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Neo-Erotica or Blatant Pornography?

Over the past decade or so there has been a none-too subtle incursion of what once would have been considered pornographic films, into mainstream cinema. Vincent Gallo’s ‘The Brown Bunny’ (2003), Lars von Trier’s ‘Nymphomanic’ (2013) and the recent ‘A Thought of Ecstasy’ (2017), directed by Rolf Peter Kahl, are three such examples. All feature scenes with, what is euphemistically referred to as, ‘unsimulated sex’. Experimental cinema, avant-garde, neo-erotica – whatever label is applied, it seems that some mainstream actors and actresses are prepared to have their names attached to these projects and, in the case of ‘Nymphomaniac’, even have their faces and torsos superimposed over body doubles, although in the fallatio scene from ‘The Brown Bunny’ no doubles were used. Discuss whether ‘unsimulated sex’ in mainstream films can have any actual artistic merit, or is this just another way for controversial directors to circumvent censorship and so push their own sexual fantasies? In a world increasingly bent on instant gratification, are we being desensitised to accept without question the open exploitation of sex in mainstream as ‘normal’? Where should the line be drawn?

  • It is entirely possible to convey these types of scenes in film without pushing the envelope in this particular direction, as has been the case for many decades. That said, this emerging genre, as you yourself have mentioned, is more than likely facilitating the projection of sexual fantasies by controversial directors under the guise of favoured buzzwords such as 'avant-garde'. Mainstream actors may be fine with having their names attached to such films, but what does this mean for the future of aspiring actors should this become the new norm? This goes a little beyond your average kissing scene and should not be normalised outside the realm of adult content. Mindless media consumption is a problem as is and a line absolutely must be drawn before it reaches this point. – jessicaelyne 11 months ago
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  • There's honestly probably just too much blatant sexuality in the media in general nowadays, and it's cheapening the whole experience. We're so used to treating sex in the media as not that big a deal that for anything to stand out it has to be even more blatant and graphic. – Debs 9 months ago
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