Movies with love scenes: the more explicit, the better?

Sometimes such films serve purely utilitarian purposes – they help to “while away the evening” for a lonely bachelor or they are used to give a new impetus to a new or obsolete relationship between the two partners 🙂

Nowadays, the existence of such films has become familiar and self-evident for us, but everything in this regard was not so simple, and on this occasion I will soon cite the book of Theodore Roshak “Flicker”.

The experienced moviegoers may have noticed that if in European films it is quite in the order of things to see a hero or heroine with a bush of vegetation in the appropriate place on the screen, then in sterile American films everything looks somehow much more aesthetically pleasing, and while the conversations of the heroes seem monstrous cheeky in an usual American way, still cheeky in non-specialized cinema the angles and timing of shooting such erotic scenes will be verified to the millimeter.

So, let’s move after the hero-protagonist of the novel “Flicker” to Central California, USA, to 1958.

I had a natural youthful interest in the mysteries of sexuality. But American films could not satisfy my curiosity – on the contrary, they instilled in me absolutely wrong ideas about women. On the screen every now and then the heroines of chaste purity flashed – Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Deborah Kerr – they seemed to be born in clothes and could not even imagine that lovemaking could go beyond the innocent touch of dry lips. Anything below the collarbone and above the kneecap was automatically excluded by the Legion of Decency (1934-1975).
Even Marilyn Monroe always seemed to me like a clockwork doll – it seemed to me that at the end of filming she was put into the closet, where special props are kept.

But one day the hero and his friends from the graduating class of school were lucky: “staggering on Saturday in one of the decent quarters”, they noticed a poster of the film “Lovers” by the French director Louis Malle at one of the cinemas.

For me, this film gave the camera a reason to demonstrate in all their splendor the intimate details of the adultery scene. A man and a woman in bed, in a bathroom … The ease with which a man and a woman did all this. So indifferent, so businesslike … And no blurry frames or light spots for you. The film seemed to say: such spicy details are commonplace in adult life. And there is nothing to be surprised at. Don’t all of us viewers know about this?

That is why the future film fan became so carried away by French and Italian cinema, as opposed to his own domestic, too sterile American.

Well, in general, are they really needed – the frank love scenes on the screen?

This is what the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk writes in his “Black Book” about an incident that happened to one of his heroes, according to my estimates, around 1965.

I watched in an old movie theater the old American detective film “Red Light”, which was filmed maybe even before the movie theater was built. There was a kissing scene in the film – the most common one, no different from those that can be seen in other black-and-white films, and besides, it was also cut down by our censorship to four seconds… However, when I saw it, I wanted so badly to kiss the woman, to press my lips to the woman’s lips, that I even took my breath away. I was twenty-four years old, but I hadn’t kissed anyone yet. That is, I, of course, have been to the brothels, but the women never kissed on the lips there, and besides I had no desire to kiss them either.

So that impulse imperiously pushes the hero out of the cinema even before the end of the film, and he, as if possessed, begins his wandering through the streets of Istanbul, for some reason quite sure that somewhere in the city there is a woman who, in turn, also dreams of kissing him .. …

He recalls some of his old acquaintances girls and, trying to restore their address in his memory, rushes chaotically around the city … Gradually, the desire for a kiss became so obsessive that it already occurred to him to forcefully kiss some woman, and then do pretending that he made a mistake …

You see how powerful movie magic can be without any gimmicks like explicit scenes …

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We’re just devoted readers of Black book

 I give you hand  and call  to join the journey
To go along the searching path together.

This story will begin one charming morning
When the whole world will be the same as ever
And any resident of Istanbul could lead
His wife in evening to the theatre called "Konak" -
In ancient city where the West meets East
And where the sun hangs over sea like orange.

These narrow winding streets may match Damascus
Where you were wandering to find your love for years.
Do not forget to wear your old black glasses,
You may believe you are bashaw or someone else.

You'll lose your way in maze of city streets
Where you may feel some presence of, it seems,
A person seeking you and soon you'll meet...
No, it's just people rush for their things.

And if perspective is at least a little changed
In this case you will see no symbols any more.

Remembering Ruya means remembering games
Of your idyllic past in the ancestral home.
The man is always woven from his past
And wandering around his life museum, enchanted,
Observes exhibits in a layer of silky dust.

Until you realize your wife has dumped you
You'll joyfully discover secret hints
Of hidden world where Ruya still exists,
And only after this you'll start through tears
To look at her abandoned empty seat.

A loving man sees everywhere reminders
Of his sweetheart with whom he's separated.
She's gone to man from her imaginary garden. . She'll stop to dream of someone when she's grey-haired.

Yet her indifference's deep as silent pit
Which you may see from window of old flat.
And scary thoughts that you want to get rid,
All memories that you need to forget,
Her stuff that's hard for you to look at still -

All things you burry deep into subconscious -
You need to put in former pit that's filled
With earth and turned in gap between the houses.

Then everything will happen like a dream
And as surreal as forgotten book
With you or with a man you'd like to seem
Whose photos and news clippings you've just looked.

You'll look at scary shots in video reports
Which seem you've already seen somewhere.
The clock in house'll be forever stopped.
Life'll be divided in "before" and "after".

Let's leave Galip with his unending woe
Imagining the map of streets with souks
And hearing the city sounds through window -
We're just devoted readers of "Black book".

Galip felt love for Ruyya first while reading
The ancient book together with his friend -
In our thrilling trip sometimes we snuggled in
Each other, getting closer in the end.

The heroes disappear, leaving stage.
We hold back our tears, feeling sad.
And now we may close the last page,
Still thinking of the mystery just read.

I often see The Black Book is not so highly appreciated – perhaps this is due to some unevenness or blurred text, but, in any case, there is a certain captured drive in it.

From the very first line of his novel, Pamuk sets a certain tone for the entire narrative, immersing the reader into the unique Universe of this book – Universe that is at the same time touching and family one and Universe that is full of voluminous meanings. Into the Universe of the life of Galip, who is in love with his wife, which is always eluding him. And into the Universe of the history of Turkey of the 20th century, geographically located between the West and the East and trying to digest these diverse influences in its everyday life at the end of the 20th century, and here it is no wonder to stumble upon a description of the flawed dystopian reality of Soviet reality which is so familiar to us.

Pamuk seeks to add depth to the novel, prompting the reader to identify his characters with archetypes from Eastern culture. The theme of searching and wandering through the maze of streets is layered in the novel on the Eastern tradition of storytelling, sometimes taking a slightly more modern form – reading newspaper articles on a variety of topics, from Trying to be yourself to Rulers playing in dressing-up. And the path of the hero’s quest will miraculously repeat the path of the “cult” author of the Poem on the Hidden Meaning.
And therefore, leafing through this book, one can feel both the diverse breath of the ancient city and the echo of bygone centuries, as well as the despair and insights of one particular person.

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Features of Russian national tourism

Perhaps, I will again change the topic of today’s post a little, and write not about adventure books, but about tourism.
Of course, I love to travel like most of you. But now I’d like rather to dwell on the fact that for me, as well as for many other Russians, tourism is generally something more than just staying in a hotel, swimming in the pool and the evening opportunity to have fun at discos.
In Russian culture, and more percisely – in the Russian verbal space, there is such a well-known phrase (we would nowadays call it something like “meme”): “A poet in Russia is more than a poet”. These words were said by our poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko (who lived and lectured his last years in Tulsa, Oklahoma), who was continuing with this phrase the Russian tradition of reasoning about the proper place of a poet in society – for example, the Russian classical writer Nikolai Nekrasov discussed this in his poem “Citizen and Poet”. And now I will paraphrase this statement of Yevtushenko and say this way: “Tourism in Russia is more than tourism.”
Several months ago, I re-read Orhan Pamuk’s “Black Book”, and while learning the details of the life of Turkish inhabitants of the middle of the 20th century, I discovered a lot in common with the life of the Soviet people of the same period. For many years, we, the Soviet people, lived with the feeling that all the most interesting was happening somewhere out there, behind the border of our tremendous country, and we lived in a kind of backyard of civilization. Judge for yourself: Soviet people understood that the furniture of domestic production was not so fashionable, and the plumbing was not so modern as abroad, and there were much fewer types of sausages in the grocery store, and only those pop stars used to come on tour to Russia whose popularity had long been on the decline, and censorship in our country was raging, meticulously inspecting too bold masterpieces of western cinema and literature.
When, finally, the Iron Curtain was destroyed in 1991, the Russian tourists flooded overseas countries, which we learned before only from books and from films about the “sweet life” of the local bohemia, in which we, for example, might see some offspring of a rich family or a stylish beauty sipping casually some next drink from a fashionable glass on the edge of the pool, with a boring look talking about something very different from the values ​​of the era of developed socialism …

At this very point, I will take this opportunity to post my own photo by the pool, taken in Turkey:)

But still, in order to fully understand the driving force of Russian tourism, you need to take into account another point. In Russia, for example, some architectural styles are missing that are widely represented on the streets of European cities. And, perhaps, even in the most ancient cities of Russia there are no streets associated with such an ancient, and most importantly, with such famous and popular historical facts as there are in Europe.. And well educated Russians are very susceptible to this interest in history.
Here is what one of the heroes of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Teenager” novel, published in 1875, says about this (in this case, I will not dwell on the fact that the hero eloquently contrasts Russia, full of spirituality and suffering for the whole world, and frivolous Europe, leaning into atheism):
“For a Russian, Europe is as precious as Russia: every stone in it is dear. Europe was our fatherland just like Russia. Oh, even more! It is impossible to love Russia more than I love her, but I have never reproached myself for the fact that Venice, Rome, Paris, the treasures of their sciences and arts, their whole history is dearer to me than Russia. Oh, these old strange stones, these miracles of the old world of God, these fragments of holy miracles are so dear to the Russians; and this is even dearer to us than to themselves! They now have other thoughts and other feelings, and they stopped cherishing old stones … “

Perhaps, Russian tourists have a special inclination to visiting Italy with its majestic cities filled with history. And all this fascination, this kind of pleasant intoxication may even not be completely understandable to the locals, who are simply parasitizing the tourism … What I suggest you see in this seven-minute fragment of a Russian-Italian film from 1993 …
If you are lucky enough to know Russian or Italian, then you can even make out what exactly the characters are talking about in this fragment. 🙂 Well, otherwise, you can just enjoy the beautiful views of Venice and let your imagination run wild. 🙂

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As they say, hello to everyone!

So, today I’m starting my blog in English for my future English-speaking readers …
Oh, I really can’t help imagining now I’m pronouncing these very words into the microphone, like a radio host on the air of some kind of radio program – well, actually what I’m going to do in my blog is the kind of text podcast.
Of course, readers are always eager to learn more about the author of the book they interested them … True, one of my favorite authors, the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk, in his essay collection “Other colors” said he did not trust the work of the living authors too much, since he was more comfortable feeling like a fan of the long-dead classics of world literature whose work has already been tested by time, and besides he need not to envy their literary success.:) ….
In general, I am going to talk a lot about literature. This is quite logical – I am fond of reading  books, and besides I am fond of listening to audio books – for example, I do this during my evening walks in the vicinity of my house in Moscow. And, moreover, I like to re-read books  I have already read – I would say  some books have taken some firm place in my soul.
As for my literary preferences, usually it’s either intellectual detectives or prose in an elegant style. How can this be? The fact is that I am not indifferent to both the exquisite literary style with the analysis of the smallest sensations, and, at the same time,  to the gripping plot too – oh, I really like to empathize with the hero who “is skating on the knife’s edge” – as our Russian classic writer,  “sun of Russian poetry” Alexander Pushkin said, I like to anticipate that now I’ll “shed my tears over the fiction”…  By the way, in my head  a huge number of quotes lives, mainly from Russian and Soviet literature and from Russian rock poetry – perhaps someone of you will even feel it while reading the text of my book “I Am Becoming a Woman” which will be released on Amazon on August 14, but which is already available now on pre-order at a special price $2.99 USD.

No, you may not be afraid  there is some  overabundance of quotes in my text. I think that the author needs to be carefull enough with citation . For example, I did not even dare to read Ulysses by Joyce with an overabundance of allusions, which are, most likely, are little known namely for me . And while reading “Don’t Point That Thing At Me” by Kyril Bonfiglioli, I had the thought that without literary quotes and without diligent descriptions of culinary preferences of protagonist, there will be almost nothing left in the text of the novel.
Well, as for Pushkin – our Russian children absorb Pushkin’s poems literally with their mother’s milk. I’m not sure that one can translate Pushkin into English without losing anything at all. Even in one of my favorite books, The Goldfinch by Donna Tarrt, the difficulties of translating Pushkin are discussed – closer to the end of the novel, Theo tells Boris, whom he considers Russian:
“You know what I did in college? … I took Conversational Russian for a year. Totally because of you. I did really shitty in it, actually. Never got good enough to read it, you know, to sit down with Eugene Onegin —you have to read it in Russian, they say, it doesn’t come through in translation.
And Boris answers him:
“All that fucking school,” said Boris, plainly unimpressed. “If you want to speak Russian, come to Moscow with me. You will speak it in two months. ”

in short, I love action-adventure books, too.
In my next post, I just plan to dwell a little that it is quite possible to love both the high and low genres at the same time.

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