In this wholly original work of film criticism, David Thomson, celebrated author of The Biographical Dictionary of Film, probes the many ways in which sexuality has shaped the movies—and the ways in which the movies have shaped sexuality. Exploring the tangled notions of masculinity, femininity, beauty, and sex that characterize our cinematic imagination—and drawing on examples that range from advertising to pornography, Bonnie and Clyde to Call Me by Your Name—Thomson illuminates how film as art, entertainment, and business has historically been a polite cover for a kind of erotic séance. In so doing, he casts the art and the artists we love in a new light, and reveals how film can both expose the fault lines in conventional masculinity and point the way past it, toward a more nuanced understanding of what it means to be a person with desires.
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