Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Best Sex Is Reel Sex; Have We at Last Gone Soft (or Hard?) on Movie Sex?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Best Sex Is Reel Sex; Have We at Last Gone Soft (or Hard?) on Movie Sex?

Article excerpt

Byline: NEIL NORMAN

HOW far do you need to go in film to convince that something is actually happening?

The question is worth asking now that the gloves are off - so to speak - over sex. Once the province of porn and arthouse cinema, sex is now finding its way into the mainstream cinema. And not just as an adjunct to the main story: it is the main story.

New films like Wayne Wang 's The Centre of the World, the Australian movie Better Than Sex, the forthcoming Intimacy and Killing Me Softly all take the sexual relationship between the main characters as the main theme. Thus we can see Joseph Fiennes and Heather Graham or Kerry Fox and Mark Rylance stripping off and getting down to business to the manner porn. The newly liberated British Board of Film Censors (BBFC)has finally buckled to public pressure and gone soft on hard sex in movies.

Not that there was much pressure. The fact is that the members of the BBFC simply realised (following the results of a survey)that the majority of mainstream audiences were no longer offended by sex on screen. It is not that they want more;they simply don 't care where, how and with what frequency it is depicted.

Now that sex is no longer shocking, filmmakers are attempting to Best push the frontiers of depiction in order to regain some of the impact lost in our anything-goes age. And therein lies a potential problem.

Actors and actresses whose career CVs include respectable and lauded work in film, on stage and television are now to be found scrutinising their contracts more keenly than ever. Whereas a few years ago it was the "no nudity " clause that was important, now it is the "no penetration " clause that may prove a stumbling block.

Fellatio? Spanish? Greek? Anal?

Mutual masturbation? All these (and more)sexual activities may now fall within the boundaries of acceptable demands of actors if the latest batch of movies is anything to go by. And as for Clause 69, well . . .

IS real sex any more authentic than acted sex? In the sense that sex is often regarded as "performance ", the question is moot. There are those, I gather, for whom sex and acting are inextricably linked.

Faked orgasms are often as convincing as the real thing check out Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. Better still, ask your partner how many times she (or he)has simulated her orgasms and the truthful answer may not be the one you really want. If it is

impossible to tell the difference in real life why should it matter when watching it on screen?

That, I suppose, depends on the purpose of the sequence in question. We have already seen actual penetration in recent non-porn movies like The Idiots, La Vie de Jesus and Romance in which legitimate actors engage in real sex up to (if not including) the point of orgasm. …

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