Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sex and Violence in the Movies

Scott points us to this useful article by Amanda on sex and violence in the movies as it relates to the new documentary about the MPAA, This Film Has Not Been Rated. Basically it comes down to this:

You can do whatever you want to a woman in a movie so long as sex is not involved. You can cut her up. You can run a chainsaw through her. You can shoot her in the head and we can watch her brains ooze onto the floor. You can run her through a garbage disposal. You can bury her alive.

But you can't watch her have an orgasm.

There are a lot of things about American culture that offend me. But is anything as offensive as this? Why do we value violence over sex. Sex does not necessarily always equal joy but it sure is a lot more positive than violence of just about any kind. Why can't a movie where people have sex on screen have the same rating as one where people get killed? In fact, why shouldn't get a less restrictive rating.

On this note, I am looking forward to seeing John Cameron Mitchell's new film Shortbus. This seems to be a film where graphic sex on film is something portrayed as positive and good. What non-pornographic films that have used graphic sex over the past several years have mostly been depressing or pointless. The films of Lars Von Trier, Vincent Gallo, and Catherine Breillat rarely if ever show sex as fun. It's either masochistic or traumatic. Even in Breillat's films, you never get the feeling that people are having fun. Anatomy of Hell may show a woman fucking a gay man while having her period, but no one is having fun. There's a hell of a lot more crying in the film than laughing. Of course, Shortbus is being released without a rating. If only he would show a woman being split from head to toe by a sword, he might get a PG-13.