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The thing about orgy

india Updated: Mar 07, 2010 18:34 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times
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Hollywood sex scenes have ignited many a libido and even made for popcorn conversation later. Their treatment, relevance and hotness quotient have got even the most saintly talking. But if a couple doing ‘it’ has set minds afire, an orgy (group sex) and its depiction on celluloid, has invited controversies.

Twilight hunk Robert Pattinson will soon feature in a ‘tasteful’ orgy scene in his next film, Bel Ami. But he’s only jumping the wagon decades after many screen idols gave lust a new definition with such scenes.

Defying boundaries
Orgies have made Hollywood’s fascination for kink evident. From filmmaking genius Cecil B. DeMille’s depiction of the downfall of ancient Rome with an orgy scene in Manslaughter to cinema great Stanley Kubrick’s masked communal love-making in Eyes Wide Shut, filmmakers have constantly defied boundaries.

DeMille, for one, was intrigued by the phenomenon of group sex. For it wasn’t only Manslaughter that brought to light this fantas(y)-tic facet of his creativity. The director’s hit, The Ten Commandments (1923) also showed Hebrews worshipping the golden calf with people engaged in a massive orgy.

And then there were filmmakers such as Erich Von Stroheim, who delved deeper. In his film, The Wedding March (1928), Von showcased a bold scene of a drunken celebration and orgy in a brothel. The fantasy also got a vent through Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni’s first English film, Zabriskie Point (1970). Though the film was a box-office dud, it hit bull’s eye with the youth for a ‘lovely’ orgy sequence in the dunes.

Changing times
While the presentation of mass love-making was restricted to niche films till the late 60s, films such as Caligula (1979) dragged it to the commercial periphery in the 70s. The Gor Vidal film which featured mainstream actors such as Peter O'Toole and Helen Mirren, made news for its explicit scenes.

But the portrayal of orgies has undergone a sea change now. Contemporary films such as The Idiots and Basic Instinct 2, present the fantasy as a modern-day reality. For them, it’s OK.

Director Gol Vidal’s Caligua (1979), featuring Peter O’Toole and Helen Mirren, made news for its explicit scenes.

Orgy-nic matters
Perfume; the Story of a Murder, a German film released in 2006.

Eyes Wide Shut starring Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, released in 1999.

The Idiots by Lars Von Trier, released in 1998.

Breaking The Waves, released in 1996.

Mira Sorvino’s Killer Queen.