It is undeniable that the world of erotica has been more thoroughly explored in world cinema than in British cinema. Although recent films like 9 Songs or Brilliantlove are changing these preconceptions.
Many cinema classics have explored eroticism in humanity, including Bunuel’s Belle de Jour (Catherine Deneuve’s central performance is one of the most daring in film history), the boundary-breaking Swedish movie I Am Curious (Yellow) and, more recently, Ang Lee’s award-winning Lust, Caution.
Certain world cinema auteurs specialised in erotica films. British-born David Hamilton’s achingly pretty French films (Tendres Cousins, Premiers Desirs) which explore the burgeoning sexuality of teenage girls won him many fans. While the shamelessly trashy Tinto Brass owes his career to the genre, from delightfully daft sex farces (Paprika) to darker movies (Salon Kitty, Caligula).
Walerian Borowczyk’s best work, such as The Beast, his incredible masterpiece, explores the effect sexuality has on women. Agent provocateur Catherine Breillat offers a feminist perspective in her shockingly graphic work, such as Brief Crossing and the uniquely extreme Anatomy of Hell. From serious studies of sexuality to salacious titillation, world cinema has exploited erotica to its fullest.