R100 is a 2013 Japanese absurdist comedy. A depressed man enters a contract to be assaulted by dominatrixes in random places at random times.
It starts off relatively realistically. Katayama is a depressed furniture salesman dealing with raising his young son while his wife has been in a coma for years. He visits a company known only as “Bondage”. The host has him sit on a merry-go-round and view dominatrixes. The offer is a one-year contract during which different dominatrixes will assault him unpredictably. Katayama agrees.
Nymphomaniac Volume 2 is the second part of notorious director Lars von Trier’s 2013 film about a woman with sexual compulsion.
The framing story is that Seligman, an elderly academic, finds a beaten women in an alley near his apartment, and takes her home. She says her name is Joe, and when Seligman asks her how she ended up in his alley, she says she would have to tell him her entire life story. Over one night, Joe tells Seligman her biography in search of sexual pleasure, with frequent asides from both of them on topics ranging from techniques of fly fishing to the history of religious art. This dialog also acts as a kind of trial, with Joe prosecuting herself as a bad person who deserved her mistreatment, and Seligman defending her decisions and her worth as a person.
[Note: all English quotes are from the English dub.]
The relaxation of film censorship in the 1960s and 1970s, both in the US and abroad, created an interesting period in mainstream films were much more daring in terms of sexuality and violence, while some porn films had bigger budgets and higher production values to play in mainstream theatres and reach a larger audience. Naturally, someone would try to adapt arguably the most famous novel about BDSM to the big screen, Histoire d’O by “Pauline Reage” (aka Anne Desclos), published 1954.
Shooting of season 5 of Billions was interrupted by COVID, and the second half of the season didn’t air until 2021. Of the various plot threads picked up, the only one that concerns us is Chuck’s sex life. We last saw him involved with the sexually adventurous Cat, but as of S05E08 “Copenhagen”, it’s over.
Chuck: “I liked it. Of course I liked it. Give me pistachio ice cream, I’ll eat it and smile, as Diamond David Lee Roth would say. But it was uncomfortable. Just too many limbs. Too many questions. Oh, what to do? Give me rum raisin, on the other hand, I’ll inhale the whole point and root around the fridge to find another one. Then that’s what I was missing.”
Other guy: “Cat seems pretty liberated. Have you broached the subject of what you really want?”
Chuck: “As you said, she’s smart and she’s sensitive and she saw, she saw that it would never work, not all the for me, not without, you know… [clicks tongue] And so she said something along the lines of, ‘We’ll always have Paris.’ Only the words she used were harsher, and all about wasting her time.”
Earlier seasons of Billions made Chuck’s masochism a major part of both his personality and his relationship with Wendy. Now it’s been demoted to the same importance as his taste in ice cream. Apart from snide comments from other people, Chuck’s sex life doesn’t come up again.
Note that trailers for season 6 suggest that Chuck will continue to practice kink and he may even see Troy the pro-domme again.
Bitter Moon (IMDB) is a 1992 erotic/romance film, directed by the notorious Roman Polanski, based on the novel Lunes de Fiel by Pascal Bruckner
Nigel goes on an ocean cruise with his wife, Fiona, where he becomes fascinated by a beautiful, mysterious woman named Mimi. Her husband, a paraplegic would-be writer named Oscar, demands that Nigel listen to his story of his obsessive love with Mimi before Nigel has an affair with her. Like another tale of twisted love, Nabokov’s Lolita, we shouldn’t take the narrator at face value. Mimi privately tells Nigel: “You musn’t believe all he says. He’s a sick man. He imagines things.”
In Oscar’s story, he is a self-consciously literary archetype, an independently wealthy young American living in Paris to become a writer. On a bus trip, he becomes smitten with Mimi, a young French woman.
Mimi is a cipher, with almost nothing more to her than being a beautiful French dancer, at least in Oscar’s telling. The early stages of their romance go from sweetly romantic to an adolescent’s idea of eroticism.
Oscar: (to Nigel) “I’m only going into such detail to show you how completely enslaved I was, body and soul, by this creature whose dangerous charms have made such an impression on you.”
Bones S10E03, “The Purging of the Pundit”, aired October 9, 2014 IMDB
Unlike in the previous Bones episode, “The Girl in the Fridge”, BDSM is closely integrated into both the mystery and Booth’s character arc in “The Purging of the Pundit”.
Forensic procedurals are all about the puzzle, and in this case the victim’s masochism provides the puzzle. The body of a right-wing media figure, “Hutch” Whitehouse, is found partially consumed by animals. His corpse shows signs of being bound and tortured, including repeatedly struck in the testicles, but it also appears to be consensual.
Fuentes: “It’s like he was enjoying being murdered.”
“Escape from the Dungeon!”, aired September 26, 2010
Bored to Death is an American comedy TV series (IMDB) about Jonathan Ames, a struggling writer who moonlights as an “unlicensed private detective”.
In “Escape from the Dungeon!” (S02E01), Jonathan meets Drake, a mounted NYPD officer, who needs his name removed from the hard drive of the BDSM dungeon he frequents before it is raided by the police. He says the dungeon is involved in money laundering, not that it will be raided for sex work charges.
Romanceis a 1999 French drama film, written and directed by Catherine Breillat.
[Unless noted otherwise, all quotations are from the subtitles.]
Breillat is notorious for explicitly showing sexual acts in her films, as well as her unsentimental view of heterosexual relations. Sex between men and women is always a conflict in Breillat’s films, though who is winning isn’t always clear.
The protagonist is Marie (Caroline Ducey), a young woman who lives with her boyfriend Paul (Sagamore Stévenin), a model. In the first scene, Marie watches from a distance as Paul is posed as a matador in a photoshoot with another female model. The photographer instructs Paul and the model in performing proper masculinity and femininity.
They return to their apartment, where their clothes and the furnishings are all white and off-white. Instead of innocence, it suggests sterility and emptiness. Paul rejects Marie’s sexual advances again, in a reversal of the usual gender roles.
Paul’s passive-aggressive head game is that if he completely eliminates sexual desire in himself, he gains the upper hand in his relationship with Marie. Having her dance on the end of his string is more interesting to him than actually fucking her.
Live Nude Girls is a 1995 comedy-drama film, about a group of women who gather for a bachelorette party and mostly talk about sex.
The film starts with women as tween girls having a slumber party in a tent with a poster of David Cassidy, the dawning of their sexuality. In the present, the women mostly talk about their early experiences in the 70s, like reading page 26 of The Godfather, or sneaking peeks at their fathers’ copies of Playboy. Some of these are acted out in fantasy sequences. These women have a complex tangle of desire, vanity, anxiety and shame in their past and present sexual lives.