When we look closer at mainstream representation of sex and sexuality, you can see it’s clearly made for the teenage boys or the hopeless romantics. I do believe there is a place for everything in film, anything goes, there are no rules; but, I argue that independent films are the best at representing sexuality as a normality and is not as sensationalised.
In Shame (2011), we see Brandon, played astonishingly by Michael Fassbender, balancing his life with a sex addiction. He lives in a beautiful apartment in New York City, very strong, financially stable, goes on dates, has a great job… You get the picture; he’s in a pretty good situation. His sister reaches out to him, and all of a sudden, his lifestyle is thrown out of whack. He struggles to conceal and satisfy his sex addiction as it consumes his everyday life.
Sleeping Beauty (2011)
Sleeping Beauty (2011) is an Australian independent film, following Lucy (Emily Browning), a university student with a list of strange jobs. She fills her time with waitressing, being a guinea pig in the university medical lab and soon lands a line of erotic jobs. She is often unaware of her position in the industry, and is facing the struggle of enjoying the luxury of a high income and her personal standards.
So, the questions I have to ask revolve around why we only see this sort of representation of sexuality in independent films. In mainstream cinema, we see Margot Robbie baring all and Jonah Hill drawing dicks everywhere. An indie film will show us the things we don’t see everyday, or something to make us perceive it other than “the norm”. Most people in their lifetime will have an awkward teen phase where they’re either too shy or too adventurous. Most people will have romantic moments with their one true love. People are familiar about the concepts of one-night-stands, or the sleazy strip clubs we see in all those comedies. But what an independent film is meant to do is to show you another side. The side behind closed doors, the side that’s more taboo or risqué.
I’m not saying that mainstream films present sexuality as one-dimensional; I mean, it just relates to the masses. Sex sells, and we know this. But I believe that it’s a discourse that is much more profound and relative to art than a lot of people realise.
Films like Sleeping Beauty (2011) and Shame (2012) put forth a viewpoint that I had never seen in any other film. It’s an honesty that comes from everyone, from the writers, to actors and everyone in between. That’s really the beauty of independent film, it’s original and it’s truth and they’re stories worth talking about.
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