-making, the artsy cinematography lingered on the saliva-thread of a kiss, and provided a large closeup of a sweaty female breast. After they made love in her bed, he believed that he was becoming infested with bugs (he claimed there were "rogue aphids" in his bloodstream, and egg sacs under his skin). To rid the problem, he bought cans of bug spray and hung bug strips in the room.
Eventually, he extracted what he thought were infested teeth from his mouth with a pair of pliers - he claimed the bugs were hiding behind his fillings. One of his fantasies was that a helicopter was hovering over the room, although it was just the ceiling fan. She was also crazed by the thought of her missing son Lloyd, who was last seen in a grocery store shopping cart a few years earlier. Sharing their delusions, they both became violently paranoid and mad in a frenzy of delusional thinking, believing that Peter was an experimental drone, and Agnes was the mother queen bug.
In the feverishly mad conclusion, they completely wrapped the blue-lit room (with hanging bug-zapping lanterns) in tin-foil - Peter ranted about how he was part of a government/military conspiracy that had implanted every human born after 1982 with a computer chip - a microchip that would cause some of the test subjects to become killer zombies, like Timothy McVeigh. They decided to douse the entire room, and their naked bodies, with gasoline to prevent the spread of infection.
In the erotic and violent climax, the two desperate souls reciprocally told each other: "I love you" and then struck a match to cause an engulfing inferno in the room.
Agnes White (Ashley Judd) with Peter (Michael Shannon)
Candy (2006, Australia)
Director Neil Armfield's debut film was this harrowing R-rated romantic drama, similar to the anti-drug Requiem for a Dream (2000) (although less flashy). It told about a love-story that quickly spun out of control, with the tagline:
The couple's relationship descended into a self-destructive life of drug addiction to heroin.
The well-traversed tale was adapted from Australian author Luke Davies's aptly-titled Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction. The plot was divided into three predictable Biblical segments: Heaven, Earth, and Hell - a literal fall from Eden.
In his first film since Brokeback Mountain (2005), Heath Ledger starred as part-time, bohemian life-styled poet and schemer Ed, co-starring with Abbie Cornish as sweet and lovely artistic painter Candy. In the first part of the film, the exuberant, lustful, and ecstatic love of the two carefree young lovers for each other was also fueled by their love of drugs. They found themselves borrowing and stealing money from relatives, pawning their possessions, and then they became more desperate and despairing. [Geoffrey Rush co-starred as their enabler Casper, a hedonistic homosexual, gifted chemistry professor and fellow junkie who cooked up heroin for them in his lab.]
Their abusive lives, after taking a downward spiral, became more gritty, bleak and real in "Earth" when dirty blonde-haired Candy prostituted herself for drugs and rent money, and Ed tried scamming, identity theft and robbery. Candy experienced a still-born birth, and both went through agonizing suffering from withdrawal symptoms. The film's bittersweet ending revealed that their relationship was mostly based on their heroin addiction, and the two broke up.
Candy (Abbie Cornish)
Cashback (2006, UK)
The first feature film of writer/director Sean Willis was this low-budget British romantic comedy with lots of nudity (some criticized as gratuitous). It was based upon his own 2006 Oscar-nominated live-action short film from 2004.
It told about art student Ben Willis (Sean Biggerstaff) who suffered from intense insomnia and had recently broken up with his girlfriend Suzy (Michelle Ryan). He had an ability to freeze time (in his rich fantasy world) - which was put to good use when he took a job as a late-night clerk in a Sainsbury's supermarket:
In a flashback, he explained how his "fascination with beauty" began when he was a young boy at six or seven and observed a pretty, unprudish, late-teenaged Swedish foreign student (model Hayley-Marie Coppin) in his home who walked naked from the shower up the stairs (in slow-motion) as he described it:
When she dropped her panties and he returned them ("You dropped these"), she stood there next to the opened door as he gazed at her beauty.
He would undress pretty female market shoppers in frozen poses so that, unnoticed, he could observe them artistically as "still life" figures and then sketch their portraits, but return them to life by cracking his finger joints. The women who were erotically undressed were flawless, perfectly proportioned and fashion-magazine model-types (including Irene Bagach, Christine Fuller, and Keeley Hazell - a famous British Page 3 Girl and natural glamour model).
Also included in the film was a scene during check-out with a "Busty Customer" (Natalie Denning) who bought two suggestively-shaped shampoo bottles to be used as sex toys.
Also as a young boy, he described his first shocking view of a men's magazine (Hustler) with female nudes:
Shortly later, a neighbor girl named Natalie would show her privates for "50 p" a peek to all the neighborhood boys who lined up outside her garage. Also as a boy, he had a crush on pretty schoolmate Tanya Green and asked her to be his girlfriend. While in the store, he pursued a romantic connection with blonde checkout clerk Sharon (Emilia Fox) ("In her eyes, I could see the world").
Casino Royale (2006, UK)
In stark contrast to the previous James Bond films, the "reboot" Casino Royale (2006) was sexually exploitative of the new James Bond (Daniel Craig), rather than of the archetypal "Bond Girls."
Bond revealed far more flesh than his fully-clothed female foils, including an obvious reference to Ursula Andress' entrance in Dr. No (1962), with Bond emerging from Bahama's waters in skimpy bikini briefs while ogled by women.
There was also the infamous sexual torture and questioning scene in which villain Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) strapped Bond naked to an open-bottomed cane chair and swung a heavy, knotted rope to strike Bond's testicles, in order to extract a password to a bank account to retrieve millions of funds after he had lost a high-stakes poker game. Bond defiantly taunted Le Chiffre while in excruciating pain:
James Bond (Daniel Craig)
Gratuitous nudity was prominent in this foul-mouthed R-rated action-thriller from the directing duo of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. [Note: The film's action-thriller sequel was Crank: High Voltage (2009) (aka Crank 2).]
In one memorable scene, poison-injected professional hitman Chev Chelios (Jason Stratham) proposed making love to his astonished and initially-resistant girlfriend Eve Lydon (Amy Smart) on the pavement of a crowded Chinatown street in Los Angeles (in front of a crowd of onlookers), in order to keep his heart pumping ("Save my life!").
She finally assented encouragingly:
He forcibly placed her over a newspaper vending machine and took her from behind while crying "I'm alive!" Their sexual encounter was broken off when he received a phone call, alerting him to the whereabouts of his rival.
In another high-speed car chase sequence, Eve delivered oral sex (off-screen) to Chev as he was driving and combating rivals, to keep him revived.
Eve Lydon (Amy Smart)
This explicit portmanteau film was composed of a patchwork of seven different short erotic arthouse films (of varying lengths and video/film formats) about pornography and how sex is represented.
It included the works of directors Marina Abramovic, Matthew Barney, Marco Brambilla, Larry Clark, Gaspar Noe, Richard Prince, and Sam Taylor-Wood. The film premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
Balkan Erotic Epic
The Exterminating Angels (2006, Fr.) (aka Les Anges Exterminateurs)
Director/writer auteur Jean-Claude Brisseau's hard-core, titillating, quasi-confessional erotic tale (titled as homage to Luis Bunuel's film Exterminating Angel (1962)) came about as a result of the sexual harrassment suits brought against him by actresses after his earlier arthouse film Secret Things (2002, Fr.) (aka Choses Secretes). The film featured no male genitals, penetration, or close-up shots, although it had a steamy collection of semi hard-core sex scenes throughout.
In this film, aging, 60-ish writer/director François (Frédéric Van Den Driessche) was given a cautionary warning by his grandmother's spirit in the film's opening: "You have to watch out for yourself. You have always been too curious, but this time you might set off the infernal machine," before he was visited repeatedly by two mysterious, renegade "fallen angels" (Rapha Godin and Margaret Zenou) in tight black tank tops who whispered asides to him and directed his fate.
During a private filmed audition in a Parisian hotel bedroom, one of the director's actresses Virginie (Virginie Legeay) confessed that she had a real orgasm when she simulated masturbation for him during a screen test for a thriller - it was her first ("I never had an orgasm until today...Rubbing myself in front of you was already an exciting taboo...and it was all very exciting, a learning experience, a bit like a revelation about my forbidden self").
This confession prompted the director to make an experimental film a few years later, to explore further into "female pleasure and transgressing taboos" and the dynamics of sexual power plays and politics. The director's goal was to voyeuristically capture a look of uninhibited pleasure as female actresses abandoned themselves in orgasm.
He then auditioned others in video tests willing to arouse themselves on camera (without a male partner, but possibly to include lesbian sex) "to test an actresses' sensuality," but many refused to do a nude scene, although tall blonde Julie (Lise Bellynck) accommodated him.
In a crowded restaurant scene, neurotic 21 year-old brunette Charlotte (Maroussia Dubreuil) proposed a "game" and touched herself under the table as waiflike waitress Stéphanie (Marie Allan) watched and became visibly excited, and Julie joined them at the table and also participated ("This is a terrific moment").
The scene moved from there to the hotel next door, where the two females mutually pleasured themselves as François viewed them. Afterwards, Charlotte flippantly said after the hot screen test: "We work and come at the same time. Life should always be like this. I never felt pleasure like this."
François discovered that sex with his astonished wife (Sophie Bonnet) was enlivened by his erotic tests with the two women ("After which you f--ked me like you haven't f--ked me in ages"). However, she prophetically warned him:
Afterwards, the waitress Stéphanie also auditioned, telling him beforehand about her ultimate fantasy and proposing to participate in his screen test in a hotel room: "I see myself making love to three men, maybe even five...Six in a bedroom, me in the middle, if possible blindfolded...Allow me to live out my dreams." After she stripped, she told him as she masturbated herself: "I love to masturbate for you. I love you watching me. Film me" and then encouraged the other two girls, Charlotte and Julie, who arrived to join her for a very sensual, lesbian love-making threesome. Again, his wife rightfully cautioned: "You're headed for a brick wall and you don't know it. With me, as well."
The film went in a downward spiral on the set when Charlotte became mad and screamed: "I'm the devil's beloved," and Stéphanie accused him of using them during the film's tests. After the two actresses were fired, he found replacements for them for filming, and when filming wrapped, Julie disappeared. François narrated in voice-over:
He was arrested "on charges of harassing Charlotte and Stéphanie...the absurdity of it all." He also found himself abandoned by his wife for betraying him, and then during a chance encounter with Julie, she told him about her intense love for him during the filming: "It was powerful, deep...you set off such intense, deep things. That's why it all ended badly."
Inevitably, he was physically attacked by black-hooded thugs (protectors of Stéphanie?) wielding a baseball bat who severely injured him for life (incapacitating him and forcing him to exist in a wheelchair), as his departed grandmother had foreseen.
"Fallen Angels" (Rapha Godin and Margaret Zenou)
Charlotte (Maroussia Dubreuil) and Julie
Charlotte and Julie
Stephanie (Marie Allan)
Threesome: Stéphanie, Charlotte, and Julie
Factory Girl (2006)
Director George Hickenlooper's R-rated biopic portrayed the life of iconic Andy Warhol's pop diva Edie Sedgwick (Sienna Miller) in the 1960s. Rather than a true documentary, this film was conceived as a full-fledged drama, poorly paced. The real-life story of Edie, Warhol's superstar 'Factory Girl', was indeed brief and tragic.
The off-screen personal life of Sienna Miller seen in the tabloids (her on/off relationship with Jude Law) was somewhat mirrored in the film.
The screenplay by Captain Mauzner was often overacted and overloaded with shifting film stock (grainy b/w and color), split-screens, in-camera views, voice-overs and flashbacks, jerky and blurry hand-held images, other stylistic features, and a rock music soundtrack. The impressionistic film also featured a few cameos (i.e., Jimmy Fallon, Mena Suvari, Mary-Kate Olsen). It was notable that Bob Dylan threatened to sue the film-makers for the unflattering portrayal of himself, and its veiled insinuation that he was responsible for Sedgwick's death.
The cautionary psychodrama opened with a title card, a quote from Warhol:
The film was book-ended and interleaved with Sedgwick reflecting on her past, in voice-over, while she was in rehab at the Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California (her birthplace) in 1970. She explained how a palm reader froze during her analysis, realizing that her lifeline was broken. Edie admitted: "I know I won't live past 30." Some background on Edie's life before her Warhol days was revealed:
In the Manhattan social scene in early 1965, the gamine-featured, self-absorbed, chain-smoking socialite and hedonistic party girl with a quirky personality became acquainted with famed pop artist Andy Warhol (Guy Pearce), portrayed as a one-dimensional, emotionally-detached character. [Her father Fuzzy called Warhol a "full-blown queer."] She became a bohemian regular at Warhol's loft studio named The Factory with other Warholites. With him, the glamorous Edie made the rounds of parties and gallery openings and boosted his fame.
During her first introduction to the Factory, she met topless drug user Brigid Polk (Tara Summers) and her male companion Ondine. She was working on an entire book with drawings of cocks - Ondine offered a sketch of his own cock. Other expressive, individualistic, non-conformist and odd characters ("fringe elements") included gay men, bisexuals, drag queens, drug addicts, hustlers, and various groupies. Her Factory associates urged her to begin experimentation with drugs (via needles).
She collaborated with Warhol on several of his crudely-made underground movies, including "Horse," "Vinyl" and a starring role in "Beauty Number Two." She became the "Queen of Underground Cinema." When they first met, Warhol had told her: "Just be yourself" to which she laughingly quipped: "Well, which one?"
And then about 40 minutes into the film, she met folk rock poet, harmonica-playing singer/songwriter Billy Quinn (Hayden Christensen), aka The Musician (a character based on Bob Dylan, or possibly on Dylan's friend Bob Neuwirth). This created a conflicted and confused love triangle. Quinn and Edie were briefly romantically involved - in the first of their two love-making scenes, in front of a crackling fireplace, it was rumored that the two hip-locked, thrusting performers (Christensen and Miller) had unsimulated sexual intercourse.
Truth-telling, contemptuous Quinn told her that despite her glamorous lifestyle, fame and fortune, her heart was empty with Warhol: "Got the whole world on a string, don't you? But inside there, well, it's as empty as your friend's soup can." He was convinced that Andy was a bad influence:
They separated over their different views of Warhol (and soon afterwards, the folk singer married an upstate woman named Tricia Barry). Edie recalled her breakup with Quinn: "It was the biggest mistake of my life. He was the first and the last person that I ever loved like that...When he and I were together, it felt perfect."
Things went from bad to worse in the predictable self-destructive melodrama, as Edie lost everything in a downward spiral of depression, regret, and overspending. She resorted to promiscuity (to pay for her rampant drug addiction), and allowed herself to be filmed naked and taken advantage of, in exchange for drugs. Warhol coldly replaced Edie with another blonde superstar named Ingrid (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and ignored Edie's phone calls - their relationship deteriorated, capped off when she accused Warhol of ruining her life and career at a luncheon. She almost perished in a fire due to a drug-induced stupor, and was treated for first degree burns at Lenox Hospital.
Afterwards, while staying in an apartment at the Chelsea Hotel, she phoned fashion designer and editor Diana Vreeland (Illeana Douglas), who told her bluntly that her reputation as a "vulgar" drug user lost her a modeling contract: "We're afraid we can't sign you right now, darling...The board feels, they feel Andy Warhol's mise-en-scene - it's become too seedy. The drugs, darling, the riff-raff. The patina is damaged. They think you've become vulgar."
The film fast-forwarded to her last days, when she was hospitalized and receiving therapy in Santa Barbara (her home), and thinking back about her past bad decision making, and claiming that she could overcome her addiction: "I'm not saying that anyone else is responsible. I made decisions, life decisions that I regret. But I really feel like I can do this. I can stay off the drugs and I realize that it will be a battle every day, but so far so good, right? But I'm home. Santa Barbara is my home."
The closing caption explained the last few years of her life in 1968, when in Santa Barbara, she struggled to control her drug dependency. She was released from Cottage Hospital for the last time in the summer of 1970. A year later, she married a fellow patient (Michael Post), which ended in less than four months that fall when she died of an accidental drug overdose. She was 28 years old in 1971 when she died.
An interview with the real Andy Warhol in November of 1971 included his detached reaction to her death:
During the closing credits, Edie's brother Jonathan, author George Plimpton and other acquaintances reminisced about her character.
Edie with Billy Quinn
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