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.

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Peeping TomPeeping Tom

Drama1960101 minsDirector: Michael Powell

Michael Powell’s dark, disturbing, once controversial tale of a shy camera technician who films women as he kills them is now rightly deemed a classic

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Drama199114 minsDirector: Cheryl Farthing

A lesbian couple arouse the interest of their new neighbour in this erotic tale of voyeurism, power dressing and fantasy.

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Drama198198 minsDirector: Tony Garnett

Explicit and controversial drama. An ambitious working girl moves to London hoping to securing wealthier patrons, while her social worker friend fights to change antiquated prostitution laws.

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Anatomy of a Pin-upAnatomy of a Pin-up

Documentary197130 minsDirector: David Cohen

This documentary explores attitudes to nude modelling in Britain - models, photographers and members of the public express their opinions.

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Documentary196526 minsDirector: John Irvin

A controversial, well-made documentary that follows the lives of three young striptease artistes working in Soho.

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Documentary196626 minsDirector: Don Defina

Documentary about the lives of the women who work at a striptease club called The Phoenix on Old Compton Street, in the heart of Soho in the swinging sixties.

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Central BazaarCentral Bazaar

Drama1975142 minsDirector: Stephen Dwoskin

Five strangers explore their fantasies over a period of five days in Stephen Dwoskin's remarkable experimental film.

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