Whether fictional or fact-based, all the films to date—with the possible exception of Peter Greenaway’s gastro-fable The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and her Lover—are set in recognisable environments, from Wish You Were Here’s post-war Britain, to 1960s Ireland in The Magdalene Sisters, to 1990s Nebraska in Boys Don’t Cry. As a consequence they all portray sexual covenants—with accompanying behaviour—that are generally familiar.
Because sex is the most emotionally contentious issue in human affairs, films that show radically different sexual mores are implicitly controversial and have often been banned
For more extreme sexual covenants it is necessary to venture into the realm of fantasy. Because sex is the most emotionally contentious issue in human affairs, films that show radically different sexual mores are implicitly controversial and have often been banned. Such bans are certain indicators that a film violates the prevailing sexual covenants. Some viewers found Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange so offensive that threats against Kubrick and his family resulted in the film being unavailable in Britain for 27 years. This Oscar-nominated masterpiece portrays the collision between uncontrolled male sexual expression that all-too-often features in today’s news stories and hard-line, highly conservative sexual covenants specifically designed to curb such excesses.