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Thursday, 15 February, 2001, 12:06 GMT
Director defends Intimacy
Mark Rylance and Kerry Fox in Intimacy
The French director of an adaptation of the Hanif Kureishi book Intimacy has defended the 35 minutes of explicit sex scenes in the film.

Patrice Chereau, who directed La Reine Margot and Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train, said Intimacy is a film more about emotion than sex.

Hanif Kureishi
Hanif Kureishi is an accomplished screenwriter and novelist
In the film, the Globe theatre's artistic director and acclaimed actor Mark Rylance plays a man having an adulterous affair with a woman played by Shallow Grave star Kerry Fox.

"Just because 35 minutes of this film is about intimacy it should not be reduced to a film about sex," Chereau said after a screening at the Berlin Film Festival.

"Sex is the way to communicate at the beginning.

"I just wanted to show how beautiful it could be."

Kureishi, who also wrote The Buddha of Suburbia and the screenplays for Sammy and Rosie Get Laid and My Beautiful Laundrette, has been criticised for the reportedly autobiographical content of his book.

It is not a porno film, it is not an erotic film

Patrice Chereau

Intimacy tells the story of a writer, Jay, who is preparing to leave the mother of his two children and their seemingly happy domestic life.

Jay moves in with his divorced friend Victor, and becomes embroiled in an affair.

Chereau is anxious that audiences look beyond the sexual content of the film and see it as an examination of human nature.

He said it was a cliché to suggest that French filmmakers are obsessed with sex and naked bodies.

But he added that directing is like love-making.


"I don't think that love-making is a French speciality," he said.

"It is a cliché. But to direct actors is like love and seduction.

"You have to love them, guide them."

Watching these people doesn't arouse me

Patrice Chereau

Chereau's 1994 film La Reine Margot, a bloody period drama with Isabelle Adjani and Daniel Auteil, did feature a high naked body count, though many of them were dead.

In Intimacy too, according to Chereau, the naked bodies are deliberately unglamorous.

"You could have done a film with Claudia Schiffer but that would have been a different film.

"This is not about sex. Watching these people doesn't arouse me. They are completely ordinary.

"It is not a porno film, it is not an erotic film.

"Their bodies are not perfect, but that is life."

See also:

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