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Underaged actors in nude scenes

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by chevalier, May 26, 2004.

  1. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder

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    This time, I'll be quite brief. I don't have any material to link to at hand, and searching google for given keywords isn't perhaps the best idea.

    So, in brief: in most films that are made now there are nude scenes. I can't think of many celebrated films that don't contain a nude scene, and I can't think of any that wouldn't at least hint in this direction.

    Some of the characters are underaged. It is debatable whether it's legal or not to have nude underaged characters in a film, but there's no such doubt when it comes to kid porn where the actors themselves are underaged, no matter the characters they play.

    However, films that aren't shot by porn business but by renowned producers, or ones that actually have a storyline, those seem to be exempt from kid porn bans. Parents are entitled to sign papers that entitle the producer to take nude shots of their underaged children.

    Next, some of those actors are above the legal age for sex (14 or 15 in most countries), but still not legally adult. From what I know, they need consent of their parents, so they don't decide on their own. It's still the parents who sign the papers.

    The problems I have with this are three:

    1. It is, after all, kid porn in disguise.

    2. Parents make money on selling their kids' dignity to some perverted producer, no matter how great a celebrity he is and how celebrated the film is.

    3. Parents can exert pressure on those kids and force them into disrobing for that film. In my view, this is sexual abuse, pimping and damaging the child's personality (imagine the trauma of a pretty little girl made pose to nude shots for a film that is recognisable by practically everyone by her greedy mother or father; imagine how she must feel later in her life - perhaps forever).

    Thoughts, please?
     
  2. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk

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    Can you name one move with any underage nudity? Boys and girls in swimming gear doesnt count. The only movie I can think of is "Leon" and there the nudity was edited out just about everywhere. I for one cannot recall any movie with any underage nudity. Not even "Lolita" which does pretty much everything except showing anything.
     
  3. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser ★ SPS Account Holder

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    There are 2 that I can think of that blatantly do this. "Kids," a documentary-esque look at the crazy lives of latch-key Brooklyn teens, and "Bully," essentially the same movie but set in Florida and with the story more focused around a few specific characters. Both pretty moving, and disturbing, films.

    I'm not sure how they get away with this stuff, either. These are actors who are clearly underaged. But both of these films were highly critically acclaimed, though neither were big national releases. This is something I've always wondered about, too. I'm all for "art" and "realism" in movies. Let's be honest - kids have sex. But I'm undecided as to how far a director should be allowed to go to portray it. Not sure.
     
  4. The Great Snook Gems: 30/31
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    I saw Bully and after a quick check at IMDB it appears to me that all of the actresses that did nude scenes were over 18 (and some over 21) when the movie was made.

    About the only actress that I can think of that was nude and underage was Brooke Shields when she did Pretty Baby (she was 13) and Blue Lagoon (she was 15). Those movies were made in 1978 and 1980.

    I can't think of any recent movie that had an underage actress exposing private parts. Now true there are plenty of actresses that look underage (and Bully is a classic example).
     
  5. Fabius Maximus Gems: 19/31
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    Thora Birch in American Beauty. At that time, she was 17 years old.


    1. Pornography is the visualization of sexual acts, real or fake. IMHO, Nudity doesn't count, even if the actor/actress is a minor.

    2. Possible, but depends on how old the minor is. Can he/she already make decisions of his/her own?
    Who made the decision?

    3. See 2.
     
  6. Llandon Gems: 13/31
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    There was a body double standing in for Brook during the nude scenes in "The Blue Lagoon". That was NOT her on film.
     
  7. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Pornography doesn't need any activity taking place, it's enough if the material is intended to arouse the audience. The purpose of nude scenes in movies in to make them sell better through playing on human sexuality, unlike nudity in art (where underaged nudity is still wrong in most cases, anyway, if it's not technically porn). Hardly is nudity in movies justified in any of nude moments, and those nude moments are typically inconsequential to storyline, anyway.

    Showing suggestive nude scenes and only hinting at the implicit act is IMHO still porn and just getting around the law.

    That's exactly the point. You never know who really made that decision and it's impossible to tell in most cases. One's sure: parents have means to block the kid from starring in nude scenes if it's only the kid that wants to disrobe and the parent's refuse to allow that.
     
  8. Abomination Gems: 26/31
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    I don't think number 3 is true. If the child doesn't want to get naked on camera the parents can't make them. Both parties have to agree (parents and child) otherwise it doesn't happen.

    Frankly if both parties are okay with it I see no harm. However I'm not too sure if there is an age restriction even with parental consent. Is it 16 and 17 require parental consent? Anything younger than 16 years old is not allowed even with parental consent?
     
  9. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Agreed, no one will force the kid right in the studio. What about home? There are other arguments than pure force. You know, strong suggestions and the like - and parental figures are quite convincing, especially for someone who isn't on his own yet.
     
  10. Fabius Maximus Gems: 19/31
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    I think it also matters how old the child/teen looks. Take 'American Beauty' as example. I don't think anyone thought about child porn when seeing Thora Birch naked. Mena Suvari looked definatly younger than her and it's possible that she fitted more into that pattern.
     
  11. Abomination Gems: 26/31
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    Well then it isn't exactly the studio's fault or the public's either. It's the parents and no matter what there are always going to be irresponsiable parents.

    It depends on where the line is drawn. Is it legal for someone under the age of 16 to be placed in this situation? If so then overly convincing parents are a problem. However, I'm certain anyone over the age of 16 is able to think for themselves and not be convinced against their will, especially by their parents. At this age isn't the norm for children to rebel against their parents' wishes?
     
  12. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder

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    If parents are both greedy and irresponsible at one time, they will influence the kid and convince him or her to disrobe in front of cameras and will get the cash. Moderately irresponsible and greedy parents will not try talking the kid out of posing nude.

    The studio isn't the actor per se in such cases, but it still creates the whole opportunity and actually the only possibility that there is to make cash that way in that moment.

    Well, but another important point has been raised: some of adult actors in nude scenes don't look adult at all. While they're barely adult, their photos look like something from the realm of child porn. As I said before, the purpose of nude scenes is to draw attention to the movie and get more cash from ticket and tape/DVD sales, so the art excuse doesn't apply.

    While I realise that hardcore paedophiles have other sources and won't really keep rewinding a movie for "moments", they always have to start from scratch at some point.
     
  13. Pac man Gems: 25/31
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    I think you have a very weird definition of porn. I don't know which movies you're refering to, since i don't remember seeing that much movies with naked people to begin with, but i don't understand the commotion. It's just a bit of flesh. Wheter the girl in question is 16, 36, or 86 for all i care, makes no difference to me, if nothing out of the order is happening.

    And excuse me, but a bit of fondling and caressing is definitely not porn. Perhaps it is in the eyes of Catholic priests and the Pope, but who takes them serious anyway ?

    I didn't know there was a legal age for having sex either. Does that mean that i've been a criminal for several years for making out with girlfriends in highschool ? :rolleyes:

    [ May 27, 2004, 15:26: Message edited by: Pac man ]
     
  14. Shazamdude Gems: 5/31
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    Chev, maybe you'd do a better job of proving your point if you could provide examples. Where are these naked minors? The only example I've seen posted is Thora Birch from American Beauty, and that was hardly exploitative.

    Maybe you aren't thinking hard enough. As I recall, the Lord of the Rings trilogy was celebrated some little bit, and I didn't detect any nudity there, unless you count all but naked Gollum. Mmm mmm, sexy beast! In fact, looking at the Oscar Best picture nominations past, Seabiscuit had no nudity that I recall, (I haven't seen Master and Commander, so I can't say), and Mystic River had a child rape portion, but it was hardly presented in such a way as to provide a "thrill" for the audience. I'm not sure if Lost in Translation had nudity (I think it did) but again, it was hardly sexual in nature. Maybe you're thinking of more independant films, such as those shown at Sundance and Cannes, and I can't speak for them, but studio produced prestiege films do not contain large amounts of nudity.

    This is a grossly incorrect generalization. In many cases, you are correct; many movies use cheap nudity as a drawing point to attract viewers; they're called "B" movies. Most studios are moving away from displaying nude scenes onscreen in their pictures because it's difficult to maintain a 14 rating with nude scenes, and a 17+ movie wont' make NEARLY as much money by alienating so much of the moviegoing audience. This is why you've been seeing the decline of cheap nudity and graphic violence in films, especially big budget blockbusters, over the last decade or so. Secondly, studios use actors, directors and special effects as draws nowadays, as evidenced by many of the higher grossing films in the last few years. A film like Spiderman is reliant on a brand name to sell films, while the Matrix relies on special effects. Studios use many draws to attact viewers, and nudity is a minor one. I'll give you sexual explicitness, and some of it depicts minors (high school horror films, etc.) but the actors in those films are rarely, if ever, minors themselves. I understand that these films may still promote underage sex, but you're not talking about sex in the movies: you're talking about underage nudity, of which I can't think of many (any) examples of.

    Lastly, your definition of pornography is a bit vague. Is all nudity pornography? Michelangelo's "David" should be given a loincloth so as not to offend viewers? Of course not. So having naked children is pornography? We should all lobby against diaper commercials, then; they have naked babies in them all the time. I mean, Jersey Girl had a naked baby in it... and it even showed the genitalia! Call concerned parent's groups, press those charges against Kevin Smith, and launch the lawsuits against the studios! That's underage nudity, but if that's what you call pornography, and if that's meant to elicit a "thrill" in the audience, then I guess I must be asexual or something, because it's not getting any rise out of me.
     
  15. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking

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    Actually, there was no nudity in Lost in Translation, but it was very sexual in nature. If you ever see the movie there is very much a level of sexual tension between the two main characters. Regardless though, you made your point. The most acclaimed movies this year did not include nudity.

    I agree that if Chev provided some examples here it would be more helpful, however, it could be that there is a failure to communicate because all of the movies that come out in the U.S. are not the exact same movies that come out in Europe.

    Sure, the block busters like LotR are released everywhere, and certainly films nominated for academy awards do as well, but I do not think there are many films made "on the other side of the pond" so to speak that make it to the U.S. Basically, I'm saying while the average European has access to a great many American movies, the flow seems to be unidirectional. Occassionally, a British comedy will show up in U.S. box offices (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Full Monty), but largely those in the U.S. do not have access to many European movies, unless you make a concerted effort to find them.

    For example, I have DirecTV. I can order a pay-per-view movie at just about any time, but all of my options are U.S. releases. I can go to BlockBuster and rent a movie, but the foreign films section is very limited, and certainly is not an accurate representation of the depth of European movies. So, to finally make my point, is there a possibility that sexuality and nudity in movies is more common in European theater than in U.S. theater? The next question then that would logically follow would be: If nudity is more common in European theater, then is child nudity also more common in European theater? In many ways, the U.S. is far more uptight and Puritanical than our European counterparts, so this isn't completely out of the question. (Violence of course is another story - it's perfectly OK to show blood, guts, and dismemberments, but an uncovered boob produces a media frenzy.)
     
  16. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Thank you for sharing gratuitous in-depth feedback on Catholic Church to which you probably don't belong. Not many people take their priests and the Pope seriously, just some billion Catholics in the world scale. Anything to say in topic?

    On an off-topic note, conservative protestant denominations are far stricter when it comes to nudity. In what other denomination do you see large wall paintings full of naked people? Vatican has quite a large collection of art, actually of world-wide renown (Vatican Museums) and I fail to recall seeing any loincloths or other censoring dating after renaissance there.

    The age of consent is common knowledge. Doesn't take a lawyer to realise it.

    That's what hints are for and implied endings. Agreed, those endings aren't real porn, but it's getting around the law, anyway.

    If I recall correctly, I specifically stressed the "intended to arouse the audience" part. Therefore, if you claim that some nudity doesn't belong in the porn category because it is not meant to arouse the audience, you are only agreeing with what I said before. Therefore, the rest of your exclamation-heavy rant nihil ad rem attinet.

    [ May 27, 2004, 20:57: Message edited by: chevalier ]
     
  17. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking

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    @ Chev

    So what is your take then on Lost in Translation? There is no actual nudity, but the sexual tension throughout the film is palpable. Is that also getting around the law? They don't actually ever get naked. In fact, they never do more than kiss. But the fact that you get the impression that they both WANT to - is that any better than inuendo and implied acts?

    NOTE: I'm not arguing any of the points you raise incidently, I'm just trying to see the full scope of your arguement. And do you notice an increased propensity towards nudity in European films?
     
  18. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder

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    The problem is mostly with European movies, granted. In Hollywood they depend too much on getting teen-friendly ratings. In almost all American movies you get some gratuitous copulation, but nothing all so really perverted. Yeah, it's mostly the problem of European movies.

    Visualising the tension without putting in a single nude scene is a truly artful work. I haven't seen the movie, though, so I can't really say much.

    In case someone (not anyone specific and surely not you, Aldeth) hasn't noticed yet, I'm talking about underaged actors and not gratuitous nudity in movies in general.
     
  19. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk

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    Well, seeing as the age of consent in most if not all European countries is 15/16 I dont think I have ever seen a nude scene with an actor under that age. I think I have once or twice seen nudity (ie a stray nipple or somesuch) in teenage dramas but in all cases the actors were most definately over 16 and probably over 18 as well.

    I am sure there exist movies which displays very young actors nude but to call it commonplace is a bit over the top. Heck, we have not even managed to scrounge up a single case as of yet in this thread and until we have I have a hard time taking this supposed problem seriously.
     
  20. Shazamdude Gems: 5/31
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    I say this with the disclaimer that I am talking about North American films: if you tell me that underage nudity is more prevalent in European cinema, then I'll have to take your word for it, as I am not enough of a movie buff to follow overseas productions. As Aldeth pointed out, we don't get much in the way of European movies here in NA. I DO, however, know North American cinema:

    Incorrect, but I won't really harp on that (again), as it's not really relevant to the topic. I'll just say that if you're basing your argument on that statement, you're using a faulty premise. Not sure it's incredibly relevant, but just saying.

    To address your point #2: That's sort of an offensive way to depict the movie making process. "Perverted producer"? "Selling their kid's dignity"? I sort of look at it differently: cinema is an art form, bringing a story to life visually. Sometimes that story involves either depicting underage characters in nude scenes, or as sexual objects, and in many cases it is handled in a manner meant to provoke thought and awareness of societal problems, not some cheap thrill in order to sell tickets. Some examples:

    "Thirteen" starring Evan Rachel Wood. Sure, I hated it, but it made a few critics top lists, such as Entertainment Weekly. I'm not sure how old Ms. Wood is (17-18 range)but in the movie she plays a 13 year old character who begins as a nice upstanding, innocent young girl. Once she hits Jr. High in urban USA she gradually gets in with the "in" crowd through theft, drug use, and sexually provocative clothing that "everybody's wearing". In short, she's symbolic of how children are becoming more sexual objects at an early age, and the film was hailed as an intelligent piece of cinema which points to real life pressure on children to grow up too fast due to incredible peer pressure.

    As previously mentioned, "Leon" or "The Professional"-- a hitman (Jean Reno) befriends a 12 year old girl (Natalie Portman) who attempts to enlist his aid in killing a corrupt police officer. Critics noted that there was noticeable sexual tension between the hitman and the young girl, with her seemingly the dominant initiator and him the recipient. This film also depicts a minor as a sexual being in an artistic manner, and turned from a cliched storyline into a fantastically interesting film because of it. Also worthy of note is that Natalie Portman doesn't seem to have suffered through any ill effects as a result, as her great success later in life will attest to.

    Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention Lolita itself, where a child is also depicted as a sexual being performing sexual acts. Controversial? Of course. Child pornography? No.

    I understand that these examples do not actually contain naked underaged people (although it was mentioned that Leon did, and that it was cut). They DO, however, contain underage characters that are sexual people, which is the cause of your outrage. I use these examples to point out that your statement that such a thing is a cheap method to attract moviegoers is incorrect; these pictures are all artistic in nature, not diguised child porn as you succinctly put it in your problem #1.

    I understand your point, of course, and exploiting child actors/actresses in order to generate cheap controversy is abhorrent. But you insist that it is never acceptable, and that there is no good reason to do so, and I disagree. While some films are probably little more then pornographic in nature, some are legitimate works of art produced by geniuses capable of handling such material in a sensitive and poignant manner. Things such as this should be monitored, of course, but restricting the stories producers and directors can tell because of conservatism is very close to censorship.
     
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