The last time I saw a pair of naked testicles in a feature film was in the 80’s. I believe it was a Merchant Ivory film – a period piece set in olden times where people wore frocks and went about their activities in candlelit quarters. It was a sight to remember, believe me, as men are rarely filmed in a non-pornographic way with the camera directly behind their naked ass as they crawl into bed, setting their danglers in motion for all to see.
Outside of the initial, “Hmm, that visual reminds me of a horse I’d once seen in Central Park,” reaction, I allowed myself to mentally move on with the rest of the film with only a minimal amount of smiling. The balls came and went, and to the day, I still don’t remember who the actor was.
In my long life of enjoying cinema, I can only recall this one testicular occurrence. As for vagina, we have the flash of Sharon Stone’s embedded in our memory, and if we really push it, there’s always the red triangle of death, proudly marched in front of our eyes by Julianne Moore. Allowed to reach our American eyes are boobs, butts and the occasional flaccid penis whooshing by so that we may never recognize any of it’s natural features – but natural sex, as in the kind that is not glorified, beautified and participated in every single day by regular ole people – we see none of this.
American cinema and television have taught us well: sex and body parts are scary things to be hidden, shamed and feared. Ironic, isn’t it – due to the fact that if there’s one thing we see every single day of our life, it’s our own naked body. We certainly see this more than we see the gore and violence that is shown in plentiful abundance, unless of course we live monstrous lives where blood and spatter is more commonplace than walking in on your husband, wife or child while they stand naked in a shower stall, attending to their daily ablutions.
In Europe, where dangling balls, wobbling penises and vaginas both hairy and bald get to run wild and free in quality films, the thought of overly explicit violence and bloodshed is a rampant turn off. Watching Alexander Skarsgard tan himself in the buff on the summit of an Alpine mountain scape is not only good stuff – it’s accepted stuff. Here, it’s a major big deal, and if we get to see ‘it’ – holy cow, the media breaks out in boils and locusts.
We’re still in the phase where it’s an utterly shocking and titillating moment when we see two people of the same gender enjoy a passionate kiss. Everybody goes bonkers when the two male hotties kiss. Well, guess what? Male hotties kiss all the time, yo. Just like you and I are naked at least one time a day. It happens. Sex happens. Bodies happen. And you’d think with all that we’ve made out of the ad campaign of ‘sex sells’ that we’d actually admit that it sells because WE HAVE SEX much more than we kill zombies, slash teenage lovebirds and drink blood.
We’re having sex over here, people. And we’re having it with human bodies, the kind that have all variety of body parts, like weird boobs, and strange wieners. Hell, some of us even have flabby asses – whoda thunk it? The truth is, we have bodies and we know bodies, and yet, cinema either shows us only the most fantastical versions of bodies – or they show gore. How did we become a country where blood sells more than sex?
Ah, now that’s something to think about.
According to Deadline Hollywood, during the making of one particular episode of the TV series, Hannibal, a decision had to be made.
The recap was a reminder of how Hannibal routinely depicts some of the most extreme graphic kills on broadcast TV. Fuller says network suits rarely object. Except on the Season 1 episode “Coquilles,” in which a killer mutilates his victims into angels to watch over him in his sleep. “We had two people who were nude and we saw their buttocks,” Fuller said. “They were dead, they were flayed open, and cracked in many ways. Their butt crack was the least offensive of the ones they were sporting, [but] the network said no. … I asked why, because of the exposed spine and muscle tissue and flayed skin? I said, ‘What if we fill the butt cracks with blood so you can’t see them?’ They said OK.”
If a butt crack has to be filled with blood in order to make a horrific scene of violence easier for our delicate pearl-clutching mentalities to handle, then I don’t see much chance of my old friends, the danglers, making their way back into American cinema any time too soon.