Bijou Valentine's: Nude on the Moon
Sal Goedken (Programming Director) and Molly Bagnall (Executive Director) write about Bijou Valnetine's: NUDE ON THE MOON, February 14 at 10pm!
Our adult film screening each semester is one of my favorite events, but also the most difficult. We decided to start playing adult films for several reasons--firstly, we wanted to revive Bijou's long history of playing pornographic titles, as well as recreate the experience of showing such films in a theatrical setting. These events also provide Bijou with an opportunity to partner with local health centers, such as the Emma Goldman clinic, to provide resources and information about sexual health, as well as to create a dialogue about the history of the pornographic film industry and the harm it has brought to marginalized communities. The process of selecting a title is long and difficult. Adult, XXX, and sexploitation films are full of offensive and potentially harmful sexist, racist, homophobic, and transphobic content. While we believe in exhibiting difficult and controversial films as long as we provide context, content warnings, and resources as necessary, nearly all of the XXX and adult films I research and watch during the selection process are too offensive to show.
That being said, I chose NUDE ON THE MOON for this year's Valentine's Day adult film screening because it will be fun to watch with friends and strangers, and will create a lighthearted, humorous atmosphere. As a bonus, it is one of the rare adult films of that era to be directed by a woman--Doris Wishman--who was a powerhouse of adult films, especially about nudists. Our ultimate goal with these screenings is to provide the unique experience of watching an adult film in a theater while providing sexual health resources and creating a dialogue about the pornographic film industry, and NUDE ON THE MOON will do just that.
- Sal Goedken (Programming Director)
Today we usually think of pornography as something private, experienced in one’s own home, but during the ‘Golden Age of Porn’ (1969-1984), pornography was most often experienced as a collective, dozens of people would sit together in a movie theatre solely dedicated to the exhibition of XXX films. It’s a rare opportunity to see one on the big screen today, but this environment was central to the experience of XXX films when they were most popular. While the number of adult movie theatres has dropped from over 800 in 1979 to fewer than 35 today, Bijou presents an X-Rated feature every semester to remind us all that this era of film was and continues to be impactful to film culture. In showing these films, we also aim explore why they were so popular (we cannot discount the pleasure in viewing these films) and what it means for us to be entertained by them today. Though they are campy, fun, and sometimes seem to even encourage audience members to laugh, XXX films have a complicated history. Frequently actors were brutalized and exploited, and the films themselves are often tinged with racism, homophobia, misogyny, and transphobia. In presenting these films, Bijou hopes to not only provide a night to revel in the low-budget and campy, but also open a conversation around the films themselves and the social milieu they come from. When watching an XXX film, I urge audience members to have fun and laugh but also ponder: How is this film making me feel? How am I being positioned as a spectator? What’s the relationship between the actors and the camera? How are the actors relating to one another? How does this film reflect the year this was made? What has changed since then, what has stayed the same?
- Molly Bagnall (Executive Director)
Pick up a copy of the Bijou Calendar, including this piece, now in print! Available at both FilmScene locations (404 E College St + 118 E College St)!