Mark Rylance and Kerry Fox co-star in Intimacy, the most sexually explicit English language film ever

No, not in the back rows, on the big screen. Beginning with INTIMACY, lots of it, coming to you soon. But not if the reactionaries have anything to say about it.

Words: Miles Fielder

atrice ('hereau‘s adaptation of llanif Kureishi's

hook. Intimacy. is the most sexually explicit

linglish language film ever. L'nsurprisingly. it has aroused the members of the more reactionary media. The Iz'i'cning News acted swiftly. ejaculating a story on the Dominion cinema’s refusal to play the lilm. said venue describing itself as ‘the last bastion of public decency".

So far so much a tale of the expected. but what's surprising is that Intimacy has been passed without cuts by the British Board Of Film Classification. Britain‘s historically conservative. largely unaccountahle censorship body. The BBFC. it seems. has moved with the times. Responding to its ovvn research. the BBl"(‘ has concluded that the public would prefer the regulation of films intended for adult audiences to he minimal. With specific reference to the sexual content of films. the BBFC has taken into account the findings of a survey entitled 'Sex And The Media: A Shifting Landscape'.

National (‘entre For Social

Research. and has now responses areamofe than ever, relaxed its attitude tovvards knee Jerk reaCtlonS

explicit sex on screen.

Thus. last year three films featuring penetration shots. Lars von Trier‘s 'I’Iic Iiliots‘. Casper Noe‘s Seal (‘ontre IlNM‘ and (‘atherine Breillat‘s Romance. were given a clean hill of health and passed uncut for British audiences (although one scene in Seal (‘ontre Ions vvas obscured \vith. ahem. a 'Vaselined lens‘). liarlier this year Pier Paolo Pasolini‘s notorious and long-banned film. Solo. ()r The I2() Days ()l'Sor/om. \vas re-released at cinemas and on video. again without cuts.

(‘oming soon to a cinema near you are yet more sexually explicit art house films. Wayne Wang‘s 'I'Ize ('cntre ()f'l‘lie ll'orld is the story of a lap dancer and an

34 THE LIST 7:3 .7 A...; ._‘

._ ‘In the light of all this published last year by the forthcoming flesh, prudish

l-commerce executive‘s romp in Las Vegas. which includes a scene which can only he described as

‘lollipop love‘. Lynne Stopkeyyich‘s Suspicious River

is about a motel receptionist \vho indulges in some unorthodox sex therapy to exorcise demons from her past. Both films have been passed uncut by the BBl"('. Virginie l)espentes and (‘oralie Trinh Thi's 'I'liclma Antl Louise-style revenge thriller. which uses hardcore porn film stars in its cast. liaise-Moi (Rape file. as translated by the co-dit‘ectors). vvas banned in its home country lirance. The BBFC‘. hovvever. has passed liaise-Moi for British audiences with only one scene. the one giving the film its translation title. cut. Also in the vvorks are Breillat‘s follow-up to Romance. xl .lla .S'oeur. and fellow lirench female director (‘laire l)enis‘ Trouble livery Day. which have yet to go up against the BBl“(‘. but which are both playing in the [Edinburgh International Film festival in August.

In the light of all this forthcoming flesh. prudish responses are. more than ever. knee jerk reactions. Intimacy shoyvs flesh ~— btuns. breasts. pubic hair. an erect penis —- in scenes involving intercourse and oral sex. But it‘s not a sexy film: intercourse hetyveen Intimacy‘s loveless partners is ravv and messy and devoid of emotion. It's not designed to arouse and cannot. therefore. be pornographic. But that it’s a recognisable film star (Shallow (irai'e‘s Kerry lioxl giving her co-star (Shakespearian actor Mark Rylance) a blovv job more than likely accounts for the difficulty some people have syvallovving the film‘s content.

All of which is extremely hypocritical. given that Intimacy is being released on the same day as the Hollyvvood thriller .S‘n'oril/isli. That film‘s female star. Halle Berry. goes topless in a scene which has to be the most gratuitous this year. for nothing more than an alleged hefty pay packet bonus.

Seems that as long as the sexual content of films is confined to mere titillation. our self-appointed moral guardians remained unperturbed. But this prudishness about sex in cinema. it‘s all just so much premature ejaculation.

Intimacy plays at the GFT, Glasgow and Cameo, Edinburgh from Fri 27 Jul. See review, page 35.

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THE GREEK FILM FESTIVAL at Edinburgh‘s Filmhouse continues with its retrospective of the films of Nikos Panayotopoulos. Popular on the international film festival circuit but little known outside it and his home country, Panayotopoulos is one of Greece‘s most idiosyncratic filmmakers. Two double bills are lined up: The Woman Who Dreamed plus I Dream Of My Friends on Sunday 22 July and The Bachelor plus Edge Of Night on Saturday 28 July. (rt/l ll l.’\l / 3!. Aft .’ A'. liil

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THERE’S A RARE screening of George Hoellering’s 1951 adaptation of TS. Eliot’s play Murder In The Cathedral at both the GFT on Sunday 22 July and the Filmhouse on Saturday 21 July. Hoellering’s son, Andrew, will introduce and provide some insight into his father's remarkable film.