Getting Intimate: An Analysis of the Sexual Revolution’s Impact on American Cinema

Paper by Amelia Kazmierczak.

In the U.S., sex has always been a source of controversy. Although erotic cinema has its origins with the invention of film in the late 19th century, censorship methods quickly arose to prevent the creation of content considered to be lewd or immoral. However, prior to 1930, there was no officially enforced guidance for the kind of content that could be depicted in films. Since the introduction of the Production Code in 1930, how sex is treated on screen has been in a constant state of flux, with periods of intense censorship and conservatism followed by periods of sexual openness. The “sexual revolution” era of American history, which arose in the 1960s and carried into the 70s, coincided with the strongest period of growth in depictions and discussions of sexuality on screen. From the mid-1960s into the 1970s, the United States entered a period of social progress that was reflected through the changing depictions of sexuality in film. Movies such as The Graduate and Midnight Cowboy conceptualized new perceptions of gender, sexuality, and social relationships that echoed the values of the emerging LGBT, feminist, and sexual

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The Truth About Lies: Representing History in Film

Paper by Van Haslett.

Since the mid-twentieth century, cinema has been the most widespread form of storytelling. Unlike a television show, films are able to play all around the world, and connect to a larger and international audience. With this amount of influence, a film’s topic and message can become extraordinarily impactful. What audiences see in a film usually dominates the image or understanding they had of the film’s topic prior to their viewing of the film. The true story of William Wallace is nothing like the film Braveheart, but the historically incorrect image of Mel Gibson shouting about freedom is the image the world is left with today. With this in mind, the question must then be asked: what responsibility does a filmmaker have when creating a historical film or story set in a historical period? Does the art speak for itself, completely out of control of the filmmakers, or do filmmakers hold responsibility for what they present on the screen? To answer this question, three period piece films will be examined, The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006), Downfall (Oliver Hirschbielgel, 2004), and JFK (Oliver Stone,

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Film Review Club: Reviews of current film releases, DVDs, and revivals by student members of the SBCC Film Review Club.

Film Festival Course: FS108: Film Festival Studies: 10-days or 5-days (2 or 3 units). Field course at film festivals to study U.S. and international fiction, experimental and documentary films. Fee required.

Contact: Prof. Nico Maestu (maestu@sbcc.edu)

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