Thursday, 27 April 2017

Sexy Film Reviews: The Housemaid

Please do not read this review if you do not wish to know plot developments

Not to be confused with the more recently released The Handmaiden, this film, The Housemaid, also hailing from South Korea, and released in 2010, is apparently a re-make of a much lauded 1960 release of the same name, and while I haven’t see the original, the quality of the story-telling in this version leaves me in no doubt this film stands firmly on its own merits.

Beautifully directed by Im Sang-soo, the deliberate and unrushed pacing, the tale’s beguiling unfolding, the quietly and intermittently observed details of manner and gaze, the strong composition, the wonderfully crisp cinematography of Hyung-deok Lee, the bold palette of dark and light with supporting muted tones, all these elements lend their seductive weight to the pervading sense of sombre gravity and effortless sensuality.

Elegantly erotic, The Housemaid is essentially a very powerful drama, a tragedy in fact. And a dark and twisted tale it is, with a truly shocking ending.

And this is where I encountered a slight problem with the film. Not the shocking ending in itself, nor the fact it is a tragedy per se, but the fact that to a degree it felt like a film of two halves. The alluring eroticism permeating the first half of the film evaporated half way through. Not that the quality of the film was affected in any way at all. But after the plot developed through some deftly executed and very sinister twists, the second half of the film virtually dispensed with the sensuality and eroticism and it became simply a morality tale and a tragedy. Very accomplished, but a story that turned its back on the eroticism. As if that had simply been the hook, and now there is the consequence. A progression I can understand, and which is satisfactorily logical, but which left me wondering if the film as a whole was not somewhat diminished by not maintaining the erotic timbre even as the tragedy unfolded.

Nevertheless, this is a fantastically enjoyable and thought-provoking film, and one which I certainly recommend watching. I’m sure I shall watch it again sometime soon. Of its very many pleasures, one of the highlights for me was Yeo-jeong Yoon’s superbly nuanced and meticulously restrained but emotionally powerful portrayal of the elder housekeeper. An acting masterclass if ever there was one.

So, a wonderfully made film, and very entertaining. Perhaps just shy of all it could have been?

Reuben’s Rating: 8/10

Monday, 24 April 2017

Out 'n' About - Ceanothus?

In a street just round the corner - Ceanothus impressus 'Puget Blue'? Not sure, but it's a hue that's scintillating to the eye.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Afroerotik [by AfroerotiK]

I absolutely love this wonderful artwork from Afroerotik. It is so beautifully intimate, sumptuously sensual and powerfully erotic.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Friday, 31 March 2017


Purple velvet of her golden fingers
Brushing, brushing
Over shrub-forested pearls,
Round and round
Into recurring dreams
Bright as mirrored stars,
Earthen-rusted satin berries
In dark woodland night.

Eyes abstracted,
A diamond necklace lost
In a midnight stream,
Perfumed mist,

O come to me, my beloved,
Her every sinew sings
In rarest silence,
Like the spectacle of the aurora borealis
Transferring energy
Into light.

O come to me, my darling,
Her complex heart entreats
From the cool of the bracken.

There, where the stars return,
She holds court.
A stolen, aching, momentary refraction,
Like a sunflower,
An invisible orchid.

She is not far
From the raucous notions
Of infinity and love,
The superclusters of appearance and nuance,
Intrigue and desire,
Where the sweetness of cherry tomatoes on the vine
Borders delirium,
Seed swallowed
Into oblivious history.

The long stroll through the garden
Is a dream,
All the bright flowers,
Pink, blue, tangerine,
These are her inspiration and affirmation.
The woodland is her closest confidante,
Her ally in times of clarity.

Her hand kneads her soft mons pubis,
Pressing as if all the cosmos could be contained
In a pamphlet
Or a poem
Or deep night only.

She wants the gold and the copper,
The coal and the zinc,
All of it,
Between her teeth,
Running through her hair.

Her fingertips potentate
Fire life into obliqueness,
Drawing driftwood back into the sea.

Her eyes open
To mysterious reality,
And she closes them again
In a moment of mercy.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Fine Art, Erotic Art and Pornography

Like most of us, I too am a somewhat complex person, and I enjoy very different kinds of art. I wouldn’t want to restrict my own personal sensibilities any more than I would wish to restrict, for example, those of my readers. Labels can be useful in certain contexts, but essentially a true sense of life always reaches beyond categories and labels.

I love art generally – profoundly, passionately and purely (as in, for its own sake).

I especially love ‘fine art’, i.e. painting, photography and sculpture. And, for the sake of discussing distinctions, I should say that this by natural extension includes ‘artistic nudes’.

I also enjoy specifically ‘erotic art’ (though, of course, ‘fine art’ can in itself be intensely erotic without necessarily being labelled as ‘erotic art’ per se).

And I also like ‘pornography’.

I love many other creative disciplines as well, but it is particularly as concerns art, erotic art and pornography that I wanted to clarify my views here, because people’s sensibilities can be affected quite dramatically in venturing between, or reacting to, these different ‘categories’.

As concerns art, erotic art and pornography, then, the main thing I would like to say is that I realise that in many ways these categories are indeed very different from each other, and I recognise the distinctions between them very clearly. The three different fields can have very distinctive criteria, objectives and sensibilities. But I like all three, and want to be clear that I appreciate each for its own sake, according to its own distinct criteria, without lumping them all together.

If an artist does, say, nude work and clarifies that they do not consider their work to be aspiring to the erotic, I believe, understand and respect that individual’s approach, and I personally will take their work on the terms they delineate. Most particularly as one artist to another. Fully recognising the artist’s right to self-determination. Without artistic self-determination, there is no art. The truly incredible Alberto Giacometti is a wonderful example that springs to mind.

I love the range of sensibilities evident in erotic art, from the subtle to the downright coarse. And I also love pornography, not everything of course (who does?) but a variety of different kinds of porn, and I don’t want to pretend that I don’t, because that would be dishonest and in fact diminish my own work of erotic fiction which is itself in a very positive sense, I would argue, very pornographic.

Personally, I love the exploration and affirmation of human sexuality through art. Hey, call me a deviant if you wish, but without sex, neither you nor I would be here to discuss either our own sexuality or the distinctions between art and porn. It’s a bit like breathing and eating and using the internet; it’s one of the fundamentals. So why ignore it? It’s part of being human.

As concerns porn, then, I find that I want to be honest about my love of porn just as much as I do about my love of, say, Turner, or Rembrandt, and I want to appreciate the dignity and rights of those individuals in porn as much as those of any other artist, and in fact I support advocacy of performer rights for those in pornography. I believe respect, autonomy (by which I mean self-determination) and fair working rights for porn performers should be universally recognised. Enough of the dirty secrets, and more of the dirty honesty. Not to mention fairness and justice.

But, and this is crucial to my point here, my enjoyment of porn does not in any way diminish my enjoyment or understanding of, say, ‘artistic nudes’, or ‘fine art’ generally. And it does not to any degree diminish my respect for any artist’s dignity, creativity, self-identified criteria or aspirations if an artist identifies their work as being distinct from ‘pornography’. Any more than my enjoyment of porn in any way to any degree affects my respect and appreciation of, for example, Vermeer and his work.

I can appreciate, understand, recognise and respect distinctions between ‘fine art’, ‘erotic art’ and ‘pornography’. I just happen to enthusiastically enjoy and appreciate all of these, and do so on their own merits. And I’m okay with this. I can deal with this. And I sincerely I hope you can too.