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History, Czech-Style

While I continue to digest the many films I’ve seen at IFFBoston (and continue to see today), please enjoy this excerpt from a new Czech book, Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century, as excerpted in the May issue of Harper’s:

Sex became very important in Europe in the twentieth century, more important than religion and almost as important as money, and everyone wanted to have sexual intercourse in different ways. And after the Second World War, films started to include scenes in which the leading characters had sexual intercourse, which was previously considered improper because lots of people still believed in God and sexual intercourse was generally only hinted at by a shot of a bed or a clock or the sky, or it suddenly went dark. In the fifties film heroes usually had sexual intercourse in cornfields because cornfields were associated with youth and the new life awaiting the young heroes, and wind ruffled the ears of corn as the sun sank on the horizon and women’s bosoms heaved, and in the sixties film heroes had sexual intercourse in the surf on the ocean shore because it was romantic and sand clung to their skin, and their bottoms could be seen, and mist hung over the water. In the sixties pornographic films were made in whch people had sexual intercourse almost nonstop in varous places. And in art films there was more and more sexual intercourse, but the critics said that it was something else, that it was not sexual intercourse as such but its representation, that the film expressed our entomological attitude toward love, which was fine because it enabled us to reflect more effectively on the role of sexual intercourse not only in an anthropological, cultural, or political context but also in human life. In the seventies film heroes mostly had sexual intercourse in motorcars because it was original and the speed of life was increasing all the time, and young people who did not have cars could imagine what was in store for them one day. And men increasingly lay on their backs and women sat on them because they were now emancipated.

And now, off to the theater again…

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