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Karl E. Landler
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The school catches 18-year-old Romain video taping himself masturbating in class and suspends him. Though the school drops the matter after learning it's only one incident in a game in which all students participate, Romain remains distressed. He's still a virgin and the only member of his family not engaged in sexual activity. Written by
My mother assists in a big law firm. She deals with a lot of files for big cases without getting too involved. To protect herself, she says. Today's new file: Romain - Sexual Problem Alert. Knowing her, she'll never drop the case.
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Growing use of explicit sexuality in new cinema comes right to the fore
A previous reviewer of this film suggests that people under the age of 35 might find this film difficult. However, i felt the opposite, that people over 45 would find this film blows away what they have previously known.
To the older generations raised on the explosive challenges of the post war decades of a cinema which raged against both repressive censorship laws and out-moded social norms, their sense of history is invested in what is understood to be a participation in an iconic sexual revolution among other things.
So many of the films of the 60s and 70s both punctuated a sense of historical change and ushered in a new permissiveness. Yet none could stand today against what we see in this essentially small film.
Today's youth are emerging and sex is still central to the radical. Not one of the great classic works of cinema which created a chime with sexual liberation depicted the level of explicit sex which is slowly becoming the norm in new independent cinema. It is in many respects an extraordinary shift in the language of cinema.
This new and overt form of sexual language is not a reaction against repressive norms as it was in the 60s, but rather reflects the effect on a generation of unbound exposure to pornography via the internet from early childhood. The younger generation are so sophisticated in their understanding of sex, that it is quite the norm to extend into the language of their cinema the digital habits which are available to them in private.
To an older generation this may come as a shock. We're not used to such a sense of ease with the genitalia. The male penis has been a heavily censored object in cinema until very recently, though largely through the prudish choice of a director-base which was essentially male and heterosexual. Surprisingly, considering the militancy of the feminist movement, depiction of the clitoris was associated very much with male exploitation of women and has never previously been celebrated as such in cinema. These old types of restrictions, essentially generated through the dialogues of the cultural liberators of the 60s, 70s and 80s appear to have had their day.
It is true that France, and Europe historically have been much more relaxed about the depiction of sex in cinema compared with for example the US and the UK. However this film really brings right up to date that natural licence and we move into a new territory of depicted sexual intimacy.
All of the films emerging which depict graphic sex and i could name at least half a dozen off the top of my head, are not dabbling in pornography. Rather, what is emerging is a new world, a new honesty, a new openness, a new level of maturity, of truth, a language of signs and symbols well beyond the old order of the avoided, couched, suggested and coded.
In this new utopia, the liberation has in some sense already been long around via the advent of the internet culture. Cinema needs to catch up. The old sexual reality are no longer contain the issues of the day. Sex now becomes a way of intensifying the present tense and claiming life through a sensuality finally contextualised by a pure kind of democracy. We can all see ourselves as sexual beings. We can all live, we can all have what we need. Because we all are anyway.
Sex has always been linked in some sense to the arrival of the revolutionary. Certainly this new level of sexually explicit toleration blows away the old struggles which turn out to have only come so far in the end. In other films of this kind, the ease with the sexually explicit has usually been attributed to the emerging younger generation. This film breaks the mold by suggesting that everyone has nothing to hide, both young and old. it's a good development and a generous form of inclusion. Until now one had the impression that the younger generation were only able to celebrate their own interests. This film confirms that this is no longer the case and both the curiosity and technology of the young is capable of transforming and touching the lives of all generations.
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