History of Sex in Cinema:
The Greatest and Most Influential
Sexual Films and Scenes


1998, Part 1

The History of Sex in Cinema
Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Film/Scene Description

B. Monkey (1998, UK/US)

Miramax's little-seen crime and romance thriller by director Michael Radford (his follow-up film to Il Postino (1994)) was taglined: "Angel By Day, Armed & Dangerous By Night." Even after being recut and reshot, the Miramax film - a cross between Jonathan Demme's Something Wild (1986) and Tony Scott's True Romance (1993), did very poorly at the box-office.

The main character was:

  • Beatrice (Asia Argento), colloquially known as B. Monkey for the monkey tattooed on her shoulder (Note: the tattooed actress was the daughter of Italy's horror film master Dario Argento)

She was frequently completely naked, portraying an Italian jewel thief practicing her trade in London.

The underworld boss mobster was Frank Rice (Tim Woodward), and her partners-in-crime were a gay couple:

  • Paul Neville (Rupert Everett), a jaded pot-smoker
  • Bruno (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), Beatrice-obsessed, the gang's getaway driver

Uncharacteristically, she fell in love with Alan Furnace (Jared Harris), a geeky, middle-class elementary school teacher (who also moonlighted as a hospital PA system jazz DJ who loved Django Reinhardt records).

She straddled two worlds while being sexually attracted to the mild-mannered London school-teacher (who became impotent the first time she proposed making love) when they fled to the Yorkshire countryside, but then she was haunted by her past life.

B. Monkey
(Asia Argento)

Dark Confessions (1998, Czech./Canada) (aka Chained Heat III: No Holds Barred)

European director/producer Lloyd Simandl made this sequel, one of so-called "Czechsploitation" women-imprisoned films - a direct-to-video release that was not to be confused with Chained Heat 3: Hell Mountain (1998). It was preceded in the series by:

  • Chained Heat (1983), d. Paul Nicholas, starring Linda Blair, Sybil Danning, Stella Stevens and Tamara Dobson
  • Chained Heat II (1993), d. Lloyd A. Simandl, starring Brigitte Nielsen
  • Chained Heat 3: Hell Mountain (1998), d. Mike Rohl, starring Nicole Nieth and Kate Rodger

[Note: All of the sequels to Chained Heat (1983) bore little resemblance to the original film.]

This film's 91 minute plot opened with a view of a sinister European monastery (with hooded monks) known as Benedictus House (with the motto: "Where the running stops and New Life begins"). Inside, a group of pretty females was being held hostage - the monks bound them by their hands and collared them (marked with numbers to identify them). Obviously, they were sexually-enslaved, dominated, and indentured in order to serve the pleasure of others.

After the opening credits, young American female Angeline (Kate Rodger) (called Angelica repeatedly in the film) was making love to her boyfriend Peter (Ljubo Tomanovic), but was interrupted by a phone call. She decided to vacation in Europe with her girlfriend Jennifer (Lisha Snelgrove). Driving in Europe, they were pulled over for speeding by an ominous, black-booted blonde police officer - later revealed to be villainous Erica (Rene Riffel). They were ordered out of the vehicle, subsequently falsely jailed for driving a stolen car, and then sexually violated by other jailed male inmates.

They were able to escape from the sleazy jailer Ludwig (Richard Toth) by shooting him in the leg. As escaped fugitives heading for the border in a car (without enough gas), they were being tracked so that they could be easily caught by morning. Erica had orchestrated an illicit kidnapping/set-up scheme with Ludwig and Brother Benedict (Andrew McIlroy) at the monastery to entrap a number of female refugees, detainees and runaways and then enslave them and sell them off if they met his standards ("of the highest caliber"). Meanwhile at the monastery, six newly-arrived females were being voyeuristically stripped, viewed and rated by Brother Benedict.

The two American escapees were apprehended in a wooded area and brought to the monastery by Erica, after she shot Ludwig in the back for attempted rape of Angelica. (Angelica was framed for Erica's murder of Ludwig. She wanted to silence him about her scheming and prevent him from blackmailing her.) Jennifer was threatened by the lesbian-leaning Erica: "We can be friends or we can be enemies." Angelica was also restrained and drugged and began to suffer from hallucinations (she briefly 'imagined' that Erica was making love to her boyfriend Peter - an IMPORTANT plot point). Erica converted Jennifer to her way of thinking, cooperation and implicit brain-washing with the threat: "Defy me and you suffer the consequences. Obey me and reap the benefits."

(l to r): Angelica (Kate Rodger), Jennifer (Lisha Snelgrove) - Jailed
Escape From Jail
Femme Fatale Mastermind Erica (Rene Riffel)

A formal cocktail party was held for exclusive wealthy buyers (male and female) to interact with the 'slave-girls' - before the film's most memorable scene - a slave auction sequence. Brother Benedict and Erica described the transactions as the monastery's outreach, functioning as an employment "placement agency." Each of the female 'products' was offered for sale (each sale was a one-year employment contract), with a minimum reserve bid of $25,000 dollars. In the auction area, each female dropped her robe to reveal full nakedness, then was forced to slowly walk down a runway as bidders ogled them and competed via live bidding. Jennifer was purchased by a gray-bearded, wheel-chaired gentleman (Ludvik Macak) (and lady) for an enormous sum, and later dressed as a schoolgirl for his sexual pleasure. And then he watched as she whipped his nude lady companion - a weird and kinky S&M sequence.

[Note: Various versions toned down the nudity and violence (whipping). The UK video version cut out the full frontal nudity during the white slavery auction. The sex scenes were also toned down (especially the lesbian scenes).]

High-Priced Auction Runway Bidding
(Lisha Snelgrove)
(Petra Spindlerová)
Personal Physical Inspections by Senora Verde (Tina Leiu/Wiseman)

In her spare time, Erica also took some of her slaves to her bed, such as Lili.

Erica (Rene Riffel) with Lili (Eva Aichmajerova/Eva Decastelo)

The film ended with the resistant Angelica's escape from her jail-cell dungeon, and her confrontation outside the monastery by the Baroness while stealing her car. The Baroness complimented her: "I could use someone with your survival instinct," but Angelica rejected the offer and fled into the adjoining woods. After her recapture, however, Angelica was brought back and given the opportunity to make love with the Baroness, and they had a lengthy lesbian love scene. The next morning, the Baroness 'purchased' Angelica and they drove off together. It was Angelica's opportunity to escape a few miles down the road - she kicked the chauffeur-driver unconscious and fled from the vehicle.

In the twist ending, when Angelica returned home, she found Peter murdered in his bed. Erica appeared and expressed her revenge: "The Baroness is very upset and so am I." Angelica was taken back to Europe and the monastery, where Erica (in voice-over) announced to a blind-folded Angelica: "So, why don't we start from the beginning? You had a fight with Peter when you found out he'd been sleeping with your best friend. So you came back here and murdered him in his sleep."

Supposedly, Angelica's best friend was Erica - who had been cheating on her. When Angelica found out, she vengefully killed her boyfriend. The only part of the film that seemed real was Angelica's earlier 'hallucination' about Erica - everything else was her dream-fantasy!

Benedictus House

Opening Scene: Angelica (Kate Rodger) Making Love to Boyfriend Peter

Newly-Arrived Females at the Monastery

One of the New Females Inspected by Brother Benedict

Clothed Lesbian Seduction Sequence: Angelica with the Baroness (Katerina Kornová)

Edge of Seventeen (1998)

Director David Moreton's (debut feature film) and screenwriter Todd Stephens' semi-autobiographical, unrated, nostalgic gay coming-of-age arthouse film was set in Sandusky, Ohio in the year 1984.

It told about the sexual initiation and evolution of the relationship between a high school senior and a co-worker:

  • Eric Hunter (Chris Stafford), a nerdy, naive 17 year-old senior
  • Rod (Andersen Gabrych), a flirty bleached-blonde, openly gay Ohio State college student who was Eric's co-worker at the Grub Wagon amusement-park fast-food restaurant

In a very frank and explicit scene set in a motel, Eric experienced sexual awakening through an awkward and clumsy physical coupling with Rod and then was left after their quick one-night stand and summer fling.

Even after discovering his gayness, Eric pursued an unsatisfying romantic relationship with his best female friend Maggie (Tina Holmes) and eventually "came out," frequented the local gay bar, and changed his physical appearance with bleached hair, mascara, and an androgynous look.

Gia (1998) (TV)

Director Michael Cristofer's provocative HBO made-for-cable TV to video film was a dramatic biopic about one of the first US supermodels whose tragic career rose and swiftly fell with her 1986 death at the age of 26 due to AIDS (from an infected needle). The film was released in various versions, including an unrated one (with an additional six minutes of sexually explict footage).

It included passionate lesbian love games between two females in NYC:

  • Gia Maria Carangi (Golden Globe award-winning Angelina Jolie), a doomed, wild, self-destructive, Philadelphia-born native, bi-sexual cover girl, sexually-aggressive
  • Linda (Elizabeth Mitchell), a photographer's assistant make-up artist, conflicted about her bi-sexuality

There was a subtly provocative scene in which Gia wore her boyfriend's briefs underwear.

After being together, a fully nude Gia attempted to stop Linda from leaving and pursued her into the hallway naked. She asked: "What happened? What's the matter?" Linda only remarked: "You don't have any clothes on." Gia quickly replied: "Don't change the subject." Linda confessed: "I have a boyfriend...so, I have to go." In her inimitable manner, Gia quipped: "Where the f--k does everybody go when they have to go, huh?" Linda then admitted: "I'm really very square." Gia promised to make breakfast for Linda if she didn't go. The elevator door behind Linda opened, and a startled gentleman in the lift asked: "Going down?"

Three Daring Scenes
Naked Fashion-Shoot Behind a Chain-Link Fence
Naked Full-Body Kissing
Shared Shower Sequence

The film ended with Gia's death, and her voice-over narration (with words from her own journal) as she got up and walked toward the camera:

"Life and death, energy and peace. If I stop today, it was still worth it. Even the terrible mistakes that I have made and would have unmade if I could. The pains that have burned me and scarred my soul. It was worth it, for having been allowed to walk where I've walked, which was to Hell on Earth, Heaven on Earth, back again, into, under, far in between, through it, in it, and above."

(Angelina Jolie)

The Girl of Your Dreams (1998, Sp.) (aka La Niña de Tus Ojos)

This Spanish film production from director Fernando Trueba was based on the true story of the events that occurred during the filming of Carmen, La De Triana (1938) (aka Carmen, the Girl from Triana) and Andalusische Nächte (1938) (aka Nights in Andalusia). In reality, both films, funded by Spain's dictator Franco during the Spanish Civil War, starred actress Imperio Argentina and were made by Spanish film companies at UFA Studios in Nazi Germany (during the Spanish Revolution).

In the comedy-drama film, Spanish film-makers in UFA Studios in Berlin were making two versions (one Spanish, one German) of the Andalusian musical 'The Girl of Your Dreams' with sexy Andalusian star-actress Macarena Granada (Penelope Cruz). She had accepted the role after the producer promised to try and get her anarchist father out of jail.

Macarena Granada (Penelope Cruz)

She was sleeping with the director Blas Fontiveros (Antonio Resines), but then caught the eye of lustful, evil Nazi Minister for Propaganda Joseph Goebbels (Johannes Silberschneider), whom she needed to pacify in order to get the Spanish version of the film completed. When she stripped for Goebbels and allowed him to kiss her breasts, he was knocked over the head (from behind) with a revolver in the hands of her Russian-Jewish fugitive lover from a concentration camp prison. Then, they had sex together next to the unconscious Goebbels.

The film concluded with a Casablanca-like ending, as Macarena tried to help her lover escape, endangering the entire troupe.

(Penelope Cruz)

Great Expectations (1998)

Alfonso Cuarón's R-rated modern adaptation of Charles Dicken's novel featured lushful cinematography set in Florida and New York City.

It told about the long-term relationship over a period of years between an artist and the love of his life:

  • Finnegan Bell (Ethan Hawke), an artist
  • Estella (Gwyneth Paltrow), golden-haired, cool, elitist and radiant

It included two water fountain kissing scenes (one in their youth as 10 year-olds - portrayed by Jeremy James Kissner and Raquel Beaudene, and one as adults), a nude painting scene (with only brief partial-nude glimpses of Paltrow, although the sketch displayed full-frontal nudity), and a passionate love-making scene.

Happiness (1998)

Controversial film-maker Todd Solondz's infamous and subversive unrated film about pedophilia was a black satire on middle-class suburban dysfunctionality.

The film won the Cannes International Critics Prize in 1998, but was considered repulsive by the MPAA -- it received an NC-17 rating, even without explicit intercourse or violence.

The film portrayed an unlikeable suburban dad and psychiatrist - Dr. Bill Maplewood (Dylan Baker), who was a predatory pedophile.

He exhibited his disorder in the scene at a little league game, in the backseat of his car (where he masturbated to a teen magazine), and during a sleepover hosted by his adolescent son Billy (Rufus Read) when he drugged and molested his son's schoolpal and teammate, and then bragged about enjoying it.

The shocking film included the scene of an honest conversation between father and son regarding the father being a "serial rapist" and "pervert."

Son: "Would you ever f--k me?"
Father: "No, I'd jerk off instead."

Billy (boasting): "I came"
Billy Spied on Sunbather

Also its famous ending scene was of Billy proudly admitting to his stunned family at the dining table: "I came" (he masturbated while spying on a buxom sunbather from the balcony). Semen dripped from the balcony pole, and was licked up by the dog.

High Art (1998)

Writer/director Lisa Chodolenko's honest and convincing 'lesbian chic' film (her feature film debut) won the screenwriting award at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

It told about a doomed and troubled lesbian relationship between two females who gradually fell in love and experienced deeper feelings for each other:

  • Lucy Berliner (Ally Sheedy), a dark-haired, burnt-out, thin, retired, chain-smoking, 40 year-old drug-addicted gay photographer, Syd's upstairs neighbor
  • Sydney (or "Syd") (Radha Mitchell), an ambitious, 24 year-old, light-haired heterosexual, interning associate editor of a NY high-art photography magazine/journal (Frame)

Yuppified Syd was living with her boyfriend James (Gabriel Mann), while the decadent Lucy lived with her masochistic, frequently-stoned partner Greta (Patricia Clarkson), an ex-Fassbinder German film actress in the neighboring upstairs apartment.

Sydney (Radha Mitchell) and Lucy (Ally Sheedy)

Syd was able to convince her employers, including frequently hung-over executive editor Dominique (Anh Duong), to have Lucy work for the journal, with Syd as her editor.

During a trip to upstate New York in a pivotal scene, they experienced a slow, intimate and maturely-presented sex scene as they explored their insecurities and decided to have sex for the first time, blurring the lines between their personal and professional lives. Both were cheating on their respective love-partners, and Greta in particular became a rival for Lucy's affection.

Lucy with Greta
(Patricia Clarkson)

How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)

This R-rated erotic romantic comedy (and 'weeper' melodramatic chick flick), by director Kevin Rodney Sullivan, told the May-December love story of an escapist affair between two African-Americans. Its tagline described the unusual wish-fulfillment, "jailbait" pairing: "Sometimes you have to break the rules to free your heart." The romance was between two individuals with a vast age discrepancy (title character Stella described it as "almost not a felony"), who first met while on a Montego Bay-Jamaican getaway vacation.

  • Stella Payne (Angela Bassett), a sexy 40 year-old SF stockbroker, a divorced single mother with an 11 year-old son
  • Winston Shakespeare (Taye Diggs in his film debut), a handsome, younger assistant chef with a beautifully-honed and chiseled body

Stella was vacationing with her best friend Delilah Abraham (Whoopi Goldberg). The film's sensual intensity was found in its earliest scenes when the couple first met, flirted, and experienced several sexual encounters, after Delilah answered Stella's question: "What would I do with a twenty-year-old?" --- "F--k him!"

In MTV-film style, the couple were "intimate" in bed and also in a shower sequence with sensual kissing and non-explicit body touching (and an extended, lingering gratuitous shot of Winston's bare buttocks), followed by a scene in bed when Stella sat on Winston's lap and experienced an orgasm.

Winston (Taye Diggs)
with Stella (Angela Bassett)

The Idiots (1998, Denmark) (aka Idioterne, Les Idiots)

Danish filmmaker Lars Von Triers filmed this stark black comedy with a hand-held camera - it was the second film made under the rules of Dogme '95. The subversive and unconventional film was made to protest bourgeois principles and conventions.

Its story was about a Copenhagen commune of eccentric, middle-class individuals who pretended to be "spazzing" - or finding one's 'inner idiot' as if they were retarded or mentally challenged, to liberate themselves from social restrictions.

It was an extremely controversial film due to its nudity (including one quick view of an erection in a shower scene), group sex, and a brief graphic view of unsimulated penetrative sex. The extended orgy sequence of the R-rated film was censored for U.S. audiences with black bars blocking images of male genitalia.

The Extended Orgy (or "Gang-Bang") Sequence

(Trine Michelsen)

(Louise Mieritz)

Sex in Cinematic History
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