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Sex

Despite the accessibility of erotica, audiences still seek out the more substantial approaches to sex that only narrative cinema can offer.

Here you’ll find the full array, from Sixties-era cautionary tales to incisive art films that scrutinise the theme of sexual obsession.

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The HousemaidThe Housemaid

Thriller2010107 minsDirector: Im Sang-soo

An enigmatic housemaid and her wealthy, totalitarian employer begin an affair that will have disastrous consequences for them both.

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Her WayHer Way

Drama202197 minsDirector: Cécile Ducrocq

From writer-director Cécile Ducrocq comes a bold, provocative drama starring an electric Laure Calamy (Call My Agent!) as a single mother and sex worker in a desperate situation.

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VarietyVariety

Drama1984101 minsDirector: Bette Gordon

Bette Gordon’s groundbreaking, gloriously subversive neo-noir thriller is one of the very best American underground films.

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LibertéLiberté

Drama2019138 minsDirector: Albert Serra

Albert Serra’s explicit and opulent exploration of the limits of the erotic imagination is realised in this remarkably radical and subversive cinematic experience.

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Leap YearLeap Year

Drama201092 minsDirector: Michael Rowe

Michael Rowe’s outstanding, Cannes winning debut feature is a bold, minimalist study of a woman’s urban isolation and self-destructive acts.

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The Woman Next DoorThe Woman Next Door

Drama1981105 minsDirector: François Truffaut

Happily married Bernard (Gérard Depardieu) has his life is thrown into turmoil when Mathilde (Fanny Ardant) - an old flame - moves into the house opposite.

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The HandmaidenThe Handmaiden

Crime2016146 minsDirector: Park Chan-wook

Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Stoker) channels Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, to create a sumptuous twisty psychological thriller full of erotic intrigue.

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Nymphomaniac Vol. INymphomaniac Vol. I

Drama2013118 minsDirector: Lars von Trier

Volume 1 of Lars von Trier’s explicit, controversial film about a woman recounting the history of her sexuality in episodic style.

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Nymphomaniac Vol. IINymphomaniac Vol. II

Drama2013124 minsDirector: Lars von Trier

Volume 2 of Lars von Trier’s explicit, controversial film about a woman recounting the history of her sexuality in episodic style.

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RomanceRomance

Drama199998 minsDirector: Catherine Breillat

Shockingly explicit, Catherine Breillat’s critically acclaimed Romance is one of the most controversial films of modern cinema.

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Anatomy of HellAnatomy of Hell

Drama200377 minsDirector: Catherine Breillat

Catherine Breillat's rigorously intellectual exploration of sexuality, about a woman who employs a gay man to spend days watching her naked.

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Sex Is ComedySex Is Comedy

Comedy200295 minsDirector: Catherine Breillat

A director struggles to film a difficult sex scene between two actors who happen to hate each other, in Catherine Breillat's witty exploration of intimacy coordination.

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CrashCrash

Drama1996100 minsDirector: David Cronenberg

Technology and sexuality meet in head-on collision in David Cronenberg’s controversial adaptation of writer J.G. Ballard’s hugely transgressive 1973 novel, starring James Spader and Holly Hunter.

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Beach RatsBeach Rats

Drama201798 minsDirector: Eliza Hittman

Gripping account of repressed sexual desire in a hyper-masculine environment, with British newcomer Harris Dickinson as a virulently macho Brooklyn teen.

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Betty BlueBetty Blue

Drama1986185 minsDirector: Jean-Jacques Beineix

Jean-Jacques Beineix’s story of a volatile, highly sexual relationship was one of the most successful French films of the 1980s.

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The Kreutzer SonataThe Kreutzer Sonata

Drama201096 minsDirector: Bernard Rose

Bernard Rose updates Tolstoy's tale about the corrupting power of sex and jealousy, with Danny Huston as the wealthy husband of a beautiful, famous pianist (Elisabeth Röhm).

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Théo and HugoThéo and Hugo

Romance201697 minsDirector: Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau

A brief encounter at a naked sex club in Paris seems to be going well for Theo and Hugo, but a sudden realisation changes everything.

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Tom of FinlandTom of Finland

Biopic2017116 minsDirector: Dome Karukoski

The story of a gay icon is brought to life in Dome Karukoski’s handsome biopic of Touko Laaksonen, the artist whose homoerotic drawings gave visual expression to a growing gay culture.

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Stranger by the LakeStranger by the Lake

Drama2013100 minsDirector: Alain Guiraudie

A young man witnesses a violent crime at a gay cruising ground and becomes obsessed with the killer in Alain Guiraudie’s acclaimed mystery-thriller.

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MaitresseMaitresse

Drama1976113 minsDirector: Barbet Schroeder

Gerard Depardieu plays the young innocent who falls for the mysterious maitresse Ariane (Bulle Ogier), a leather clad dominatrix, in Barbet Schroeder’s controversial film.

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The UntamedThe Untamed

Fantasy201698 minsDirector: Amat Escalante

Amat Escalante follows Heli with a boundary-pushing, mind-blowing mix of sex, sci-fi and social drama.

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The BeastThe Beast

Comedy197598 minsDirector: Walerian Borowczyk

An outrageous classic of erotic cinema, Walerian Borowczyk’s playful and subversive fantasy finds a horny heiress courting the ravenous desires of a wild beast.

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You and the NightYou and the Night

Drama201389 minsDirector: Yann Gonzalez

Eric Cantona and Beatrice Dalle star in an outrageous erotic fever dream about a couple who invite four diverse guests to their midnight orgy.

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Interior. Leather Bar.Interior. Leather Bar.

201360 minsDirector: James Franco and Travis Mathews

James Franco and Travis Mathews recreate explicit footage cut, rumoured to be lost, from one of the most notorious gay features ever made.

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What Can I Do with a Male Nude?What Can I Do with a Male Nude?

Comedy198524 minsDirector: Ron Peck

Ron Peck tests the thin line between pornography and art with his amusing rumination on the difficulties of showing the naked male form.

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Trans-Europ-ExpressTrans-Europ-Express

Thriller196695 minsDirector: Alain Robbe-Grillet

This stylish, cult 1966 erotic thriller stars French New Wave icons Jean-Louis Trintigant and Marie-France Pisier.

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A Call GirlA Call Girl

Thriller200988 minsDirector: Damjan Kozole

After starting work as a call girl, young English student Alexandra finds herself caught up in political intrigue when her politician client dies of a heart attack.

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Kelly + VictorKelly + Victor

Drama201390 minsDirector: Kieran Evans

In modern Liverpool, a couple meet and begin a transgressive, sexually charged affair set against a background of crime and encroaching danger.

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The Nude VampireThe Nude Vampire

Horror196985 minsDirector: Jean Rollin

Jean Rollin’s second vampire film is a mesmerisingly surreal art-horror, short on logic but steeped in gorgeously sensual imagery.

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Red RoadRed Road

Thriller2006110 minsDirector: Andrea Arnold

Andrea Arnold’s highly acclaimed film, winner of top prizes at Cannes and the BFI London Film Festival, is a haunting drama about a woman confronting past demons.

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WeekendWeekend

Drama201197 minsDirector: Andrew Haigh

Andrew Haigh's internationally acclaimed tale of a brief encounter between two gay men.

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NighthawksNighthawks

Drama1978113 minsDirector: Ron Peck

A schoolteacher juggles everyday life with nights spent cruising for Mr Right in this fascinating landmark in British gay cinema

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Nighthawks 2: Strip Jack NakedNighthawks 2: Strip Jack Naked

Documentary199191 minsDirector: Ron Peck

Ron Peck’s experimental follow up to the groundbreaking Nighthawks is both a making-of documentary and a deeply personal film memoir.

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Salon KittySalon Kitty

Drama1976133 minsDirector: Tinto Brass

Before Caligula, Italian provocateur Tinto Brass directed this controversial and transgressive drama, inspired by the true story of a Nazi-run brothel in 30s Berlin.

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FascinationFascination

Horror197982 minsDirector: Jean Rollin

Jean Rollin’s best-known film is the most full-blooded of his vampire tales, teeming with sex and lavishly filmed gore scenes

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Crimes of PassionCrimes of Passion

Thriller1984107 minsDirector: Ken Russell

Ken Russell's second Hollywood film is a deliriously excessive erotic thriller with Kathleen Turner as an imperilled prostitute.

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ChemsexChemsex

Documentary201580 minsDirector: William Fairman and Max Gogarty

A hard-hitting and often graphic documentary about the 'chemsex' sub-scene in London’s gay community.

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Eden and AfterEden and After

Animation & Artists Moving Image196998 minsDirector: Alain Robbe-Grillet

Alain Robbe-Grillet’s sensual fantasy follows a group of students who enter a bizarre sado-masochistic realm after taking a mysterious drug.

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Successive Slidings of PleasureSuccessive Slidings of Pleasure

Drama1974106 minsDirector: Alain Robbe-Grillet

Alain Robbe-Grillet’s serpentine erotic mystery presented as a surreal investigation into a woman with feared sexual powers.

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Goltzius and the Pelican CompanyGoltzius and the Pelican Company

Biopic2012117 minsDirector: Peter Greenaway

An artist stages a series of erotic dramatisations illustrating sexual taboos from the Old Testament, in this startling and shocking return from director Peter Greenaway.

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Pink NarcissusPink Narcissus

Fantasy197165 minsDirector: James Bidgood

With its highly charged hallucinogenic quality, its atmosphere of lush decadence, and its explicit erotic power, Pink Narcissus is a landmark of gay cinema.

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Visions of EcstasyVisions of Ecstasy

Drama198920 minsDirector: Nigel Wingrove

Nigel Wingrove's experimental depiction of the erotic imaginings of the 16th Century Carmelite nun remains the only film ever to banned under Britain's blasphemy laws.

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MoreMore

Drama1969116 minsDirector: Barbet Schroeder

The first feature by Barbet Schroeder (Maîtresse, The Valley), More created a sensation when it was released in 1969, quickly becoming a cult classic and famed for its Pink Floyd soundtrack.

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