Real sex films: The new intimacy and risk in cinema

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2017, pp. 1 - 344
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© Oxford University Press 2017. All rights reserved. Within the domain of film studies, the recent surge in films depicting graphic and high-impact sex and sexualized violence has been variously classified under the terms transgressive, brutal, provocative, real sex, and extreme cinema. These classifications, however, tend to underplay the films’ sociohistorical contexts and reflexive struggle for meaning. We argue that the similarities and differences between these real or simulated sex films are determined and mediated within geographical space and historical time. But every film book has its own personal historical starting point: in our case, this is the coming together as intertexts of the real sex film Intimacy with a major academic text, The Transformation of Intimacy, and as authorial agents of a television and documentary film producer and a media academic. This book argues that the meanings we attach to “real sex” cinema are discursively constructed not only by academic experts but by filmmakers, performers, audiences, and film reviewers. Debates about the meaning of real sex cinema are best understood in dialogue, and for the first time in interdisciplinary studies, we foster “mutual understanding” and “critical extension” among new risk sociology, feminist mapping theory, feminist film studies, and film reviewers, while also embracing film/media studies concepts of production, social audiences and spectators, genre, narrative, authorship, and stars. Above all, this is an interdisciplinary book, which engages with, supports, critiques, and extends each of these professional fields of discourse, each with its own schema of filmic understanding.
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