19 July, 2009

Nudity for the sake of nudity

I recently watched a film from the mid-70's titled Immoral Tales, which consists of four unconnected stories of carnal immorality, that basically amounts to softcore porn. In the first tale, a young man lures his all-too-willing cousin onto a rocky beach to impart a hands-on (or rather, mouth-on) lesson about the tidal force residing within the male genitalia. Note that none of these stories are filmed explicitly - though the second one comes pretty close. It is about a young virginal Christophile confined to her room, wherein she pleasures herself passionately to a combination of smutty literature and religious texts (to completely ignore the not insignificant contribution of the cucumber...). The third tale tells the story of Elizabeth Bathory - one of my personal favorite historical figures - who earned a reputation for her habit of bathing in the fresh blood of young virgins, believing it would restore her vitality. In this adaptation of the Blood Countess' legacy, there are copious amounts of naked flesh, but unlike the Bathory segment in Hostel: Part II, the violence is largely implied. The final debauched tale in this immoral collection recounts the incestuously orgiastic impulses of one Pope Alexander VI, interspersed with scenes of Friar Hyeronimus Savonarola speaking out against the Church's improprieties - that is, until he is seized and burned at the stake.

The reason I bring this up relates to the aforementioned copious amounts of naked flesh in the Bathory segment. Call me a freak, call me a pervert, call me a red-blooded male, but I derive considerable enjoyment out of seeing a bunch of attractive young women prancing around completely nude. I mean, it sounds like a pretty typical male fantasy right? So why is it so hard to find? Outside of hardcore porn at least. In mainstream films, if there is such a scene, it will usually involve extensive "modesty" either in the form of avoiding complete nudity or utilizing "shy" or "prudish" camera angles, and will generally not last for a significant length of time.

So how come it's so hard to find extensive unselfconscious nude scenes of that sort? At least outside of hardcore porn. I could sit for two hours and watch a bunch of young naked women doing, well, just about anything really. And as a matter of fact, I think the presence of an obvious sexual element could actually detract from the enjoyment of the nudity itself. I think this is another example of our culture's misguided confoundment about the distinction between nudity and sex.

And to preemptively counter a potential argument - "if it's not about sex, then why does it matter that the women are young and attractive?" - I have only to point out our culture's misguided confoundment about the distinction between sex and eroticism. Admittedly, it's a much more subtle distinction than that between nudity and sex, but I think it's important enough to warrant recognition.

No comments:

Post a Comment