Reading can inspire me creatively – but so can art and film. I’m a very visual person. So immersing myself in an exhibition on ‘The Nude’ or a compelling film that emanates eroticism are also ways to get ideas flowing. And other things …
Film as a medium has to do so much more to succeed in being sexy or erotic; moreso than a story, which is reliant soley on language (and its connection with the readers’ imagination) to establish erotic atmosphere. There are the elements of script, casting, cinematography, editing, lighting, settings, costume. Pacing (an editing factor) is also crucial, I think. The pace has to match the mood, the subject. And all of these elements have to work together to form a cohesive whole. It only takes one aspect to be sub-standard (acting or dialogue, for example) to undermine the effect of the whole.
Finding and waching erotic films, and compiling my own list of ‘must-sees’ is one of my little life pleasures. And it’s a wonderful thing to introduce someone to, as well. Add red wine, a comfortable couch and a fire and you have a VERY sexy night in… So – here is my list – my top Ten Erotic Films that I’d recommend. In no particular order. Over time, I’m going to add a review to each of these. Welcome to my virtual Cinema of Sensual Pleasures … Please sit back, relax and enjoy ..<3
Story of O –
Story of O is a 1975 Franco-German erotic drama film directed by Just Jaeckin. The screenplay is an adaptation of the erotic novel Story of O published in 1954 by Pauline Réage. A young woman fashion photographer known only as O is taken by her lover René to Château Roissy, where she is subject to various sexual sadomasochistic rituals. Stunning set & costumes, dream-like cinematography, A true erotic classic.
Diary of a Nymphomaniac -directed by christian molina –
A chronicle of the life of a middle-class French girl’s sexual adventures, her explorations of her sexual proclivities through prostitution, and her ultimate integration of her conflicted aspects. Intelligent script; some articulate insights into the complexities of choice in the life of a contemporary Everywoman. Hot sex scenes.
Memoirs of A Geisha –
Directed by Rob Marshall this 2005 film tells the story of a young girl, Chiyo Sakamoto, who is sold by her family to an okiya, a geisha house. Her new family then sends her off to school to become a geisha. This movie is mainly about older Chiyo and her struggle as a geisha to find love, in the process making a lot of enemies. The film was nominated for and won numerous awards, including nominations for sixAcademy Awards, and eventually won three: Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.
Delta of Venus
A 1994 film directed by Zalman King. Set in pre-World War II in Paris, it’s based loosely around the short erotica stories of Anais Nin by the same title. The main character of Elena (borrowed from one of her primary female characters in the book, is, like Nin, an artist and erotic fiction writer. This begins a little cheesily, but has some wonderfully decadent sex scenes (watch out for the scene between Bijou and the African man for voodoo-magic spell-binding sex) that bring to life specific parts of Nin’s written erotica. The film mostly manages to achieve a creative weaving tribute to the feel of Nin’s stories with an added layer of autobiographical elements of Nin’s actual bohemian life in Paris at the time. Get the internet version of the film here.
House of Pleasures
Directed by Bertrand Bonello, this opulent French film depicts a highly cinematic and atmospheric look at the final days of a turn of the century brothel when much of the Parisian sex trade was confined to grand maisons, populated by elegant madams, and vetted clientele. Dark, decadent, and delicious.
Daughters of Darkness
A classy 1971 Belgian lesbian vampire film, I stumbled upon this one in my local DVD store. Directed by Harry Kumel, the surreal and expressionistic elements, Gothic scenery, and European glamour (partly filmed in an actual castle) create such a seductive, timeless atmosphere. Delphine Seyrig as the refined world-weary Countess / Vampiress is flawless. She must do what she must do, and her seductions are tinged with irony borne from immortal repetition. Defined as ‘psychological high Gothic’, haunting music and elegant 70’s costume design make this a cultural icon. I’m certain Catherine Deneuve in another of my fave vampire films The Hunger (see below) modelled her character on this Countess.
Betty Blue (Director’s Cut)
Directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix (1986 – original release 2001 : Director’s Cut 2001), this was the French film I touted as my all-time favourite for many years in my twenties. Now I don’t want to have to narrow my love of film down to a Number One of all-time, and I am somewhat through my identification with crazy femme-fatales as ideal sexual icons, so this would no longer qualify. However, I still love the recklessly sultry atmosphere of this film and the life that Zorg and Betty chaotically construct together. As these two become increasingly sexually entwined, they become more in sync with each others oddities and more out of sync with the larger world. Violence begins to underscore the sensuality to the film’s inevitable end.
Unforgettable for its opening scene – a single take on the couple making love with hungry abandon, and the gutteral moans of Betty almost the only sound as she orgasms repeatedly. The camera steals inevitably closer, making the viewer feel like they are an unobserved voyeur, drawn in closer and closer to the bed. Beatrice Dalle as Betty oozes a primal sensuality and depicts a character so immersed in emotion and sensuality that, in her absence of pragmatism or rational thinking, she creates her own tragic demise. A film that perhaps places a seeming co-relation between sexual passion and emotional instability, it is nonetheless a compelling exploration of a relationship. This was one of my first film sightings of a penis, simply hanging out and doing its thing. Ooh la la … The film also boasts a wonderful moody soundtrack.
“This is not a film about sex, but a film about sexuality.” Directed by John Cameron Mitchell with the collaborative efforts of his cast, and put together over three years, this awesome film is a collage of interconnected characters living in oh-so-now New York. Featuring a diversity of relationships, from a gay couple trying to open up their relationship, to a reserved sex therapist in her safe relationship who hasn’t experienced an orgasm (yet), this is raw, real and complex – just like real relationships. Revolving around an evening salon for ‘the gifted and the challenged’ that’s actually the inside of a small bus, this film succeeds in bringing together insightful glimpses into alternative sexual lifestyles with more conventional ones, and gets its characters talking, touching and exploring with one another. See it. Just see it. Check out the film trailer … There’s an uncensored one out there too – but it seems temporarily unavailable.
The Human Contract
Directed by Jada Pinkett-Smith (2009), this edgy, accomplished film revolves around a free-spirited and sophisticated woman (Paz Vega) who leads a businessman (Jason Clarke) down a path of reckless abandon. There are many seductive scenes throughout this film, hints of kink, and it’s a fascinating exploration of sexual obsession, and how succumbing to it gradually unravels a man’s life. He fails to see her true nature, wanting only to posess her entirely. In the first scene where they meet at a bar, he asks her:“What do you do?” “What I want …”
Vegas whispers this back with delicious sexual innuendo, but also an independant fierceness. A memorable retort, which actually sums up her character.
Co-starring an enviable lingerie collection.
Starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon, this erotic vampire cult classic (1983) first seduced me when I was sixteen. I think I’ve watched it 7 or 8 times over my life. And will (hungrily) watch it again. It’s film noir, sci-fi, erotic horror, fated historical romance. Its opening night-club scene to Bauhaus’ ‘Undead’ is edgy, arthouse, and completely compelling. Modern vampires with ancient appetites, both Deneuve and Bowie manage to combine a regretful, tender humanity with relentless bloodlust. The seduction scene between Deneuve and Sarandon is incredibly erotic. I could write endlessly about the subtleties of this film , so I’ll just stop here … at the echo of the words which are a recurring eerie theme – “Forever and ever?”