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Deep End (1970)- Jerzy Skolimowski (English/German New Wave) Western Europe


The 1970s was a generation where filmmakers used extreme content such as sex and nudity. In this instance, Jerzy Skolimowski wrote a simple love story and made it more complicated, where viewers have no clue how these films progress from beginning to end. As a result, “Deep End” was placed on the back burner for modern-day viewers due to extreme sexual and relationship violence.


The main character, Mike, a bathhouse attendant, falls in love with his coworker, Susan, creating massive tension between them due to conflicts of interest between them working in the same place. Several scenes within the bathhouse involved nudity and sexual violence until this story eerily ended with both killing each other.


On the other hand, Skolimowski, a former Polish filmmaker, steered away from filmmakers like Polanski and Wajda, who mainly created war and propaganda-based films in communist Europe. In this instance, there were some clues of communism within this film because, during the sex scenes, the characters felt apprehensive about participating in the activity. What makes this film so eerie is that the sex and nude scenes all take place in the bathhouse. The design of those scenes created the overall darkness of how sex upon meeting can be extremely dangerous since everyone is different in how long it takes for them to become thoroughly intimate in sexual intimacy. A drawback of this film was that the person’s beliefs were not shared regarding their age or identity and their comfort level over sexual activities in the bathhouse.


As a result of all this extreme content, viewers can become sexually confused, and the audience is meant to sit quietly and uncomfortably to watch all this sexual abuse. The name “Deep End” may not be appealing for viewers to watch this film because the exact central location is in a public place instead of somebody’s house in traditional movies. Another drawback of the sexual conflict was that the age difference between the actors had a substantial gap, 15 and 23. It can be disturbing today around the world because the norm is that lovers are around the same age or at least no more than five years apart, but for a minor, falling in love with an adult is entirely deviant behavior.


Critics also see this film as hurtful to individuals in society because these actors are teaching sexual education in the wrong way, and this film has no character development, relationship growth, or any positive outcomes. The main goal was for those two characters to have sex. There were no signs of love or physical affection, which are usually good in a relationship. Another unusual aspect is that the woman initiated the sexual activities, whereas the men were so apprehensive, nervous, and resisting having sex. Usually, men are the leading causes of sexual assault, and this film has changed many viewers on how sexual assault can be the same either way: a man or a woman.


As time progressed throughout the world, more and more sex films were on the horizon, and several of them were cinema verité style, whereas others were fantasies like “Deep End.” Some filmmakers also have evolved to make shorter subjects based on specific sexual activities, and eventually, once the internet existed, of course, pornography websites where anybody can record themselves doing sexual or nude-based activities on camera. In the past, Skolimowski has made other drama films, but never psychological or sex-based, and as a result, more and more intense sex movies have been released over time.

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