Thursday, 6 September 2012
Ecstasy was made in Czechoslovakia by director Gustav Machaty in 1933. It starred a young actress called Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, later to become Hedy Lamarr in Hollywood. The film is perhaps best known for it's nude scene, and while not the first film to show nudity, it is considered the first to depict intercourse and a woman having an orgasm. During the early days of censorship in American film it was banned for "violation of the Production Code. This violation is suggested by the basic story...in that it is a [story] of illicit love and frustrated sex, treated in detail without sufficient compensating moral values..."
The reality is that it is one of the most moral tales imaginable, and by today's standards far from explicit. But that is not why I am writing this. Having recently watched the film again it struck me that is a masterful lesson in film making. Virtually a silent movie, every frame is there for a purpose and that is to tell the story. It is beautifully written, paced, lit and acted. A wonderful example of how simplicity of approach can still be capable of expressing the most complex of human emotions...