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Take the sex out of cinema's history and you'd lose a few stars, but little of real quality. Perhaps filmmakers should consider a vow of chastity

By Mark Cousins   October 2007

What with Ang Lee’s sexually explicit Lust, Caution winning this year’s top prize at the Venice film festival and the cautionary sexual tale Atonement doing rather well in the cinema, questions of eros are in the air. Lee’s previous film, Brokeback Mountain, was praised for its discretion with cowboy-on-cowboy action (though rumours persisted that a more explicit version of the sex scene in the tent was shot), yet here he is, one of cinema’s masters of the visual equivalent of the mot juste, deciding that uncoy sex scenes would not disrupt the aesthetic decorum of his period film. Meanwhile, Atonement’s…

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