Judge Busts-Up CleanFilms

A federal judge in Denver has ruled that if you're going to rent a movie, you must rent the naughty bits too, lest the artistic vision be undermined. No word on whether he issued a moratorium on Fast Forward as well.

Off topic, but riffing on a throw-away line in the Reason magazine account of the case, I was pleased to see this remark:
I have no problem with gratuitous nudity (is there any other kind in a movie?) . . .

Stars on talk-show couches are always asked about nude scenes, and once the usual blushes, appreciative audience whistles, and double entendres are out of the way, they usually mumble something about only doing nudity when the scene or character really calls for it. Nudity in service of truth, in other words.

It's my contention, however, that nudity onstage or in film just about always breaks "the 4th wall" (between the actor and the audience), interrupting the narrative flow and abruptly reminding the audience that they're watching a movie. The story stops and the. . .appreciation (or cellulite analysis and comparison) of the actor begins.

This might not be true in a movie like Schindler's List, where nudity is meant to dehumanize and the bodies aren't attractive. But in any love scene I think it's true. I first noticed this in high school when I heard two of my guy friends referring to an actress who'd given a magnificent performance in some serious movie we'd seen with a gesture suggestive of her curves. Which I could dismiss as typical adolescent behavior, except from then on I started to notice the way nudity is described in movie reviews. Typically reviewers don't tell you about the beautiful passion of the lovers or what the character did nude. They rate the actors' bodies. When Victor/Victoria was released, the WaPo reviewer told us about Julie Andrews' "surprisingly youthful breasts," and similar remarks have been made about the relative youth and/or bravery of Sharon Stone, Diane Keaton, Kathy Bates. . . and Mel Gibson. It's never a character who's nude. It's an actor. So . . .not meaning to ruin anyone's fun, but unless you want to break the 4th wall, nudity is not a good story-telling choice.

Curtsy: Instapundit.