ZODIAC FILM CLUB: The Zodiac Guide to Cinematic Sex Education

We like our on-screen sex beautifully shot, well dressed and with a bizarre back story. Here’s our guide to getting good sex education at the movies.

Sarah Kathryn Cleaver & Jordan Storm Louise

Facebook @ZodiacFilmClub | Instagram @zodiacfilmclub

We started Zodiac for many reasons. We wanted our friends to see the films we loved. We wanted to see films in a room with other people instead of lonely on Netflix, half watching half scrolling. We wanted to let people know they were allowed to call themselves cinephiles even if they’d never seen a Bergman film and thought Antonioni was kinda boring. And of course we did it partly to get laid, because who really does anything for any other reason? Jordan got a girlfriend within a couple of months, and Sarah has become adept at using the instagram to covertly thirst trap – so we’d say we’ve been fairly successful in our aims.

When we first started swapping film recommendations, a lot of what we loved was on the sexy side. When we were teenagers, the internet was dial up or on a shared family computer, not unlimited and in everyone’s pocket. Subsequently a lot of our sexual references came from late night Film 4 and things we found in the art house section of Blockbuster.

The Zodiac Film Club Guide to Cinematic Sex Education: THE STUD (1978).

Sarah first encountered our upcoming screenings THE STUD (1978) and THE BITCH (1979) on the Channel 4 countdown of 100 Greatest Sexy Moments, and she’s never forgotten ‘the swing’, even though she wasn’t sure how it all worked at the time (and is still a little doubtful about the amount of effort involved).

SECRETARY (2002)

The Zodiac Guide to Cinematic Sex Education: SECRETARY (2002).

Maggie Gyllanhaal stars as a shy young woman who replaces her dependence on self harm with an obsession for her strange boss. Some stuff with red pens, a saddle and some peas ensues and in the end she proves that she’s the strong one in their relationship. This one had a big impact on both of us, and despite the complete lack of research we’ve done on the subject, we credit it with making spanking cool again by taking it away from the world of weird public school boys and into the everyday fantasies of spooky girls everywhere.

IMMORAL TALES (1973)

The Zodiac Film Club Guide to Cinematic Sex Education: IMMORAL TALES (1973).

Four sexy shorts by the king of beautiful soft-core Walerian Borowczyk, we love the Elizabeth Báthory orgy and the one about the Borgias. If you hate porn you’ll love this or your money back (disclaimer: you will not get your money back).

IN THE CUT (2003)

The Zodiac Film Club Guide to Cinematic Sex Education: IN THE CUT (2003).

Mark Ruffalo goes down on Meg Ryan while she wonders idly if he might be a serial killer. I mean…

THE DREAMERS (2003)

The Zodiac Film Club Guide to Cinematic Sex Education: THE DREAMERS (2003).

One of our previous screenings, THE DREAMERS taught us that sex is all about trust, but no trust is absolute, two of sex’s most important lessons. Ask yourself, when was the last time my lover(s) and I all holed up in a French apartment and tested each other with sexual truth or dare games until an actual revolution started happening outside? Then book a Eurostar.

TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! (1989)

The Zodiac Film Club Guide to Cinematic Sex Education: TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! (1989).

An escaped mental patient kidnaps a pornstar turned ‘serious actress’ and ties her to a bed for days until she falls in love with him. Deeply un-PC, deeply problematic, but then… so is sex.

HEAVENLY CREATURES (1994)

The Zodiac Film Club Guide to Cinematic Sex Education: HEAVENLY CREATURES (1994).

Slavoj Zizek said ‘We are never alone, my partner and I, there has to be a third element, a fantasy scene, an intruder.’ The best representation of this psychoanalytic reality is the moment in HEAVENLY CREATURES where Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey make love enabled by their imaginary games.

LOVE (2015)

The Zodiac Film Club Guide to Cinematic Sex Education: LOVE (2015).

The poetically choreographed threesome of Gasper Noé’s (another problematic fav of ours) is enough to make the most monogamous of couples curious. Not to mention the opening credits and just about every other second of this lustful portrait of desire.


ZODIAC FILM CLUBBeginning with a shared love of horror, pulp, thrills and mystery, Sarah Kathryn Cleaver and Jordan Storm Louise set up Zodiac Film Club. You can expect carefully chosen screenings every month, a film for each sign. We select good looking films, complex female characters and our favourites in rarely screened classics, cult and contemporary cinema to share with you, and invite you to talk about it with us afterwards.

Facebook @ZodiacFilmClub | Instagram @zodiacfilmclub

MIDNIGHT EXCESS: THE STUD/ THE BITCH (16 FEB)

Valentine's Day 2019: THE BITCH at Rio Cinema (16 FEB).
MIDNIGHT EXCESS: THE STUD/THE BITCH at Rio Cinema (16 FEB).

Shot on a tiny budget in three weeks and rejected by most major studios, THE STUD ended up being the most successful film of 1978. Based on the steamy novel by Jackie Collins, the film revived her sister Joan’s career and went on to spawn an equally excessive sequel just a year later. Set in London’s disco scene, THE STUD and THE BITCH follow the hedonistic, erotic exploits of Fontaine Khaled, a woman of expensive taste and unbridled libido. With their hazy aesthetic, lavish set design and disco soundtrack, the sleek and sleazy classics are the perfect 70s treat.

MIDNIGHT EXCESS: THE STUD/THE BITCH screens at Rio Cinema on 16 FEB 2019, from 23:00 until late. Book here: riocinema.org.uk


MIDNIGHT EXCESS

Launched by SUPAKINO in 2019, MIDNIGHT EXCESS aims to bring back the thrill of late night movies and subversive double features. Expect a programme of gloriously over-the-top movies, from eye-popping exuberance to the utterly outrageous, and from the downright strange to the outright sexy. MIDNIGHT EXCESS also aims to give a space for indie film clubs and programmers to collaborate and show the type of repertory cinema that wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to be seen again on the big screen.

MIDNIGHT EXCESS: THE STUD/THE BITCH screens at Rio Cinema on 16 FEB 2019, from 23:00 until late. Book here: riocinema.org.uk

MIDNIGHT EXCESS: THE STUD/THE BITCH by Aleksander Walijewski. All rights retained by Ranjit S. Ruprai.


Join the hunt for adventurous moving pictures.

SIGN UP to our free eNEWS for regular updates.

SUPPORT our work at RADIANT CIRCUS and help promote indie cinema in London. As a Patron, you will get our unique SCREEN GUIDES delivered directly to your inbox, exclusive discounts for screen events and much more!

FOLLOW US on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for daily updates.

#shelterfromthestorm


*THE SMALL PRINT: These words are not our own… All words and opinions credited to the original authors and their collaborators. We try to get the details right: let us know if any links, dates, venues etc. are broken or just plain wrong. Updates will be made to the online edition only.

Zodiac Film Club