Irrational Encounters With The Modern World

The Naked Truth

I just watched the film “Amelie” again. It seems to have acquired something of a cult status, one of those few foreign-language films that gained a massive following without succumbing to the often-inevitable and usually awful Hollywood remake. I saw it in the cinema when it was released – if memory serves, I actually saw one of the early previews as a friend’s friend had managed to get free tickets via the local newspaper. This is just an aside.

There are a couple of instances of brief nudity in the film, and it reminded me of something I’ve observed in the making of film and theatre. It has been discussed a few times through the years with various colleagues, who have also picked up on the anomaly, because people who bare themselves to the world – on film or on stage – are afforded the utmost privacy when doing so.

By this I mean, if an actor or actress is required to be naked on a set or in a rehearsal, very often the room will be closed off. Only essential cast and crew are permitted access, presumably (and understandably) so that the person in question feels as comfortable as possible. I would imagine it is difficult enough to remove all your clothes, possibly engage in simulated sex, or deliver scripted lines, while under intense scrutiny – without the further indignity of feeling that every passing Joe has stopped by to ogle you in the process.

Nevertheless, when you think about it, it is a wee bit absurd. To be that insistent on privacy so that virtually nobody sees you nude while you prepare to be and are filmed, yet when the movie is released or the play staged everybody can see you nude.



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