Films have not been afraid to stray away from controversial topics such as religion, satire, or extreme violence. In early cinema, the government and the church did not hesitate when it came to banning these types of topics. This resulted in a ton of protests on the rights to express opinions through art.
But nowadays with both social media and technology prevalent, controversial films have garnered more and more audiences. Most of its themes have challenged the comfort zones of its viewers, making it an unpleasant experience to watch. But in a rather ironic twist, these movies have garnered critical acclaim in the process.
All of this just begs the question, have filmmakers pushed the envelope too far?
ExploreTalent brings you a list of controversial movies that have challenged the norms of modern cinema. Check them out.
1. Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)
Filled with heartbreak, first loves, and the reality of life itself, Blue Is the Warmest Color (French: La Vie d’Adèle) tells the story of Adele, a young French woman who starts a passionate relationship with an older student named Emma. Emma helps Adele discover her sexuality and helps her grow into the real world as well. Emma is eventually caught up in the stereotypical “female” role in a relationship and loses herself along the way.
The movie may have been a critical hit, but the love scenes were almost to explicit to show to audiences. One love scene in particular ran for almost seven minutes in total, and it was graphic as it was intimate. Nonetheless, Blue Is the Warmest Color deserves its critical acclaim, as the film speaks to the heart more than the body.
2. A Serbian Film (2010)
The horror thriller movie A Serbian Film has been banned in over nine countries including Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and France. It deals with highly sensitive topics such as child rape, explicit pornography, and necrophilia. It was also taken out of Netflix without any explanation.
The movie is definitely uncomfortable to watch, director Srdjan Spasojević has gone to his defense by saying, “This is a diary of our own molestation by the Serbian government…the monolithic power of leaders who hypnotize you to do things you don’t want to do”. It’s plot centers around a financially struggling adult film star who participates in a snuff film without his knowledge. The alleged film gets more and more disturbing as the movie progresses, thus garnering itself as one of the most controversial films to date.
3. The Interview (2014)
When you deal with North Korea, you are bound to get a ton of controversy. The James Franco and Seth Rogen political comedy was a subject of threats during the Sony Entertainment hack in 2014. The hackers were threatening on an attack if the film company did not pull the plug on its release. Nonetheless, they still went on with it and the gamble proved to be a good thing for Sony as The Interview turned out to be one of the biggest openings to date.
The story is about two journalists who are looking into assassinating the leader of North Korea. The script was originally written about Kim Jong-il, but upon his death, scriptwriters Rogen and Evan Goldberg changed it to his successor Kim Jong-un. North Korea denies any involvement with the threats or the hacking, but needless to say, officials in the country have been less than thrilled about its release.
4. Nymphomaniac (2014)
That title alone is enough to gain controversy. The movie has audiences divided between its artistry exploitation of female sexuality. It talks about a woman who is struggling with her self diagnosed hypersexuality disorder. She confides to a middle-aged bachelor who rescues her from a dark alley and in turn is narrating her life to the audience. The production was said to have hired real-life porn stars to simulate the love scenes. These body doubles were then digitally altered with the main actors to appear like they were really having sex.
Nymphomaniac was released in two version: one that happens to last in four hours and the other one extended to another hour and a half. According to reports, the latter was a more explicit version than the shorter cut. The movie received high ratings despite its limited release.