Sunday, May 31, 2015

20 Foreign Films That Are Sexier Than Anything American

Perhaps I was inspired by my current Netflix queue, but I just finished a lazy rainy Sunday full of sexy and raunchy European films, because I totally have a life and I'm super cool. maybe it's because Europeans understand sex better, or maybe because they give absolutely no shits, and over there, it's dirty to show someone's head blowing off rather than someone's pubic hair, they just seem to get it right when it comes to Original Sin. Whether it's erotica, vanilla romance, straight-up kinky shit, and especially unsimulated sex, they've got it down. Having no filter really pays off. We as Americans have a total black and white approach to it. Because we're a kindergarten country. It's either way extreme and niche like the faux kink sweaty piece of sex bullshit; Fifty Shades of Grey (directed by a Brit, and written by a Brit, but still in the American idiom done for American audiences); or it's the most watered down single-girl fodder known to man in the tradition of Nicholas Sparks adaptations. So here are my picks. A lot of them fall (unavoidably so) into that 'controversial' category, while others straight up got the kiss of death with a dreaded NC-17 rating which basically goes to show that we're a country of people that just can't handle anything that is just a little too visceral. These are in order, we'll start from the bottom and go to the best.

20. Caligula (dir. Bob Guccione). Anything starring Malcolm McDowell and produced by Dino de Laurentis with a screenplay by Gore Vidal you shouldn't expect to be a comfy ride. Full of incest, full frontal nudity, and a birthing scene that might be more uncomfortable than sitting through an actual birth this film checks every box for what we consider to be sexual obscenity. And it's fabulous. It's ancient Rome, not a landlocked Midwestern city in the 50's.
19. Diary of a Nymphomaniac (dir. Christian Molina) this Spanish gem I don't even think had theatrical distribution in the states. It's a no-holds barred feminist farce on what it's like to be a nymphomaniac and the meteoric rise and fall of one. It's not easy, especially when pesky things like love get in the way. 
18. 9 Songs (dir. Michael Winterbottom). A director known in the UK for being sexually incendiary, this is probably in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most unsimulated sex scenes in one feature. It's not just a one off like The Brown Bunny. It's literally like watching a relationship. A normal one, where two people have sex...they do other stuff too, but this is one of those rare occasions that puts the sex front and center. 
17. Young and Beautiful (dir. Francois Ozon) I am a huuuuuuge Ozon fan. I think no one photographs, writes, or understands young women quite like him. This is the first of a few directors who are on this list more than once and no one deserves it more. It's the story of a reluctant whore. Are we noticing a pattern here? I think so. 
16. Chansons d'Amour (Jean Genet) Quick history/culture lesson. Listen up babies. Jean Genet is basically a French national treasure. He was arrested in the 40's for vagrancy, among other things (but mostly for being gay which was against the law at the time) a brilliant playwright and poet, this is his only film based on his encounters while in a French prison. If you ever took an avant-garde film class you probably saw it. If you haven't go on You're welcome. 
15. Sleeping Beauty (dir. Julia Leigh). And yet another hooker movie. Here's the twist, the beginning of the story is somewhere we've all been girl in financial trouble from student loans (take a lesson, Vera) looking desperately for a way to make extra money. She finds a gig, might be the weirdest form of hookerdome we've ever seen. She's basically given a sleeping pill cocktail every day and has to basically be a dead body to men who get off on stuff like that. However disturbing it is, a lot of naked Emily Browning is never a bad thing. 
14. Sytiracon (dir. Federico Fellini). Another ancient rome orgy film, only this one is by Fellini, so I think it's one of the best things ever. togas, wine, and general sexual ambivalence, this film definitely has everything. Literally. 
13. Belle du Jour (dir. Luis Bunuel). If you don't get a little hot watching Catherine Deneuve in her underwear check yourself for a pulse. The end. 
12. Y Tu Mama Tambien (dir. Alfonso Cuaron). Native Mexican filmmaker, Cuaron made a film in his hometown which is perhaps the most graphic coming-of-age story ever. Pun fully intended. It launched the careers of Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, and a film that starts and ends with full nudity is one not worth missing. PS it was nominated for it's almost perfectly splendid script. Watch it, if you haven't already I'm judging you. 
11. The Dreamers (dir. Bernardo Bertolucci). A film for perverts and film lovers, and sometimes those can be mutually exclusive. Michael Pitt plays a young American studying in Paris in the mid-60's and chances upon a brother and sister cinephile team who have a strange relationship from the word go. Together they'll bring the term 'threesome' to a whole other level. 
10. And God Created Woman (dir. Roger Vadim) The film that introduced a naked Brigitte Bardot to the world. I'm surprised theater screens didn't catch on fire. No one before or since in the European film idiom has been so sensual...arguably. 
9. Blue is the Warmest Color (dir. Abdellatif Kechiche) I don't remember a film that generated so much controversy before it was even released. Along with it came accolades from the Academy to Cannes. It's universally considered not only one of the most beautiful love stories, but also one of the best films of the year and perhaps the decade. Brilliantly acted by Adele and Lea in the two principal roles, it's one not to be missed. 
8. Bad Education (dir. Pedro Almodovar). I know what you're thinking, why is this the Almodovar film she picked? I absolutely love it, and I never understood critics who thought it was one of his weakest. Bernal outdoes himself in drag, and as a personal piece, granted all of Almodovar films are in one way or another, but one that really expresses his passion for cinema is always a treat. Also there's a lot of naked Bernal in it. 
7. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover (dir. Peter Greenaway). I was just re-watching this film today. It is so beautifully experimental surreal and downright weird. It's a formalistic masterpiece. With the avant-garde set dressing and costumes designed exclusively by Jean-Paul Gaultier and incomparable performances by Helen Mirren and Michael Gambon, this is truly in my opinion one of the greatest films of all time. 
6. Swimming Pool (dir. Francois Ozon). Ludivine Sagnier plays the promiscuous Julie who has moved unannounced back to her father's place in the French countryside disrupting the life of writer Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) who has just come up there in a fit of writer's block to find some solace which is now made impossible by Julie's constant philandering drinking and general debauchery
5. Sex and Lucia (dir. Julio Medem). Paz Verga, perhaps one of the most gorgeous women on the planet plays someone who's seriously unlucky in love. With more sex scenes than probably all American films from the past 5 years put together against a beautiful non-linear backdrop of secrets, lies, and a Spanish island, this film is breathtaking in every way. Also there's an areola on the poster. There ya go. 
4. Nymphomaniac Parts I and II. (dir. Lars von Trier). Lars von Trier really hates sex, and women, and everything...oh and Jews lest we forget. But this film is really really sexy. None of the advertising points to that because he photographs sex as it is. No romance, no flickering candles, and no feelings a lot of the time. This is sex stripped down to its bare animalistic, selfish, and at times maniacally impulsive nature. Thanks Denmark! 
3. The Night Porter (dir. Liliana Cavani). And yet another film directed by a woman. This also stars Charlotte Rampling in the most unsexy of places. She's a young Jewish woman who's been sent to a work camp during the Holocaust. Yes it's frightening. A German guard at the camp becomes infatuated with her and makes her his sex slave basically which comes with a lot of privilege. It's perhaps the most perverted scenario imaginable, and yet, it's still somehow romantic. We women, we're a clever bunch. 
2. Last Tango in Paris (dir. Bernardo Bertolucci). I know a lot of people that would disagree with me on this, in fact so vehemently that they'll get all oh-hell-no on me, but you know what despite 'that infamous scene' I still find both Brando and Schneider completely sexy together in this film. For the most part their sexual chemistry is right on. But I find it hard to imagine Brando not having good sexual chemistry with anyone. 
1. Lust, Caution (dir. Ang Lee). Here's another film by a director who's made so many sensually stunning films, but this one is head and shoulders above the rest. Lust, Caution is not a pretty film. It's not romantic, well maybe...but it's not rainbows and butterflies put it that way. It's a very dark film, and there are some insanely graphic scenes in it that somehow manage to remain highly erotically charged and incredibly sexy. Winner winner chicken dinner. 

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