The Motion Picture Production Code was a sort of guideline filmmakers and producers had to follow in the United States in early 30s when making a film. The laws were strictly implemented in 1934, and from then onwards films were given codes of conduct to be followed to ensure that anything and everything is not produced in the name of art. This law allowed the authorities to censor or restrict from exhibition, any film they deemed unworthy of the general public. However, later this law was replaced with the Motion Picture Association of America, which then decided to bring in the rating system by which viewers were given restrictive viewing permits for films according to their age.
During this time, the MPAA planned to use the X rating for films having adult content and thus deemed unsuitable for children. This X rating was specifically given to non-pornographic films with adult content. But the problem arose when the X rating began being used by porn movies to garner more attention to them. This made the MPAA decide that the X rating had to be replaced. It was then that the NC-17 rating was introduced. Anyone below the age of 17 is not allowed to watch a film with an NC-17 rating.
However, some of the most iconic films in cinema history have been given the NC-17 rating. Many filmmakers, using adult content, have tried to push the boundaries of the medium and further the language of the art form called cinema. Keeping this in mind, we have presumed that you might want to check out some of these bold movies that challenge the viewers on so many levels. Here’s the list of really good NC-17 movies on Netflix that are available to stream right now:
6. Point Blank (2019)
Frank Grillo and Anthony Mackie star in this buddy action film as a hardened criminal and an ER nurse respectively who have to battle against some deadly forces in order to protect both their families from being killed. Abe (Grillo), takes along the calm and composed Paul (Mackie) on a ride of a lifetime with danger lurking at every corner along the way. The film clocks in at a modest 86 minutes, but despite the short running time, it at times feels unnecessarily dragging. The story does begin with a lot of promise, but it somehow loses its grip on the audience along the way. The main issue with ‘Point Blank’ is its pretty run-of-the-mill storyline which really has nothing new or exciting on offer. The characters also could have been more well-developed than what screenwriter Adam G. Simon manages to pull off.
5. Immoral Tales (1973)
Anthology films are quite difficult to pull off because even if one story does not have the desired impact upon the audience, they might come out of the theatre feeling disenchanted with the whole movie. Having said that, we must also admit that there have been quite a few anthology films made in cinema’s long history which have found the desired love from the audience. One such film is the 1973 French film ‘Immoral Tales’ directed by Walerian Borowczyk. There are a total of four shorts in the movie, each of them dealing with sexual desires and fantasies in some way or the other.
The first story centers around a boy and his 16-year-old cousin who is taken by the former to the beach to perform rhythmic fellatio on him. The subject of the second story is a teenage girl whose sexual fantasies and devotion to Christ intermingle. The third short takes a rather sinister and murderous turn, depicting the story of a countess who believes that murdering teenage girls and bathing in their blood will grant her eternal youth. The final story centers around Pope Alexander VI’s daughter Lucrezia Borgia and her secret sexual affairs with her relatives. The way this film is shot does not make it look like much of a pornographic film, but more of a surrealist exercise in making a porn film. Though it does not rate that high cinematically, watch it for the experience itself.
4. Love (2015)
One of the most affecting movies of this decade, Gaspar Noe’s ‘Love’ pushes the limits of what can be possible in cinema. This movie has some of the most graphic sexual scenes you will ever see on film, but it never feels that the sex scenes have been added just to attract audience. The scenes are so aesthetically shot and look so organic that they reach a level of artistic expression which can never be possible in a full-blown pornographic movie. ‘Love’ is the story of Murphy. He is an American film student In Paris with great aspirations of making a path-breaking film. It becomes clear that Noe sees Murphy as a projection of himself, because like Noe’s attempt with ‘Love’, Murphy also says that he wants to make a movie where he will shoot some of the most aesthetically presented lovemaking scenes in the history of cinema.
Murphy has a French girlfriend called Electra and they seem to be a happy couple who enjoy each other’s company and physical intimacy. The two of them are projected as very liberal, artsy individuals who do not hesitate from experimenting with their sex lives. Sometimes, they join an orgy, while they also like to engage in threesomes. In one such threesome encounter, the couple sleeps with a 16-year-old girl called Omi. The next day after they have sex, Electra is not at home when Omi and Murphy decide to turn up the heat. They have sex, and accidentally Omi gets pregnant. Devastated, Electra ends her relationship with Murphy and Murphy now marries Omi. We later see Murphy thinking about all the happy times he had spent with Electra during their blissfully romantic days.
What the film tries to do is explore sex from an artistic point of view. Interestingly, all of the sex scenes in the movie are unsimulated. Meaning, the actors actually engaged in sex for the scenes. The use of 3D also adds another dimension to the lovemaking scenes. The film premiered at Cannes Film Festival to a standing ovation by the audience, but critics have always remained skeptical about the project. Some say that Noe was so busy making the sex scenes look aesthetic, and that the writing and characters in the film have turned out to be half-baked.
3. Concussion (2013)
Directed by Stacie Passon, this 2013 drama stars Robin Weigert in the lead role. Weigart’s character is called Abby. She lives a normal domestic life with her son, but things suddenly take a wild turn when her son accidentally strikes her on the head with a baseball. Abby suffers a mild concussion because of the incident and does not worry about it much. However, this concussion has a weird effect on her psychology. Abby is a lesbian, and now she suddenly starts working as an escort for women desiring lesbian sex. What actually happens to Abby after the baseball hit her can be called an outpouring of repressed desires. Her quiet domestic life naturally does not feel adequate to her anymore. The film was appreciated by critics for its content and psychological approach. Weigert also received praise for her phenomenal performance in the role of Abby.
2. Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 and 2 (2013)
Lars von Trier is known for pushing the boundaries of cinema with his films, and with ‘Nymphomaniac’, the Danish auteur managed to outdo himself. The film is the story of a woman called Joe and her numerous sexual adventures. Joe is one day found in a terrible condition on the road by a middle-aged man called Seligman who brings her home and looks after her. Soon after, Joe starts discussing her life story with him. Seligman finds out that Joe is a complete sex addict. She has had numerous sexual encounters since a very early age, and it is an extremely unhealthy addiction that has resulted in her being in the beaten and battered condition in which Seligman found her. The movie then takes on the first person perspective of Joe as we witness her numerous sexual encounters with random people, and we see her engaging in sexual acts anywhere and everywhere. She even performs fellatio on a random stranger she meets on a train.
In between the stories, the two characters engage in discussions of art. This is a hallmark of von Trier. His films always have very direct references to famous works of art and philosophy, and thus sometimes seem quite esoteric for the general audience. The movie is divided into two parts just like Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill’ because the final cut was too long to be released as one picture. Some regard the film as the magnum opus of von Trier’s career. It received mostly positive reviews. If you’re genuinely into films that are disturbing, violent and gory, then you might want to start worshipping this man from today!
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1. Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
Never before in the history of cinema have lesbian relationships been portrayed so vividly as in this unforgettable romantic classic. ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ is a story of two women, Emma and Adele. While Emma is a graduating student, Adele is still in school. When these two meet, we see that Adele is already in a relationship with a man, but she always remains unsatisfied with the emotional intimacy and even the sex. It is only when she meets Emma and the two of them start a relationship that Adele feels herself and is able to express her feelings of love in its totality. The movie contains many graphic sex scenes involving the two leading ladies. However, though their relationship goes on smoothly, one day Emma discovers that Adele has cheated on her and this breaks her heart completely. Emma ends the relationship and moves on. Adele now realizes how much Emma meant to her and she suffers terribly because of her mistake.
The film was very successful at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and ended up winning the Palme d’Or along with the FIPRESCI Prize. The Cannes jury, in a historical move, not only awarded the director Abdellatif Kechiche with the Palme d’Or, but the award also went to the two leading ladies. This made them the first ever women to receive the prestigious award. Though a critical success at Cannes, the film was not positively received throughout the world. Some have called the class consciousness of the film into question, where Adele’s working-class family have been projected to be homophobic and Emma’s middle-class family are shown as being rather open-minded. Many have also complained that the film was clearly shot from a male gaze, and thus, a female perspective of the story was entirely missing.