Last week the Academy Award-nominated Polish film, In Darkness, expanded its small limited release from LA and New York to a suburban art house near you following the award show’s exposure for the Anne Frank meets Caligula World War II drama. Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz) was a real man who hid and protected a dozen Jewish refugees in the sewers of Lvov from 1943 to the end of the war, all while trying to keep his own reluctant do-gooding a secret from his wife and the Nazi soldiers inhabiting his city. Unlike previous films which share similar plots to In Darkness, this one registers as little more than a dirty sex film. Not to say the film’s constant depiction of sex is particularly pornographic, but rather it is dirty due to its location – a sewer.
Yes, the film has a lot of sewer sex. As in, people on the run were bumping uglies next to rats swimming in filth. In the words of Twitch’s Peter Martin: “who knew that raw sewage was such a strong aphrodisiac?” I certainly did not, and after sitting through the approximately 100 hours In Darkness takes to unfold, it became clear that maybe I was missing out on this new world of weird places to get it on. I will admit now, I did not run down to my closest manhole to explore the going-ons of the Dallas underworld, however I did put together a list of unconventional (yet hot?) places films have graciously deemed perfect for fucking.
Sewer – In Darkness
Having said that, let’s go back to In Darkness, shall we? There is enough to rant about here for days, but rather than waste your valuable work boredom reading time I’d like to just focus on the task at hand – the sewer. From the film’s first five minutes, director Agnieszka Holland quickly establishes the audience should expect some personal loving time in excruciating long takes, as Socha and his wife get all kinds of intimate after he stops by his beloved sewers (he knows them better than his wife) to drop off some stolen loot. Reeking of city he crawls into bed with his young daughter barely asleep near them, a moment we will see repeated by refugee and cheating father Yanek (Marcin Bosak) a few scenes later when he fucks his mistress while his wife and daughter watch. Yes, this is that kind of film.
Once safely secured in the sewer, Yanek cannot control himself any longer (I guess the excitement of running from the Nazis is also a bit of a turn-on?) and again sneaks into bed with his mistress while all but one of their fellow bunkmates try to sleep through it. The sole witness to this round of stress relief is Klara (Agnieszka Grochowska) who is so aroused that she begins pleasuring herself along with the couple, stopping only when she is caught by the object of her affection, Mundek (Benno Furmann). Later, those two find themselves clumsily boning in rain water drainage after they are reunited following a short trip Mundek takes to sneak into a local concentration camp. It’s hard to decide if the sex is used as a clever plot device to expose these characters as human or show an aspect of human nature we rarely see in war films, but it is certainly shocking to see people so insatiable that they will ignore the smells and ick around them.
A Hot Tub with a Paraplegic – Our Day Will Come
In the above clip, the creepy-sexy French dish Vincent Cassel (Patrick) is sitting in a hot tub with a couple trying to unwind after a long day. Patrick invades their personal space as his psycho sidekick Remy (Olivier Barthelemy) holds them hostage with a crossbow. In a previous scene he tired of two young girls he invited back to his room for some light gag-play, and in a moment of extreme madness he slips into the hot tub with the man and his paraplegic wife. Patrick stares at them, daring the couple to do anything but watch as he begins to masturbate under the bubbles. The powerful scene provides an intense look into the sexual thrill of power and humiliation, as Patrick is both turned on and disgusted with himself upon his climax. He leaves the cowering couple in the hot soup, while he and Remy continue on their trip of terror from Paris to Ireland.
A Horse Trailer– Target (Mishen)
Like we’ve mentioned before, 2011 was a great year for groundbreaking sex depictions in film. The Russian retelling of Anna Karenina, Mishen (Target), will hopefully spend some more time on festival circuits this year with a potential American release so anyone looking for an endurance test can watch this visually stunning work of art. A film meant to both mental and sexual stimulate, Mishen holds nothing back when it comes to talking about the destruction sex and love can have on people. In one particularly grueling scene, lovers Zoe (Justine Waddell) and Nikolay (Vitaly Kishchenko) are going crazy, each approaching psychotic breaks, and have run away with each other to Victor’s horse farm.
There they can hardly keep their hands off each other, as sex allows them moments of clarity nothing else can afford them, and the couple spends the next few days crawling and fucking in his hay-covered horse trailer. Acting and living as animals doesn’t have the affect on two well-to-do people we would think, rather it offers them a sense of calm even though Victor and Zoe are buzzing with sexual and mental arousal. It isn’t until Victor shoves a metal horse bit in Zoe’s mouth that the couple is able to break from their role play to see the reality from the fantasy.
On the Floor, Next to Your Fellow Soldiers – Enemy at the Gates
Finally no list of strange, head-scratching turn on locations is complete without 2001’s Enemy at the Gates. In the infamous scene above Tania (Rachel Weisz),a woman torn between two men, makes her dramatic choice between Vassili (Jude Law) and his friend Cmmisar Danilov (Joseph Fiennes) by sneaking into Vassili’s sleeping bag for some intimate time while his platoon sleeps soundly next to him. Even with the constant interruptions of soldiers walking around and one sitting mere feet away on watch, the couple is able to climax together (a true fantasy if I ever saw one!) before settling in for a quick nap. Unsurprisingly, this scene is both incredibly sexy and anxiety provoking for anyone with an exhibitionist side to them. Something I hope director Jean-Jacques Annaud intended.
What are some places films presented as perfectly suitable sex locations that make you question the characters’ sanity?