The Review/List/

Sex and Food on Film

When food is very NSFW

In the Realm of the Senses

by
Feb 21, 2016

Food on screen comes in so many different forms. It can signify tradition, like The Godfather’s sauce; escapism, like a bored office worker submerging herself in the world of Julia Child; and even social status (we’re still waiting on those reservations at Dorsia).

But it’s food’s powerful (and often uncomfortable) association with sensuality—the unavoidable focus on the lips and mouth, for example—that is portrayed exceptionally on screen. We opened up the pantry and served up 6 of the most carnal food moments on film. Go ahead—take a bite:


IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES | DIR. NAGISA OSHIMA

Nagisa Oshima’s 1936-set In The Realm of the Senses is still censored in its own country (Japan). Why, you ask? A quote from the film: “They say true love means eating food dipped in your lover's juices." If that’s not enough, as Film Comment rightly reminds us, at one point the lead character Sada performs a "geisha trick of “laying” an egg from her vagina.” Are you hungry yet?

9 1/​2 WEEKS | DIR. ADRIAN LYNE

That combo of food and sex isn’t always sensual or successful, but it can be unintentionally hilarious. In 9 1/​2 Weeks, Mickey Rourke teases a close-eyed Kim Basinger with all manner of foodstuffs. You’ll never look at a glass of milk the same way again.

Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/embed/7exc8b4nzOo

TAMPOPO | DIR. JUZO ITAMI

This 1985 Japanese tribute to ramen and the culture and eroticism of food is often billed as “the first ramen western!”, and follows the title character as she tries to save her struggling ramen shop. But it’s the subplot with a yakuza gangster and his female companion that has seared itself in our minds: an extended close-up of an unbroken egg yolk being passed back and forth between Yakusho and his lover’s mouths. It’s as disturbing as it is erotic.

Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/embed/NqA-mP0MhZg

BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR | DIR. ABDELLATIF KECHICHE

The nearly three-hour French lesbian love story won the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and made waves for its extended and explicit sex scenes between the female leads. But honestly, it was the extended and explicit spaghetti eating scenes that pushed the sensual boundaries for us. blueisthewarmestspagetti

Not to mention a few less than subtle experiences with oysters. blueisthewarmestoyster

I AM LOVE | DIR. LUCA GUADAGNINO

Tilda Swinton’s Emma, the wife of a rich Milanese industrialist, indulges in a plate of shrimp. And as the dining room fades, all the sounds around her dim to a murmur, and her senses take over... when the young handsome chef comes over to break her reprieve… You can guess where this is heading.

Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/embed/poe71BtB9Mk

LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE | DIR. LAURA ESQUIVEL

This chef has a superpower: whilst kept from her lover, Tita has the ability to imbue her food with very powerful emotions. Aside from making an entire wedding party weep over cake, she also serves a seriously sensual dinner.

Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/embed/O4aMxMg0Vn0

Want more food? Want more film? Get tickets to our Food on Film series. Now in its fifth season, Food on Film brings together chefs, food experts and film lovers to enjoy the best in culinary cinema and conversation.