The look on a woman’s body, destructive look, real seduction declined in many forms before the passage to the act in the most degrading conditions of prostitution worth death sentence, was in the centre of black Venus , without sparing the viewer no other place to take refuge, hence the extreme hardness of Kechiche’s film, nothing of the kind with Adele, who returns to the classic posture of the spectator, who sees “as in the cinema”, without justification or interrogation of the place of his look. The question is this time elsewhere.
It is in the capacity of the cinema to accompany the experience even of the pleasure of the protagonists, and to offer it as such to the spectators (of the two sexes and of all sexual orientations). Three films which, while concerning other issues, have the merit of highlighting the diversity of the questions mobilized by this subject.
Understanding the complexity of the cinematic transgression in the modern world
In the twentieth century, the situation was relatively clear. The explicit representation of a sexual act in the cinema was a transgression that was confined to the commercial distribution of films in the public space accessible to everyone – possibly with the exclusion of certain age groups. The main artistic exception is Nagisa Oshima’s The Empire of the Senses in 1976, at the very end of the 1974-1976 regulatory and sociological parentheses in France, which had allowed Giscard regnans to distribute in theatres commercial pornographic films in HQ Sex Tube precisely to resort to the representation of the sexual organs in activity.
The stroke of genius from the hand of the various auteurs
Under this limit of “the explicit”, we were then regularly entitled to small
controversies about whether the actors had actually made love in front of the camera. Powered by the promotion department, they had the advantage of giving a fantasy existence to what we had not seen on the screen: they did with the means of advertising what the filmmaker had not been able to do with the means of cinema.
The diversity of the effects of these auteur films prevents from drawing any generality, including the enactment of a supposed law that separates the qualities of “show” (a liberation, since it was prohibited, legally or socially) and do not show “(the true meaning of art, which is to give to feel what is not flattened by the exploitation, particularly the cinema like art of the invisible). From the refusal of this generalization, it is possible to pay attention to what actually does each of the three films mentioned above.