Intelligent media for the diry-minded
June 21, 2009 12:30 PM   Subscribe

Erotic films and literature of the BDSM variety? Particular preferences inside.

I have read this question, but I'm looking for slightly different types of films. Also, literature.

I'm interested in dominance and submission, some sadism and masochism, bondage, and intense psychological relationships. Foreign language films are good (as long as there are subtitles), and I'm not interested in plain porn. I'd like to hear about artistic films with interesting camera angles, good acting and plotting, and yes, sex too. I'm particularly interested in sexual awakening films. One movie I recently watched and enjoyed was Secret Things. (Choses Secretes)

I'd like to read some books with the same stipulations: They must be well-written and full-bodied, exploring the topics listed above. I enjoyed The Story of O, but am not necessarily looking for books that reduce everything to a master/slave dynamic.

Bonus points for info on how to purchase/view your recommendations. (Available on Netflix, or Amazon, or to purchase from a particular website you like, etc. With reference to books, particular editions such as those published by Grove Press are also welcome.)
posted by anonymous to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

Bataille's Story of the Eye (Wikipedia link, but there's a link to a PDF of the full text at the bottom of the article) might be along the lines of what you want. Really bloody, really psychological, and still considered to have literary merit.
posted by oinopaponton at 12:35 PM on June 21, 2009

Venus in Furs is the ur-SM book (written by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch from whom we get the word 'masochism').

Secretary has most of what you're looking for. Also: Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader!
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:59 PM on June 21, 2009

Tokyo Decadence / Topâzu is a very intense, interesting film; and quite artsy at times, too.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 1:20 PM on June 21, 2009

If you're open to a gay-themed film and psychological dominance and submission (i.e. not physical), then try L'Imbalsamatore (The Embalmer), 2002.

Note: One of the main characters is an embalmer by trade, but the film is not about embalming or funeral service or anything of the like.

The review on Amazon says it well:

Garrone has entered complex, mature territory that pulls from classic film noir to create an underlying sense of dread in this beautifully shot, dramatically riveting character study. He started with a simple question: How does a man who isn't especially rich or good-looking seduce a young, handsome man, who doesn't happen to be homosexual? To answer this question Garrone created three compelling characters and a well-crafted screenplay that keeps the audience wondering why the tall and beautiful Valerio stays with the crafty, diminutive and possibly dangerous Peppino.

NetFlix has it on DVD and "Watch Instantly".
posted by foooooogasm at 1:32 PM on June 21, 2009

Have you read The Ages of Lulu? (Later made into at least one film, though it isn't that great.) It has most of what you are looking for, and is quite well written. Skirting more over towards porn (though still within the bounds of erotica, mostly) are the classics like Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller (both having also been made into quite terrible films, too) -- not as straight-on perverted as Story of O but pretty kinky in their own rights.

And there's Bentley's The Surrender, which is a recent "erotic memoir" about ass fucking which received a lot of critical attention when it came out. I don't think it's as good as O, but still not bad.

On the film front (and all available from Netflix), are a really long list, depending on what exactly your tastes are. Maybe start with Battle in Heaven, Scarlet Diva, Salon Kitty, Baise Moi, and Irreversible if you like your sexual portrayals out on the fucked-up spectrum, or with Shortbus, Betty Blue, or In the Cut (so-so movie, great book) if you like your portrayals a bit more mainstream but still a bit out there.

Don't forget classics like Caligula, too -- movies like that are fascinating blends of high- and low-brow portrayals of deviant sexuality. (As with all the others mentioned, Netflix and Amazon can hook you up.)
posted by Forktine at 1:32 PM on June 21, 2009

The Marketplace series by Laura Antoniou
posted by legotech at 1:53 PM on June 21, 2009

Sleeping Beauty 3 book series by Anne Rice under the pen name A.N. Roquelaure.
posted by Mrs_Eep at 1:57 PM on June 21, 2009

The Sign of the Cross (1932) Directed by Cecil B. Demille IMDB is a magnificent picture concerning Roman decadence, both societal and sexual, in the era of the birth of Christianity. Emperor Nero is played by the superb actor, Charles Laughton. Despite being originally filmed in 1932, the original version contains overt, but beautifully shot, scenes of sadism and masochism, and are considered too adventurous for some audiences of today.

The particular detail Demille puts into scenes of beautiful "damsels in distress" (the naked blonde woman tied to a pole to await her fate at the hands of an ape and the nude, chained and suspended woman), I feel, come from a place of genuine interest on the directors part.
It is available on DVD and Ive seen it on Turner classic movies.

On a personal note, and I know Im in the minority when it comes to the fetish community, but I don't recommend Secretary. Although I LOVE James Spader and this is well performed, the story itself is formulaic, and the ultimate reasoning behind why Maggie Gyllenhaal's character is the wrongly sterotypical "she's got mental problems, so she must be ok with fetish", that I think makes it harder for normal, but kinky people, just discovering their sexuality to feel comfortable with themselves.

Sounds like Im preaching, and I am ;-) but I have been in the professional erotica "biz" for a decade, and have given this kind of question quite a bit of thought. (Be warned, my profile contains a link that is NSFW)

Good luck in your search!
posted by sandra_s at 2:37 PM on June 21, 2009

There are a huge number of great recommendations in this thread, but i'd like to recommend Bound. While not strictly BDSM, it's a great film.

On the literature front, you might want to check out Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart series.
posted by arimathea at 2:56 PM on June 21, 2009

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