Sunday, March 26, 2006

Tipping The Velvet (2002)- NR

I have had the erotic privilege of watching two women make love. For many reasons, this is a tremendous turn-on for most men. For many of us men, lesbian love is synonymous with heterosexual pleasure.

There is in fact, a whole other lesbian experience. “Tipping the Velvet” is a look at another experience. The film is a romantic film is the classic definition. It presents a story of a very romantic lesbian relationship. In this film romance means faithfulness, monogamy and emotional commitment in good times and bad times. It expects unswerving devotion, and when that trust is broken the very meaning of life is questioned. Tipping the Velvet is an excellent romantic film that happens to be about two women.

The film is about a young women Nan, played by Rachel Sterling, in England in the 1800’s. She falls in love with a traveling actress who whisks her away from her rural home to London where we follow her through many adventures. The film is divided into three 1-hour segments that were originally presented as a BBC mini-series. The film has a number of beautifully filmed erotic scenes.

There are three reasons to see this film even if you do not like romance. First, the period costumes and set design deserve an academy award. Second, the photography is simply beautiful. One love scene consists entirely of a close-up of the two women’s lips. This is a very erotic kissing scene! Finally, there is a Shakespeare “spoof” in the second hour segment that should not be missed. Nan, a woman, dresses as a young boy and gives homosexual men blowjobs for money. The men think they receive a homosexual experience but actually receive a heterosexual experience, but from a homosexual women. This series alone is reason to see this film.

One Night Stand (1997)- R

How can sex be exciting? Actually, we probably do not want it always to be exciting. Most times we want sex to be comforting, familiar and even nurturing. However, occasionally we want it to be exciting, new and maybe even a little scary. Having an affair is one way to make sex very exciting but it often also makes sex very dangerous.

Wesley Snipes stars in the 1997 film, One Night Stand. Snipes is on a business trip and is caught in Manhattan without a hotel room. Circumstances lead to his sharing a room with Nastassja Kinski. Both Snipes and Kinski are married, but passion prevails and the couple make love. The night is passionate, exciting but terrible disturbing for Snipes. He returns to his wife and is unable to disclose the event and it gradually erodes their marriage. This event plus the death of a close friend who has AIDS leaves him frustrated and angry.

One hour and ten minutes through the film it appears we are viewing a conventional story about illicit sex. The sex scenes were erotic and we are stimulated by the fantasy of passionate love making with a stranger, for only one night. However, the price we are expecting to pay for this pleasure is a ruined marriage. Here the film takes a very unconventional twist and is why I recommend this movie. Through another series of odd events, Snipes and his wife played by Ming-Na Wen, reconcile and re-energies their relationship through exciting sex. The sex however for each is with another partner, and with the full knowledge and permission of each other.

One Night Stand offers an option for couples to re-energies their sex, and maybe their marriage, without an affair. This option is not without danger and is not for all couples (see my review of the documentary film The Lifestyle: Swinging in America). It is also not the only way to add exciting. However, it is one option. One Night Stand is not a perfect movie, but it is well photographed and well acted. It is a very good film for couples to see together and talk about afterwards.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Romance- Director’s Cut (1999)- NR

On the Daily Show last month there was a skit that did a parody on the word "paradox." Jon Stewart said "isn't it a paradox that the word paradox must be used so often by seemingly intelligent people?" I looked it up. Paradox is "when opposite truths seem to simultaneously exist." Here?s an example. A woman finds genuine caring, affection, erotic nurturing and affirmation in a sadomasochistic relationship when she is tied-up in painful bondage. Marie, played by Caroline Ducey in "Romance", later remarks that her lover "ties me up without tying me down."

Romance is a remarkable film. It contained arguable one of the most erotic and explicit sex scenes in a non-X rated film, a full 3-minute scene of an actual birth (we get to see everything) and a full 15 minutes segment of an anal compulsive sadomasochistic lover trying again and again to get his knots tied just right. Romance is about a sexually frustrated women in a very dysfunctional relationship. She pleads for her partner to simply remove his undershirt in bed, seeing that this is as close to erotic affection as she will get. She therefore seeks other lovers. She eventually finds love from an older man who loves ropes, handcuffs and bondage.

Let's go back to the "paradox" word. The film is directed by Catherine Breillat, one of a number of women in film that are exploring erotic pleasure from (their words) a female prospective. The paradox (sorry) of the film is that from this highly successful women's prospective, the beautiful young males in this film are sexually dysfunctional. However, the older man with obvious flaws is more attractive. You no longer need to wonder why I like this film!

This is the second movie reviewed on this blog that I strongly recommend it to be seen in the NR "Director's Cut" version. I reviewed "Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)" with the same recommendation. These films from Blockbuster in R versions are stripped of not only key scenes but also the scenes that truly make the films erotic.