Friday, May 20, 2022

Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies

Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies is exactly what sounds the like. The 2020 documentary takes a look at nudity in film from its humble beginnings to the ups and downs of regulation to current views. Interviews with actors and film historians examine the give-and-take in Hollywood pushing experimentation and mores of the time versus waves of censorship in a constantly evolving view on the subject which changes with the times.

Of course the film is also notable for the several nude clips of the movies discussed from everything from 1915's Inspiration to Caligula and Showgirls. Through both the clips and interviews, the difference between necessary and exploitative nudity is also discussed, as are the differing opinions of actresses looking back on their experiences.

Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies turns out to be an interesting way to examine not only the shift in the United States' view on nudity over time but also the change in film itself with the creation of sex comedies, women in prison exploration films, and other genres (including the corruption of the X rating) that sprung from attempts to regulate the industry or work around that regulation. It also touches on the gender bias of nudity in film and how the MeToo movement altered how producers treated women in movies where nudity is concerned.

Also available on streaming, the film has been recently released on DVD for the first time. The nudity reference and shown is more mater-of-fact than shocking, and although there is quite a bit of it none of it seems excessive given the nature of the larger discussion at play. The only thing truly shocking is how many films the documentary was able to procure clips to include. For those interested in the subject matter, director Danny Wolf delivers a rather straightforward look on the subject of nudity in film and how it has evolved over time.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies
  • IMDb: link

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