POSTED November 14 2014

The secret of of good sex scene, according to Gina Prince-Bythewood

th-3For the most part I find the sexiest scenes in movies aren’t necessarily the sex scenes. A few examples: Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury talking by phone in split-screen in Mississippi Masala; Brigitte Bardot asking screen husband Michel Piccoli about his favorite part of her body in Contempt; Matthew McConaughey strutting, swaggering and slithering on stage in Magic Mike.

One of my favorite sex scenes — in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Love & Basketball — is notable for showing the emotion and love and physical pain of a young woman’s first sexual experience when after many years of knowing each other, the characters played by Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps finally make love.

Beyond the Lights, Prince-Bythewood’s new film, has a similarly moving scene between  the characters played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker. As a Rihanna-style hip-hop artist accustomed to flaunting her sexuality without feeling sexual, Mbatha-Raw connects sexually and emotionally with Parker in a scene that shows much emotion and not much skin. Prince-Bythewood says the secret of a good sex scene is “no nudity.”

Read her on L & B and BTL here, and tell me whether you like your movie sex scenes raw or not so raw. Nudity takes me out of the emotion of a sex scene and is a documentary of bodies. You? Your favorite movie sex scenes and why?

one comment

  1. Debbie says:

    I agree that the sexiest scenes generally do not involve nudity. But they can (weren’t Jon Voight and Jane Fonda nude in Coming Home — my favorite film sex scene? And remember Holly Hunter’s butt as she got into bed with Harvey Keitel?).
    I think what makes a sex scene work is what makes any climactic scene work: tension. The easiet way to get that tension is to have the characters clothed. But the tension in Coming Home was about overcoming/breaking through disability and the pains of a war close to home (Vietnam). And in The Piano, wasn’t there some feeling of desperation on Hunter’s part, i.e., wasn’t this in some way her coming to terms with needing a place to stay for her daughter? OR did I just love this film because it was so clearly a woman’s perspective on female sexuality?

    PS Happy new year, Carrie.

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