Sex and violence have been popular themes at the Cannes Film Festival this year. No, we’re not talking about the rampant prostitution and the gunshots fired during a live TV show: we’re talking about movies featuring sex and violence that are making a lot of waves, both good and bad.
Cannes has a long history of pushing the limits with sex and violence: think "Pulp Fiction," "Sex Lies," "Videotape," and "Antichrist." So which films are pushing moviegoers’ buttons this year?
1. Sex: "Grand Central"
Hot co-workers at a nuclear power plant fall in lust and make whoopee on their off-hours, when they’re not being decontaminated. Oh, and she’s engaged to someone else.
2. Violence: "Heli"
Two scenes in this film have commanded the most attention. In this story about the Mexican drug trade, a man is tortured and killed in a most unpleasant way, starting with his privates being doused with gasoline and set ablaze. In the second, a puppy, whose name is Cookie, has neck its cracked in two.
3. Sex: "Young and Beautiful"
This French film stars out with its pretty 16-year-old protagonist Isabelle topless on a beach, and then spins into a strange story of this rich girl deciding, for no apparent reason, to become a prostitute right after she loses her virginity. It has received mixed reviews.
4. Violence: "Only God Forgives"
Julian (Ryan Gosling) runs a boxing company in Thailand that’s really a front for his family’s drug ring. If that weren’t enough, when his brother gets killed, his mom makes him find the killer. Sounds – and looks -- painful.
5. Sex and Violence: "A Touch of Sin"
This is a Chinese film, one of the first to deal with real-life problems in China that actually received money from the government for its production. The sex is mainly absurdist, with Chinese sex workers on one scene proclaiming to their guests : “Welcome to the Golden Age.” The violence is more real, with fist fights, murders, and a woman fighting off a rape with bloody results.