Censored Voyeurism

Posted on

“I’m just a common man. Only whores understand me.”
– Henry Miller in Henry & June


Henry & June

After all these years, I’ve recently had the opportunity to view Philip Kaufman’s Henry & June. Being known as the first American movie tagged with an NC-17 rating (No one under 17 allowed), and out of prurient (mental) interests, I was curious why this was rated so. I found nothing to warrant it beyond an R-rated as the sex scenes were pretty normal stuff that adult boys and girls do. But, I found this on IMDB – “The 2 to 3 second shot of Anais looking at an explicit illustrated postcard involving a Japanese woman and a squid was the cause of the NC-17 rating.” This postcard I’ve seen before hanging on spinning postcard carriages in tourists shops of Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco. So, I’d advise, don’t bring your kids to Fisherman’s Wharf… according to the MPAA.

Anyways, as for the film itself – It starts out poetically telling of a woman’s love affairs, but does not have an answer to that poeticism towards the end. I think I was trying to say something that would dig me out of the shallow intentions of initially watching this film. Did I succeed? Uh, keep your answer to yourself.

What I was ignorant of before I had viewed this movie was that it was based on the writings of Anaïs Nin. Back in the mid-90s when I was an obsessive bookstore whore, by impulse, I had bought the first volume of The Diary of Anaïs Nin (1931-1934). Ever since I grew up reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X (about four times to date), I’ve always enjoyed books of self-reflections (bios, journals, diaries, etc.). I’d initially only read the first three chapters of Anaïs Nin’s Diary. Lost in my bookcase of other books stacked up in the past years, I’ve since dug it back out after viewing Henry & June and will finish the rest of book. I now begin closure to the erotic poecticism of Anaïs Nin’s words. Ain’t I deep?

“Lust, Caution” is the new flick coming out by Ang Lee. The synopsis says it’s “A startling erotic espionage thriller about the fate of an ordinary woma’s heart, it is based on the short story by revered Chinese author Eileen Chang, and stars Asian cinema icon Tony Leung opposite screen newcomer Tang Wei.”

The MPAA also slapped this movie with an NC-17 rating for its so-called “explicit sexuality”, which I think I’m beginning to see the prudish hypocrisy of the American movie system. How come violent flicks like “Hostel” and “Saw” get away with R-ratings? There’s something sick about that.

Anyways, it’s a nice looking movie, click on the image to see the trailer. No worries, if you’re at work, even the trailer is (mature) family friendly. =) In other words, it only shows the girl’s nekkid back.

Ang Lee's Lust, Caution

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *