Monday, 10 November 2008

Are Sex-Scenes Mandatory In Movies?

People say the humidity pushed me over the edge. Things here to the east are different, a little crazier, a little more corrupt, a little closer to coming undone, because of the constant choking humidity. That sweltering heat. Indoors, you shiver in Antarctic air conditioning, the machines perched on your windowsills spitting out ice cubes and penguins, but you steam in your own juices like a lobster in a microwave the instant you walk outside. Everybody from the East is naturally a few steps closer to a psychotic meltdown than, say, their Southern countrymen. After years of having all the oxygen sucked out of your brain every time you step out your front door, something bad happens between your ears.

All the above factors conspired to make me write about a discussion I had with a friend of mine recently about why film-makers feel the need to have sex-scenes that didn't belong and were gratuitous. It got me thinking about which sort of scenes do belong and are necessary for the narration of the movie and what makes them necessary.

Here's my point of view:

I personally think that there is only one time that a film-maker can get away with sex for sex's sake and that's when the characters do it for the first time. Then, I feel you have the freedom to make scene(s) as long and as involved as the film-maker likes. After that the sex-scenes should have a purpose other than to show that the characters are just having fun again.

There are movies can be exempted from this like "9 Songs" which primarily is a film which shows the decline of interest in a couple over time related to physical intimacy if there is no emotional feeling(read love) involved. If that's the theme of a particular film then definitely the film-maker has the justification for multiple sex scenes. Directors like Catherine Breillat, Pedro Almodovar, Jean-Luc Godard, etc. have had multiple sex-scenes in their movies but no one calls them obscene and they are all award winning and critically acclaimed directors.

Then there are those compulsory "turning point" sex-scenes, where a character realizes as they are having sex, "Oh, this person isn't just another one-time-sex partner". This can happen in two different scenes in the movie or the same one but it depends on the characters and whether or not one of them is farther along the emotional journey than the other. It also depends on the producer and the quality of sex-scenes that they prefer.

One can also make an epilogue-type sex scene that shows the characters engaging in sex in which the film-maker can make a great-to-do about how even better the sex is now that they are married or engaged or bonded or whatever.

I can't think of any more reasons but if you, i.e. the readers can think of any then please mention in the comments.

Links to:

10 Movies Remembered Primarily for a Sex Scene

10 Movies That Sold due a Sex Scene

1 comment:

  1. I think sex scenes exist to tittilate and engage the audience in an otherwise boring film. Also, with some characters and actors (like if it's a damsel in distress, or a playboy, or simply Emraan and Mallika), then you certainly know the crowds are flocking for IT... Watta waste to pay those 100-200 bucks and NOT see some liplocking and snuggling!