Screening Sex: Lewd Looks

By Darshana Mini
Screening Sex

Gorfinkel_Lewd coverElena Gorfinkel’s Lewd Looks: American Sexploitation Cinema in the 1960s maps the visual and industrial cultures of 1960s and 1970s American sexploitation cinema. Gorfinkel’s intervention follows the historical trajectory of exploitation films laid out by scholars such as Eric Schaefer in Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!: A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959. To create this historical palimpsest, Gorfinkel investigates the structural and cultural factors that allowed for the exchange of motifs, tropes and production strategies in sexploitation film culture. She focus on the time period of 1959-1972 to argue how sexploitation filmmakers self-reflexively made use of the ‘conditions of looking at erotic spectacle’ to promote these films at a time when American film culture was transitioning from ‘restriction to license’ (11). The boom in sexploitation film culture emerged at the interstices of changing definitions of obscenity, the import of art films from Europe that dealt explicitly with sexuality and shortage of fare produced from the mainstream studios (11).


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