The Pleasure Principle
From Victorian voyeurism to Soho striptease: how a hidden film industry emerged to satisfy the sexual appetites of (male) viewers.
Sex and cinema have been bawdy bedfellows almost since the first flickering frames hit a screen. As early as 1896, saucy shorts were already being cranked out to titillate voyeuristic - and invariably male - Victorian viewers. Time and tastes have moved on, and taboos have been swept away, but sex remained a constant preoccupation, and filmmakers continued to explore, enact and exploit our deepest, darkest desires - often attracting the attention of the censor in the process. This highly-combustible collection revisits and contextualises these sometimes scandalous, oft-disreputable films, incorporating 'mondo'-style exposés of Soho striptease, voyeuristic studies of British nudists and tragic tales of good girls gone bad - and much more besides.
Animation & Artists Moving Image197912 minsSilent
A relationship liable to blow up at any moment is at the heart of this animated short about a man and an inflatable sex doll
Beauty in Brief
Drama19554 minsSilent Location: London
A young bride-to-be models a modish nylon nightie before a voyeuristic camera in this silent 1950s striptease film.
Talent Contest (Fun Palace outtakes)
Amateur film196310 minsSilent Location: London
A compelling glimpse inside an unnamed East End pub in 1963 where a talent show takes place featuring singers and strippers.
Documentary drama192939 minsSilent Location: Welwyn Garden City
This striking female-focused silent drama muses on the long-term perils of sexually transmitted diseases
Once Upon a Sunday
Amateur film196910 mins Location: Leeds
The disappointment of youthful love, as the gritty realism of the early 1960s stands in stark contrast with the fantasies of the later 1960s.
Nude Woman by Waterfall
A model poses in and out of her diaphanous shift in this risqué experiment from British cinema pioneer Claude Friese-Greene
Stranger in the City
Documentary196122 mins Location: London
Pay a voyeuristic visit to the striptease bars on some of London's shadow-shrouded backstreets in this 1961 short film