Tuesday, June 20, 2006

What's a Little Nudity?

I have been following all the various discussions and comments about the nudity in These Girls with some interest. So far I have stayed out of the online discussions - happy to observe from afar, no matter how misguided or (in a few cases) sleazy the comments have been. However I've gotten a few direct questions and feel that I should throw some thoughts of my own out there. The first thing is that as a filmmaker I don't have any control over what happens to my film once it leaves the post production lab. How people react to it, or choose to interpret it, or these days how they choose to chop it up and (re)present it are out of my hands. The fact that people are doing anything with my film is a compliment (stay tuned for my next post on piracy).

*The following contains mild spoilers*
There certainly has been quite a buzz and reaction to David's nudity - both positive and negative. Some have gone as far as suggesting that David was manipulated into going as far as he did. This is an excellent rumor and maybe one which I should go along with (I could play the role of the cynical puppet master). Unfortunately, for me, the truth is less dramatic. David was very much in control of the situation – he is, after all, a very experienced and intelligent actor. The ‘jewelry box’ was his idea (I wish it was mine). In the context of the film I still think the nudity is pretty innocent stuff and I know that David wanted to have fun with the role. He knew it would be funny and he had the smarts and the guts to play it funny (with a little edge). I know there are ‘still frame’ images out there that appear to be very revealing but that’s not the movie – in the context of the film the scene is funny and a tease.


Blogger Nat1016 said...

I totally agree with you! I'm as well only lurking all those conversations but I don't understand why so many people 'freak out' about the nudity in the movie and in my opinion it wasn't even that much. I'm sure David Boreanaz fully knew what he was doing and you even said so. And it's not like the world never saw a half naked guy before.

2:36 p.m.  
Blogger Jo said...

I also agree with you, John. Had you or the cast had any problems with the nudity aspect, surely you and they wouldn't have signed up to do the film. Also, having read what I have about David in interviews (i.e. comments he's supposed to have made - you know you can never completely believe all you read!), I can totally believe that he knew what he was doing. He is, after all, an exhibitionist - if he wasn't he'd be following another profession!

I can't see a rating on the jacket or on the DVD itself and am presuming that it's rated as 'Restricted' - if people don't like what they are seeing, there's always the 'stop' button on the remote!

I enjoyed the film - the nudity just added a little extra 'x' factor!

4:24 p.m.  
Blogger SebbyAkami said...

Thanks for your comments on the nudity in the film. I'd agree the problem isn't nudity. It's people who choose to take it out of the context of the film. I thought the pacing of the scene from the initial cover-up and then to walk by the girls to get the baby added another layer to each of the characters. This was not a naive unsure boy. This was an experienced man comfortable in his own skin. The reaction of the girls confirmed why they were pursuing him. Personally, I didn't see it as being an exhibitionist, but rather a man at ease with his sexuality ... which was the very reason the girls were drawn to him. I think it's great to see someone comfortable in their own skin and have some fun with it. It always amazes me when people overreact to seeing a naked body, but have no problem with violence or seeing poverty. It was a fun scene and the jewelry box was a perfect touch. Thanks again for an enjoyable film.

8:56 p.m.  
Blogger Boris the Bewildered said...

Thank you for this comment.
I am one of those holding this unpopular view that sex is good, violence bad.
It's a facet of the American psyche than never ceases to amaze me: violence? bring it on! It was totally considered appropriate and even cathartic by some (other than me) in this story.
But I suppose repressed people need some release...
Sex? Nudity? OMG, bring the rosary and the Spanish Inquisition!! The mere fact that sex and violence are considered equal in the censorship rules in US is obscene to me.

7:35 a.m.  
Blogger accio Angel said...

Oh, but this version of events is going to clash with the romantic notion of the pure little angel captured by the bad, bad moviemaking sinners...How will those dreamers live now? What will become of THAT fantasy world?
Oh, the humanity!

8:11 a.m.  
Blogger Boris the Bewildered said...


Very well put. The scene was also a turning point in the story telling - the point where the teen comedy is about to become something else - and it contains all the layers of dark and silly humor that make this movie.
Also, re: those people who profess to be shocked by nudity.I won't speculate about what they do once they finish scolding us, although I did see the most twisted fan sites, everything from strange combinations of characters/real people to incest glorification.
It kinda reinforced for me the finding that during our last national witch hunt, many of the impeachment managers screaming bloody murder about consensual sex were eventually brought to justice for child molestation, stalking and other abusive porsuits. I concluded that the more loud the preacher, the darker the deviance he projects on others.
The great she-wolf poster on the blog reminds me that we had an attorney general who covered the breast of the statue of Justice.

9:40 a.m.  
Blogger ... said...

Thanks for the final say. I always figured he was fine with it - the scene setup and his improv already prove that. Plus David is an easy going guy, not a stuckup prude like most Americans pretend to be.

7:50 p.m.  
Blogger SebbyAkami said...

Do I dare admit that I'm an American?!?! I agree that the rules of censorship regarding sexuality and violence are ludicrous. It's quite sad to think that some may view violence in film as an outlet on the same level as sex. Sorry to read that the impression is that "most Americans" are "stuck-up prudes". I'm glad that David represents those of us that believe in the beauty of the human body and the joy of intimacy. I said in a previous comment that I felt the sensitivity and humor portrayed in the deflowering scene were so well done, both in the acting and the directing of a delicate scene. To pretend that teenage girls don't think about sex or wanting to be with someone like DB is simply not facing the reality of teenage hormones or the joy of discovery. It's a difficult time to deal with hormones, morality, societal pressures, and just plan old responsibility. It's amazing with all those issues that a female might actually develop a healthy view of sex.

10:46 p.m.  
Blogger ... said...

I made sure not to say all Americans because that wouldn't be true. But yes the opinion from other countries is that American is a puritan country and is stuck in the past in their way of thinking. The uproar Americans have about nudity is a great example. They even had to paint a shirt on David for the US cover.

11:25 p.m.  
Blogger SebbyAkami said...

I suppose this isn't the forum to defend American culture, but I hope you'll keep in mind we are quite a diverse lot of people, representing practically every culture in the world. I'd hope you wouldn't clump us all together in being of the same mind. Half of the country didn't even vote for the present political group in power. We represent many views.

In getting back to the main topic I'd say the country would also be split on their views on the subjects of censorship, nudity, and sexuality. Putting a shirt on DB on the US cover was idiotic. Unfortunately, some decisions made by a small group of people appears to be the basis for a judgement of Americans at large. I appreciate that comments about archaic views
were not pointed at ALL Americans. I think you'd find there are quite a few of us that live in the new century with great hope of better communication, and an openness for varied points of view.

4:01 a.m.  
Blogger Jo said...

Sorry for posting here, but it's not like a discussion board where I can start a new thread!

I've been listening to the commentary - which si really interesting. If it's not too daft a question - why did you have to shoot a film which takes place in the summer in October/November? Is it cheaper to do at that time of year? Is it easier because of there being less people around? I'm puzzled!

3:36 p.m.  
Blogger Logicka said...

The other thing that seems to be causing a lot of debate is an accusation that "These Girls" is 'misandrist' - i.e. shows a hatred of men - because Keith is perceived as getting all the punishment while the girls just get on with their lives. I don't agree 'cos thats way too simplistic for me. I'd be interested to know your comments on the misandy charge too!

6:23 a.m.  
Blogger Red Devil said...

logika - Misandry, a curious accusation indeed. I've seen some of the comments and I'd love to discuss the so called "hatred of men" that supposedly lurks beneath the surface of These girls. I'll post about it soon.

jo - The reason we shot so late in the year and froze our collective asses off was because the money just didn't come together in time. We were originally planning on shooting in August and into September but the production just kept getting pushed. So it was out of our hands. It was a miracle that we had many clear crisp days that appear on camera to look like summer. On many days when we were shooting inside the sky was slate grey and the sea was angry - which is typical fall weather in New Brunswick.

10:45 a.m.  

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