Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Image Gallery: Five Sensual Shots

Joel Bocko over at The Dancing Image has tagged me for a fun new meme: a themed image gallery assembled from cinematic screen captures. The idea originated with Stephen of Checking On My Sausages, who a while back put out a call for single images displaying the glory of cinema.

This small gallery is my response, assembled rather loosely around the theme of sensuality and sexuality: images that entice, provoke, and suggest. The images are very different in their context and their content, suggesting the sheer variety with which the cinema has approached this most human of subjects. An image from Godard comes from a scene in which the French master, always fascinated by the eternal battle between man and woman, satirically mocks the fetishization and commercialization of sexuality, a theme he'd explore even more savagely in his 1980 Sauve qui peut (la vie). It is a theme that of course also resonates with Buñuel, who approaches it in an entirely different way while explicitly framing such sexual excesses in response to clerical puritanism, as an audience of priests observe, with horror, a sadomasochistic encounter. Claire Denis and Maurice Pialat, meanwhile, are concerned with the violent aspects of sex, the former delving into bloody horror as sex becomes synonymous with death, the latter dealing with the psychological wounds lovers inflict on one another. (Which doesn't stop Pialat from pausing for a delightful, charming moment of sexual joy.) Finally, Apitchapong Weerasethakul captures a moment of casual intimacy amidst a low-key argument.

It should be noted, too, that I didn't intend for this to be the theme. I simply grabbed five films I like off my shelves, more or less at random, and discovered that the commonality between them was these kinds of images.

The films, in order, with links to my full reviews where applicable, are:

Police (Maurice Pialat)
The Phantom of Liberty (Luis Buñuel)
Trouble Every Day (Claire Denis)
Syndromes and a Century (Apitchapong Weerasethakul)
Two or Three Things I Know About Her (Jean-Luc Godard)

I'm supposed to tag people for this, but I'd rather just leave it open. If you're reading this, go ahead and make your own image gallery. Just make sure to link back to Joel and Stephen's original posts.


Dean Treadway said...

I see you have a thing for brunettes. I might do my five over at Filmicability. Trying to get back on that horse.

Joel Bocko said...

Thanks, Ed - fast work! When you mentioned the Godard scene, I thought you were going to use Contempt. After doing my own post, I kicked myself for not doing Contempt, then I remembered that the first scene is not Bardot nude but Cotard at the camera. I didn't feel quite as bad anymore ;).

Always nice to see Syndromes and a Century represented too.

Jump in, Dean! I'd love to see your picks.

Just Another Film Buff said...

Excellent pic(k)s here, Ed. When you mentioned Godard, I had thought it would be from A Married Woman. But 2 Or 3 is just as striking. It strangely reminds of a composition from Persona, although the connection is very thin.

DavidEhrenstein said...

My favorite sensual scene.

Ed Howard said...

Thanks, everyone! Either Contempt or, especially, A Married Woman definitely would've been good choices here, as would First Name: Carmen or Hail Mary. Godard, despite his reputation for grim intellectualism, is in fact a very sensual director, both in terms of eroticism and in the sensual appreciation of the larger world.

For that matter, Persona might be a good choice too. There's no overt (visual) sexuality but it's a very sensual movie nonetheless.

David's choice also seems like a good one, though I haven't seen that film. I think probably the best image of gay sensuality I can think of is Gus Van Sant's debut Mala Noche.

DavidEhrenstein said...

That film, Christophe Honore's Love Songs (Les Chansons d'amour) is a full-press hommage to Jcques Demy. It isn't all sung, but it's divided into the same Chapter: Le Depart, L'Absence, L Retour.

Honore's quite a character. He've very prolific, wiring novels and plas as well as films. And he takes on the most incredible challenges. His fist feature was an adaptation Georges Bataille's moter-son incest shocker Ma Mere, starring the fearless Isabelle Huppert and Louis Garrel.
He's also made a modern dress version of "La Princess de Cleves" set in highs chool, starring Louis Garrel and Gregoire Le Prince-Ringuet.

He's currently shooting a kind of thriller called L'Homme au Bain featureing a gues star turn by my friend Dennis Cooper.

Stephen said...

Thanks for mentioning me, Ed, especially on this great site.

Off the top of my head I remember quite a number of sensual shots in DAYS OF BEING WILD.

It's always wonderful to take striking shots to enjoy them both in abstract and as a new way into the films.

Thanks again

DavidEhrenstein said...

That shot of Anny Duperey in 2 ou 3 Choses is haunting. She was spectacular in the Resnais/Sondheim Stavisky as well, particularly in the scene where Belmondo has an ocean of flowers delivered to her room.

Dean Treadway said...

Here is the first of a three part series:

Hope you like it!