The Best Ever Sex Scenes
BRUNO DANTE brings you what he regards as the finest moments of erotic cinema ever sizzled onto celluloid ...
With the annual Australian Sexpo (now in its 12th year) about to thrust into Sydney from October 29th to November 1st, I decided to compile a Best Ever Sex Scenes list, but when I began to do the research I realised it was a slippery serpent indeed; one person’s highly-charged, scorchin’ eroticism is another person’s tub of cold, used KY Jelly. Arousal is ultimately in the mind. The male species, however, are more easily turned on by visual stimuli, whereas the female of the species usually finds her senses aroused by a lustily-spoken voice, or provocative words on a page. I’m generalising, of course, but the facts speak for themselves; the highest percentage of porn viewers are men, young adults and adolescent males; the industry’s porn stars are predominantly women, not men.
But when it comes down to the grind, the visual elements that turn one person on can vary significantly from person to person. There are universal guarantees that are generally accepted to turn a man or woman on, but it’s the nuances, those in-between bits, the short and curlies, if you will, that make it such a personal experience. The way a palm moves across a thigh, the placement of a kiss, the amount of pubic hair on display (if there’s any there), the way a woman performs fellatio or a man gives cunnilingus. Some love watching endless over-lit close-ups of hardcore penetration (decidedly un-erotic in my opinion), while others prefer the art of moody lighting, foreplay and suggestion.
Which brings me to the list I wanted to make, and I realised there was no point trying to make a definitive list of the Best Ever Sex Scenes. The only thing I could offer was my personal selection of favourite sex scenes. What I can bring to the bedroom, err, table, is nearly twenty-five years of being a lover, over fifteen years of being a film critic with a passion for foreign, arthouse and independent films, and my leisurely and unashamed pursuit of high art and deep trash cinema erotica. That’s not to say that I don’t find the odd Hollywood movie caressing my libido, but it’s usually from a bold director who likes to push boundaries.
My criterion for this list was thus: which scenes have cuddled me over the years (some with indulgent repeat viewings, others lingering long and hard after only one viewing)? Which scenes depicted a genuine sense of attraction between the actors (or performers), an unmistakable chemistry? Which scenes portrayed the urgency and/or the languid nature of lovemaking the most realistically? Which scenes had the cajones to push the boundaries?
The list of contenders was huge. So much carnal knowledge still to acquire! In the end – and this was an important element of my criteria for selection - I settled on the movies that had stirred me the most after the first viewing, as they say, first impressions last longest and hardest.
So I’d best get down to brass tacks and conjure the beast with two backs; eighteen scenes of erotic abandon from mainstream-to-arthouse cinema and two from the adult movie industry for good measure. I’ve put the scenes in some semblance of order from hot to hottest, but to be precise it’s the tamest to most explicit.
From Dusk till Dawn
(USA, 1995) Directed by Robert Rodriguez
No actual sex per se, but the catwalk dance Salma Hayek, as Santanico Pandemonium, performs in her skimpy attire, with a huge albino python wrapped around her luscious figure is enough to cause anyone to break out into a sweat.
*see pic at page top.
(USA, 1991) Directed by Spike Lee
Flipper (Wesley Snipes) and Angie (Annabella Sciorra) have urgent sex in their office space after-hours. He simply sits her on the desk, pulls her panties off from under her skirt and unbuckles his belt). It’s quick, and vocal, and very sweet.
(USA, 1981) Directed by Lawrence Kasden
Ned (William Hurt) can’t resist married Matty (Kathleen Turner). She’s frustrated, and soon enough the heat’s turned up, she’s on her back, the sweat’s pouring down, he peels her panties off, she spreads her legs, and demands “Give it to me!”
When Night is Falling
(Canada, 1995) Directed by Patricia Rozema
Uptight religious Camille (Pascale Brussieres) is entranced by exotic free spirit Petra (Rachael Crawford) and eventually succumbs to the circus performer’s earthly delights under a soft sensual canopy.
Don’t Look Now
(UK, 1973) Directed by Nicolas Roeg
Husband and wife John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura (Julie Christie) make healing love in a Venice hotel room, inter-cutting the intercourse with them getting dressed before stepping out. It is one of the most evocative love scenes ever.
(USA, 1996) Directed by Wachowski Brothers
Mob moll Violet (Jennifer Tilly) and next door neighbour Corky (Gina Gershon) find themselves having more sexy fun together than they ever imagined, and Corky’s grease-monkey fingers are put to excellent use.
(USA, 2001) Directed by David Lynch
Betty (Naomi Watts) finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the mysterious, dangerous, but oh so sensual world of Rita (Laura Harring), leading to an intensely intimate and unforgettable moment on the sofa.
(USA, 1991) Directed by Sam Pillsbury
Hot-to-trot Zandalee (Erika Anderson), bored with her husband, finds excitement at the hands of charmer Johnny (Nicolas Cage), who spreads cocaine and olive oil on his fingers and, as she lays naked on her belly, slides them inside her where the sun don’t shine.
(Spain, 1986) Directed by Pedro Almodovar
Femme fatale Maria (Assumpta Serna) straddles a nameless conquest and rides him ‘til the bulls come home in a thoroughly intoxicating mix of sex, la petite mort, and death. Later she will repeat this with Diego (Nacho Martinez), but to equal measure.
(USA, 1987) Directed by Alan Parker
Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) can’t help himself, and finds himself in bed screwing Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet), the svelte daughter of a voodoo priestess, for all he’s worth, carnality blinding him to the blood raining down!
(France, 1986) Directed by Jean-Jacques Beneix
Zorg (Jean Hughes-Anglade) had only known Betty (Beatrice Dalle) for a week, they made love every night. The movie opens with the legendary coupling and the camera holds and slowly slides closer over several sweaty minutes.
In the Cut
(USA, 2003) Directed by Jane Campion
Lonely Frannie (Meg Ryan) is seduced by unabashed detective Malloy (Mark Ruffalo) and he gives her loving head from behind while she writhes on her bed. Later alone she fantasies about him and masturbates in dreamy focus.
(USA, 2001) Directed by Marc Forster
Lost souls Hank (Billy Bob Thornton) and Leticia (Halle Berry) have desperate, bonding sex on the sofa, and then the floor, all loud grunts and moans, in one of the rawest odd-couple displays of Hollywood sex ever … and damn hot too!
(France, 1975) Directed by Francis Giacobetti
Emmanuelle (Sylvia Kristal) and her husband Christopher (Frederic Lagache) visit a Hong Kong massage parlour and are oiled up and rubbed down, around and all over by nude masseuses one of whom is played by the very sultry Laura Gemser.
Sex and Lucia
(Spain, 2001) Directed by Julio Bedem
Spunky Lucia (Paz Vega) and her hunky lover Lorenzo (Tristan Ulloa) play sex games; he’s blindfolded while she teases him with her lovely flesh. Later they look at provocative polaroids taking during intercourse.
L’Uomo Che Guarda (AKA The Voyeur)
(Italy, 1994) Directed by Tinto Brass
Blonde, voluptuous bombshell Sylvia (Katarina Vasilissa) strips, sits astride her husband (Francesco Casale), puts him inside her and when he comes too quick she stays on top and uses her own hand to bring herself to pleasure.
(USA, 2006) Directed by John Cameron Mitchell
In the midst of a private club orgy newbie Sofia watches as Leah (Shanti Carson) and her boyfriend Nick (Jan Hilmer) go at it doggy-style with gusto and genuine passion. Leah then turns and gazes in post-orgasmic bliss.
Rolls Royce Baby
(Switzerland, 1975) Directed by Erwin C. Dietrich
The RR baby herself Lisa Romay (Lina Romay) arrives at her mansion and whimsically shaves her pubes, then stretches out on her chaise-lounge, and with jazz on her gramophone, and long eyelashes fluttering, she slowly rubs a beautiful one out.
(USA, 1979) Directed by Tinto Brass & Bob Guccione
In the lap of luxury Penthouse playmates Anneka Di Lorenzo (as Messalina) and Lori Wagner (as Agrippina) are being secretly watched having the time of their lives in glorious, unbridled, uncensored, Roman Sapphic splendour.
Zazel: The Scent of Love
(USA, 1997) Directed by Philip Mond
Sasha Vinni as Zazel, the siren/angel/mermaid/tiger, Gina LaMarca as the seductress, and Anna Romero as the Red Devil, with the chiseled assistance of Jon, play out their deepest, wildest, most erotic fantasies in a surreal masterpiece of avant-porn.
(West Germany/Netherlands/France, 1977) Directed by Lasse Braun
Inside a spacious trailer Martine (legendary Lolita Da Nova aka Catherine Ringer) sits beside the voyeur reporter (Jack Gateau) as they watch her nude curvaceous slave (Gemma Gimenez) play with herself. Then Martine instructs her slave to fellate him, which slides into sensational sex.
As a side note, two movies I’d love to see in their uncut form are Nicolas Roeg’s Performance (1970), which had very explicit footage of the threesome between Anita Pallenberg, Mick Jagger and Michele Breton end up in the New York Erotic Film Festival, and Francis Ford Coppola’s take on Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), of which the wonderfully staged seduction of Harker (Keanu Reeves) by the Count’s three mistresses (Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu, and Florina Kendrick) was cut to avoid an R-rating. C’est la vie.
Most of these movies are available to hire or purchase from your local video store, if not they can be found by hunting online (ie Amazon.com).
2009 Sexpo is in Sydney, October 29th – November 1st at Hordern Pavilion and Royal Hall, Melbourne, November 26th – 29th at Melbourne Exhibition Centre, and Brisbane, March 4th – 7th 2010 at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.
--- Bruno Dante
Come and visit my movie parlour of vivid, lurid dreams!
To see reviews of what Bryn Tilly regards as the best movies of 2009 click here.
To go one step further and check out Bryn's world famous article (it gets over 100,000 viewers per month) on ACTUAL sex performed in mainstream (as in non-porn) cinema / movies click here.
Film reviewer Bryn Tilly is also a very active Sydney DJ, scriptwriter and composer - and writes the blogs Horrorphile and Bruno Dante's Cult Projections.
Small Bars in Sydney
Small Bar (open)
48 Erskine St, Sydney
The very first of the new small bars, with the bar fashioned from the barge used to construct the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Ching A Lings (open)
133 Oxford St, Surry Hills
One of the first new bars had a bumpy start, closing after two weeks but has reopened
Low 302 (open)
302 Crown St, Surry Hills
Famous for dessert cocktails, Aussie pina coladas and tapas until 2am
Sticky Bar (open)
L2 182 Campbell St, Surry Hills
Sexy tea room with black chandeliers, a white baby piano and some sleek couches with original cocktails like Sweet Popped Cherry
Pocket Bar (open)
13 Burton St, Darlinghurst
Grunge meets glam underground bar, finished with a roller door and polished concrete.
They say no to doormen, cover charges, "doof doof", pre-mixed drinks and posing
Falconer Bar (open)
31 Oxford St, Surry Hills
A music lovers' hangout, serving great coffee, wine, beer and unpretentious food
Bacco Chifley Plaza (open)
For suits, namely lawyers and bankers, who work nearby to get good wine and food
479 Crown St, Surry Hills
Courtyard coffee during the day and wine by at night
Time to Vino (open)
66 Stanley St, East Sydney
A refreshing wine bar described as "excellent wines from around the world, without the fuss"
Shady Pines Saloon (opening soon)
256 Crown St, Darlinghurst
A country-and-western style tavern plans to play a lot of Johnny Cash
Absinthesalon (opening soon)
87 Albion St, Surry Hills
Absinthe, and only absinthe. Get lucid before dinner with this old aperitif
Tom Dunne Gallery (opening soon)
11 Little Burton St, Darlinghurst
Balcony Bar (opening soon)
46 Erskine St, Sydney
Grass Hopper (opening soon)
3/40 York St, Sydney
Enter via Temperance Lane
Sol Sutra (DA lodged)
239 Oxford St, Darlinghurst
The Lounge (open)
277 Goulburn St, Surry Hills
For artists. Most staff pursue artistic careers. The Lounge hosts readings, screenings, performances, live music, and photo exhibitions
If you'd like us to review your bar or venue, email email@example.com
The Daily Telegraph, Sat 26 September 2009:
TINY bars tucked away in the city's back streets are transforming how -- and what -- Sydneysiders are drinking.
One year on from a legislative shake-up to encourage small bars, a bitter concoction of financial turmoil and a chronic shortage of space has not put off 22 barmen from intimate little drinking spots across the city.
Not just an escape from the sound of throbbing nightclub doof-doof or giant plasma screens and pokies of big pubs, each culture-rich cubbyhole has challenged the beer-swilling Australian stereotype.
Taking its inspiration from Melbourne's bar culture, the City of Sydney Council enacted legislation making it easier for smaller venues to get a liquor licence without spending tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege.
In July this year, the council gave an even greater incentive for people to rejuvenate alleys around the city with small bars by offering up to $50,000 to approved projects.
Cocktails will be served in jam jars at the premises of 7m Bar when it opens next week. Not so much a ``hole in a wall' as an alley decorated with debris including an old BMW, seven boats and a swing set, the art installation is inspired by what Sydney Harbour would cough up if the ocean rises 7m -- the inspiration behind the bar's name.
At the other end of the scale is Absinthesalon, which harks back to old-world absinthe drinking, serving it pure or in the traditional sugar-cube method. Absinthe importers Joop van Heausden and Gaye Valttila want to bring ritual back into the lucid herbal tonic and demystify the aperitif's history when they open in four weeks -- the drink was once said to be an addictive psychoactive drug.
``It's traditionally served between 4pm and 7pm, the green hour,'' Mr van Heausden said, explaining their 4pm to 10pm liquor licence.
They offer up to 25 varieties of absinthe, and only absinthe, served in the traditional turn-of-the-20th century fashion.
All entrepreneurs have felt a simmering demand for something special.
Three-month-old Pocket bar in Darlinghurst has shot to the top of the modelling circuit with its interior design of street-art-meets-your-nan's-house and a pledge of no posers, pre-mixed drinks or doormen.
Nearby, Jason Scott is about to pull the insides out of a vacant record store and an old surf shop and bolt on a bar to bring us Shady Pines Saloon -- fashioned like a country-and-western tavern in tribute to 1920s US sly grog dens. Aref Jaroudy, of Low 302, thought late food was missing from a Sydney night out and now offers dinner until 2am.
Owners agree the lounge-room size intimacy means better behaved clientele.
``We get the best blend of people, who can come to a place where they don't feel harassed or intimidated,'' Sticky Bar's Michael Fantuz told The Daily Telegraph.
Demand for more hole-in-the-wall drinking venues continues to grow, with seminars on starting a bar in Sydney booked out.
Looking for Bars in Melbourne, click here.
Looking for Bars in Perth, click here.
Looking for Cafes in Sydney, click here.
Looking for Manly's Best Brazilian Restaurant, click here.