Jacques made pornographic films in the 1970s and '80s, but had put that aside for 20 years. His artistic ideas, born of the '60s counter-culture, had elevated the entire genre. Older and paunchier, he is now directing a porno again. Jacques's artistry clashes with his financially-troubled producer's ideas about shooting hard-core sex. He has been estranged from his son Joseph for years, since the son first learned the nature of the family business. They are now speaking again. Joseph and his friends want to recapture the idealism of 1968 with a protest. Separated from his wife, Jacques strives for personal renewal with plans to build a new house by himself.Written by
You talk about my career and I talk about my life. So your questions are obscene. So that's why you are obscene, not me.
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For an '18' rating 12 seconds had to be cut in the UK due to BBFC demands with edits to a scene where a man ejaculates on a woman's face during the making of a movie. The uncut version was released with an '18R' rating. See more »
When I see the morally degrading dreck which passes for mass entertainment these days, it is astonishing that authority in Britain chooses to busy itself policing the rational pleasures of an entirely respectable section of the film-viewing public! I really think that the often abysmally low tastes of the general cinema-going and video - buying public would be a much more worthwhile subject for active disapproval.
It really is as if authority considers the mindless dissipations of the many to be less threatening to society than the critical exercise, amongst relatively few, of the individual's 'organ of thought': Indeed, I really think that it must be the naked expression of an individual brain, unrestrained by any officially-approved views, which gives rise to the greatest offence. I think this is the common and accepted belief of those who see themselves as the guardians of public morality. The brain is the organ which really disgusts them. The expression of thought threatens their whole perverted moral order with irreducible truth.
No bureaucrat can afford to admit first principles into his dishonest elaboration of power. The primaeval statements of raw sex can - and obviously have! - in such circumstances been used to subvert the chilly formulae of social control. It is interesting how the old counter-culture director [Leaud] is subverted in the crucial scene by the assistant director who has been foisted on him for commercial reasons: This latter is truly the shadow of a censor who only approves of mindlessness. This shadow-director unilaterally executes the commercial, therefore political, act of censoring the nominal director's more considered envisioning of the scene. He is the authentic commissar of a thought-police whose home-grown KGB is the BBFC.
This unholy partnership of literally 'filthy lucre' and the mind-control which government has become - obviously more so here than in France - was obviously not something that could be exposed to public view!
And yet, of course, the moral nakedness of the Public Censor's disgusting cavortings makes even those acts of sex which may be misdirected seem positively wholesome. It is the unhealthy obsessions of the moral fanatic which are offensive. Unlike Jacques - the rather Doinel-ish permanent adolescent - there is no hope in the censor's heart that the base material of humanity can be redeemed.
The Censor is obviously just another aspect of the hatred and suspicion which those who can neither understand nor deal naturally with humanity express in order to control it. And in order to control humanity, bureacracies arise to diminish it by the proscription of its primaeval rights. Being deprived of the thoughts arising in the face of the porn-star Ovidie at the moment of the first important statement of humanity in this drama, we are being deliberately deprived of the sense of decency which only comes when the consequences of free-will are tolerated . Outraged decency is the prerogative of every free individual, after all, and not the sinecure of a government official!
Mere 'public decency' is the enemy of the living truth of individual action. The compromising of Jacques's more inward and moral scenario - effectively an attack on two fronts, in Britain! - by a blatantly commercial motivation reveals him as the revolutionary he failed to become, back in the cultural ferment of the '60's.
Our Censor has sent a very powerful signal to Britain: There are thoughts which you will not be permitted to entertain. Public indecencies of every kind are fine, just so long as these are no more than the mindless behaviour of a docile species of cattle.
The thing that illegitimate authority - I mean, the kind that does not understand that it governs merely on sufferance - cannot allow is the generation of ideas by the free association of human impulses!
Such inhuman power is the enemy of the human soul. It conceives as its first duty the neutering of culture. It intends that we shall not even reach a state of intelligent adolescence. It means to keep us 'in loco parentis' in perpetuity. This paternalism is triumphant and out of control in Britain. It is a life-denying perversion of responsible authority, that wants to arrest all human growth, arrogating to itself the monopoly of adulthood in a perennially childish world. One is grateful for a film from a freer and more grown-up country that has made this clear, not so much despite, but because of the Censor's profoundly immoral intervention in its distribution.
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