Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 2 of 2 items for

  • Author: Anthony Barker x
Clear All Modify Search
Open access

Anthony Barker

Abstract

Since the mid-twentieth century, we have passed from a time where sexual frankness was actively obstructed by censorship and industry self-regulation to an age when pornography is circulated freely and is fairly ubiquitous on the Internet. Attitudes to sexually explicit material have accordingly changed a great deal in this time, but more at the level of the grounds on which it is objected to rather than through a general acceptance of it in the public sphere. Critical objections now tend to be political or aesthetic in nature rather than moralistic. Commercial cinema still seems wary of a frank exploration of sexuality, preferring to address it tangentially in genres such as the erotic thriller. In Europe, an art house canon of sexually explicit movies has formed, starting with Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris (1972) and the French-produced In the Realm of the Senses (1976). This article looks at the steps taken since the 1970s to challenge out-of-date taboos and yet at the same time differentiate the serious film about sex from both pornography (operating in parallel with mainstream cinema but in its shadow) and the exploitation film. After reviewing the art film’s relationship with both hard and soft core, two recent films, Intimacy (2000) and 9 Songs (2005), are analyzed for their explicit content and for the way they articulate their ideas about sex through graphic depictions of sexual acts. Compulsive and/or claustrophobic unsimulated sexual behaviour is used as a way of asking probing questions of intimacy (and its filmability). This is shown to be a very different thing from the highly visual and staged satisfactions of pornography.

Open access

Anthony Barker

Abstract

Charles Dickens’s work has been taken and adapted for many different ends. Quite a lot of attention has been given to film and television versions of the novels, many of which are very distinguished. The stage and screen musical based on his work, essentially a product of the last fifty years, has been neither as studied nor as respected. This paper looks at the connection between Dickens’s novels, the celebration of “London-ness” and its articulation in popular forms of working-class music and song. It will argue that potentially unpromising texts were taken and used to articulate pride and a sense of community for groups representing the disadvantaged of the East End and, more specifically, for first-generation Jewish settlers in London. This is all the more surprising as it was in the first instance through depictions of Oliver Twist and the problematic figure of Fagin that an Anglo-Jewish sensibility was able to express itself. Other texts by Dickens, notably Pickwick Papers, A Christmas Carol and The Old Curiosity Shop, were also adapted to musical forms with varying results, but the period of their heyday was relatively short, as their use of traditional and communitarian forms gave place in the people’s affection to manufactured pop/rock and operetta forms. I will argue that this decline was partly the product of changing London demographics and shifts in theatre economics and partly of the appropriation of Dickens by the academy.