I admit it … I prefer it —‘it’ being ‘scenes of affection’—slow and sensuous, exquisite moments of torture, icy chills and simmering heat, the barest hint of a touch, a breath, then two, all senses engaged. I love the promise, delaying it with innuendo and control, until nothing else exists but one’s object d’lust and passion.
Anyway, the two movies that will forever define eroticism, for me, are Blue Velvet and sex, lies and videotapes. James Spader, sitting on the couch, looking straight at the camera and talking about … erotic inhibitions, things outside my ken (I saw this as an adult, but still, sheesh), things for which I had no frame of reference until just that moment in time. It was eye-opening, life-affirming, titillating and still sends shivers to dark and private spaces even after all these years. This film is the epitome of control as it examines the erotic impulses and inhibitions of a group of people, and one reviewer says it harkens back to the days when speech was an ‘erogenous zone’ (Roger Ebert).
Blue Velvet was viciously pornographic in the best film noir style (it’s David Lynch, so of course) and has been compared to Hitchcock’s Psycho because of the thematic elements of evil masquerading as psychosis. It is raw, emotional, and ultimately flawed by clichés and sophomoric treatment of its characters. But at its core, its treatment of sexual bondage is in your face, harsh and unrelenting. Unlike sex, lies and videotape, Blue Velvet eschews restraint, yet compared to more modern films with violence for its own sake, this film never represses the raw sensuality of its acts of aggression and violence.
Whew, well, deep breath. From ‘slow hand’ to sensual violence may seem like quite the leap, in truth it’s merely bridging differences in degree rather than differences in kind.
May I leave you with an image that speaks to me of elegant, sensuous and sensual restraint...
As always … your mileage may vary.
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