Things I’ve Learned: Brian De Palma’s Golden Rules of Shooting a Sex Scene

From the article :

“1. You have to have the actors and actresses beautifully photographed.

Eroticism is a bit of an illusion. You have to really capture the naked body, like beautiful paintings of nude women. I stress the fact that they must be exquisitely photographed. With the advent of the digital revolution, love scenes are not very well lit, and directors don’t seem to pay much attention to the way the actors look. Just the fact that you can see them seems to be enough. And to me, that isn’t the illusion I like to create on screen……..
3. You need some kind of conceptual idea.

Today, there’s such an incredible amount of lovemaking and nudity on cable television, and in pornography on the Internet. You see bodies photographed from every conceivable angle, doing every conceivable thing, so you really have to think hard to approach eroticism with a fresh idea. Just showing people kissing, people fucking—it’s of no interest to me……
7. Watch Ryan’s Daughter

There’s one great lovemaking scene in Ryan’s Daughter. She finally has a rendezvous with a military man. It’s exquisitely well done. You really feel the sense of nature surrounding the eroticism. Because

[director David] Lean had an idea! Take a girl in a field and make love to her. The feel and the sensuality of the nature around them as they’re getting into the lovemaking—it’s quite good.”
Read more:…

All the points Brian de Palma makes in this brief interview are valid, but what is most interesting and important is his reference to great directors of the past who have influenced him. The failure of modern filmmakers to tap into the rich tapestry of the history of cinema ( ie before Star Wars) is why there are so many lacklustre scenes in modern films.


Ryan’s Daughter – Directed by David Lean

Amanda x