Updated April 27, 2024

    This information is provided by the Professors & Researchers Special Interest Group of The Naturist Society.  Please discover all of the other wonderful topics available by entering this site through the front door.

Family-Friendly Naturist-Friendly Movies

    Paul LeValley published these reviews in the AANR Bulletin.  They have since been rearranged in a more thematic order in Naturist Writings of Paul LeValley, Including Movie Reviewswhich can be purchased.

For the whole family
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Adventures with a Naked Boy
The Amazing Panda Adventure
The Bible: In the Beginning
The Blue Bird
Boy Takes Girl
Brother Sun, Sister Moon
The Brothers Lionheart
The Bruce Nutting Story
Changing Rooms
Child Bride
The Children of Noisy Village
Chillar Party
Clash of the Titans
The Creation
De Witte van Sichem
The Education of Little Tree
Elephant Boy
The Emperor's New Clothes
Fatty Finn
La Fonte des Neiges
Garden of Eden
The Girl and the Echo
The Gods Must Be Crazy II
The Golden Thing
La Gran Aventura
Huckleberry Finn and His Friends
Iki Haole: Niko's Hawaiian Adventure
The Invisible Kid
The Jungle Book
The Kid Stakes
Kirikou and the Sorceress
Lady Godiva of Coventry
Liane, Jungle Goddess
Little Peter's Big Adventure
Little Red Flowers
The Littlest Viking
Mrkasek Ciko
My Father's Glory
My Neighbor Totoro
My Side of the Mountain
No Bikini
Now and Then
The Nude Bomb
The Parent Trap
Penrod and His Twin Brother
Premier Amour
Revenge of the Virgins
El Rey de Los Gorilas
Romance with a Double Bass
Ronja Rovardotter
Sandy Hill
The Secret of Roan Inish
The Simpsons Movie
Some Things That Stay
Soup and Me
Standing Up
Strange Holiday / Boys of Lost Island
A Summer at Grandpa's
Taina 2
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Tarzan of the Apes
Three Wishes
Tom Brown's Schooldays
Tom Sawyer
Travels with Father (The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones)
La Ultima Batalla
Unexpected Encounters
Visit to a Chief's Son
War of the Buttons
Western Lights: In the Wake of Christopher Columbus
The Wild Child
The World of Ludovic
You're Out of Your Mind, Maggie

For teens and older
Act Naturally
Act Super Naturally
Age of Consent
Ali Zaoua, Prince of the Streets
Alice's Restaurant
Analog Roam
Anarchy TV
Angela's Ashes
The Annunciation
Art School Confidential
At Play in the Fields of the Lord
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner
Bastien, Bastienne
Beautiful Dreamers
Big Fish
The Big Road
The Blue Lagoon
Box of Moonlight
The Bridges at Toko-Ri
Buster and Billie
Calendar Girl
Captain Fantastic
Christopher Columbus: The Discovery
Chronicle of a Boy Alone
Clay Farmers
The Coca-Cola Kid
Cold Showers
College Greek Athletic Meet
Confessions of a Late Bloomer
Could We Maybe
The Crucible
A Cry in the Wild
Dance Me Outside
Dances with Wolves
Dark Enemy
Doc Hollywood
Don't Tell Papa (Raising My Dad)
Educating Julie
Elysia, Valley of the Nude
The Emerald Forest
European Vacation
Everybody Loves Alice
Exchange Lifeguards (Wet and Wild Summer!)
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
The Fool Killer
The Genesis Children
Glen and Randa
Greenhouse Effect
Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes
Hail Mary
Hans Staden—There He Comes, Our Food Jumping
The Harrad Experiment (on the Visionary Colleges page)
Haunted Summer
Heaven Help Us (Catholic Boys)
Hideous Kinky
The Holy Mountain
Hopelessly Lost
House of the Spirits
How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman
I Love You Rosa
I'm with the Band
The Invisible Boy
Jambon d'Ardenne
Just One of the Guys
King of Hearts
Kings Row
Lady Jane
The Last Emperor
The Last Picture Show
Lepota Poroka
Logan's Run
Lord of the Flies
Lost Horizon
Love Like Poison
The Man in the Iron Mask
The Man in the Moon
Manon of the Spring
Map of the Human Heart
Medicine Man
The Mission
My Life So Far
The Naked Mile (near the bottom of the Streaking page)
The Naked Venus
Nine Meals from Chaos
Nowhere in Africa
Nude on the Moon
On Golden Pond
The Other Side of Sunday
Paul & Michelle
Perfumed Nightmare
Petit Mort
The Pillow Book
Planet of the Apes
Point de Fuite (
The Vanishing Point)
Porky's 2: The Next Day
Powwow Highway
Rapa Nui
Red Cherry
The Reivers
The Revolt of Job
Romeo and Juliet
A Room with a View
Rowing With the Wind
Running Brave
Salaam Bombay
Scout Toujours
Scream of the Ants
Senza Buccia
Seven Freckles
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors  (Wild Horses of Fire)
Shaka Zulu
    A Midsummer Night's Dream
    Much Ado About Nothing
    Prospero's Books (The Tempest)
Simon Says Goodbye to his Foreskin
Sixteen Candles
Slumdog Millionaire
Sons of Matthew (Jungle Brothers' Woman)
The Spy Who Caught a Cold
St. Ives
Steel Magnolias
The Student Prince (Prince of Hearts)
A Summer in La Goulette
Tarzan and His Mate
Tarzan the Ape Man
The Thorn Birds
Tree Without Leaves
The Trojan Women
Tu Solo
Les Turlupins
Untamed Youth
Weird Science
Wet and Wild Summer! (Exchange Lifeguards)
The Wicker Man
Yankee Zulu
You Are Not Alone
Young Aphrodites

Barely mentioned  (nude, but mostly of adult interest)
The Book of Mary
Calendar Girls
Castaway (not Cast Away)
The Cement Garden
The Gathering Storm
Hot Hot Hot
Mackenna's Gold
The Man Who Would Be King
Maslin Beach
Nudist Beach
The Prize
Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves
A Shot in the Dark
Snap Decision
Summerhill at 70
Ten Canoes
El Topo

Nudist-Friendly Movies You Can Watch with Your Children (Feb. 2014)

    Normally, this column will be short.  But this first time, I need to explain what I am doing.

    There are people who know a lot more about movies than I do.  But nobody is writing about things nudist adults and their children or grandchildren can do together.  The main value of these movies is the family discussion afterward—about topics raised, such as school bullying or equal respect for girls and boys.  Therefore, these are not the latest flicks playing at your local cinema, but classic movies and forgotten gems you can watch together at home.

    I came to film rather late in life.  I had not realized that the last third of the twentieth century was a sort of golden age of child-friendly, nudist-friendly movies.  That was before the confusion and hysteria about so-called child pornography scared a lot of movie-makers away.  By now, some of those films are popular favorites at your public library, or available for a dollar or so at your neighborhood thrift store.

    At my age, I don't have little children underfoot.  I have pretty much retired from college teaching, but still work with teenagers, and have a fair grasp of what they can handle.  They can handle some uncomfortable topics.  My aim is to point out films meaningful to young people, that happen to include a bit of natural nudity.

    I will probably discuss two or three movies each time: one for the whole family (including small children), and one or more for teens and their parents.  We all know that families change; what is inappropriate for your child now may be fine next year.  This column is no substitute for parental guidance.

    Movie ratings are not much help, because the people who decide those things seem to think one skinnydip is the equivalent of about five murders.  Likewise, the fine list of naturist-friendly movies at http://www.clothesfree.com/movies.html contains some with far more violence and ugliness than I welcome into my living room.  You will not agree with all of my choices—or all of my rejections.  That's OK.

    I am aware of only a limited number of nudist-friendly movies—especially for the younger children.  I welcome any suggestions of favorites at your house.  Just write paullevalley@peoplepc.com.

    Now for this season's picks:

For the whole family

    Kirikou and the Sorceress (1998) is a cartoon for all ages.  This west African folktale has survived through the generations because it contains wisdom that parents, children, and grandparents can equally appreciate.  It's about a baby boy who accomplishes heroic deeds, and saves his people.

    In true African fashion, the women live topfree, and children go nude.  American theatre owners kept the French movie out of this country for four years, insisting that the artist, Michel Ocelot, paint clothes over all of his figures.  He refused.

    As a home video, the movie is available only in French, with English subtitles.  So the kids have to be old enough to read—unless you want to read the captions to them.  It is all worth the effort.

    With the cartoon's popularity, the artist has released two spin-off films in 2005 and 2012.  Both are again in French.  So far, only Kirikou and the Wild Beasts is available with English subtitles.

For teens and older

    I remember in the late 1960s and early '70s, teenagers were rebelling against the expectations of their parents, but found a lot in common with their grandparents.  Time has rolled around.  Today's teenagers can sit down with their hippy grandparents who lived those experiences, and watch—not one, but two—classic movies together.

    Hair was the ultimate sixties musical, though the movie version had to wait a decade until 1979.  The original stage play was a joyous in-your-face songfest, a be-in, a rock-rhythm hootenanny.  The movie makers decided it needed a plot, so they added a lame one about a ranch boy enjoying one last weekend of freedom in New York's Central Park, before reporting for military duty in Vietnam.  It's not the same, but much of the great fun still comes through.

    Young people are singing right out loud about such forbidden topics as race, sex, drugs, and peace.  No one should be surprised that one scene of this movie about the sixties is a hallucinatory drug trip.

    The musical originally ended with all of the young actors nude and facing the audience on the dimly lit stage, while singing "Let the Sun Shine In."  That nudity was later moved to just before the intermission, so actors could return for curtain calls at the end.  The tamer movie instead gives us a nighttime skinny-dip, with bare butts and breasts, while avoiding any frontal nudity below the belt.

    Still, the music of a generation continues to throb with joy and significance.

    For another perspective on the sixties and the Vietnam draft, also watch Alice's Restaurant (1969).  This is a true story about Arlo Guthrie's singing commercial that grew into a movie.  Some families have made it a Thanksgiving tradition to re-watch this film every year.

    Before seeing it, today's teenagers need to be reminded that Arlo's father, Woody Guthrie, was the mid-twentieth-century's greatest folk song writer.  But illness debilitated him by the sixties.  Pete Seeger, another folk song legend, puts in a cameo appearance singing Woody's songs.

    The plot begins when a couple in a strained marriage buy an old church and turn it into a hangout for all their young hippy friends.  Despite the cover art, there is not much nudity in this movie—just one pair of bare breasts.  Even for the army physical exam, cameramen aimed above the waist.

    My disc offers the option of viewing the film again, with commentary from Arlo Guthrie today.  That is an excellent reason for seeing it twice.

    So watch all three of these movies together, and start some family discussions.  If you don't have family, they're still great to watch.

Nude Swimming in School (May 2014)

    Today's topic is schools—boys' schools—and the nude swimming that was a part of them for centuries.

For the whole family:

    Tom Brown's Schooldays (1951) is a movie about school bullying at Rugby in England.  Thomas Hughes wrote the book a century earlier in 1857, back when long-windedness was in fashion.  It makes heavy slogging today.  (The bullying takes up only a chapter-and-a-half during Tom's first year or so at the school.)

    The book has been made into a movie five times.  Only the 1951 British version, starring John Howard Davies, includes the skinny-dipping which was a part of every schoolboy's experience in the nineteenth century.  After all, the events happen in the early 1830s, and swimsuits wouldn't even be invented until about 1870.  Hughes wrote that during warm weather "they spent a large portion of the day in nature's garb by the river side, and so when tired of swimming, would get out on the other side and fish."

    In the 1830s, Dr. Thomas Arnold (father of poet Matthew Arnold) was reforming Rugby school.  He cleaned up the bullying, brought in modern subjects, yet firmly believed in the ancient Greek ideal of a well developed mind in a well developed body.  Athletics (including swimming) formed an important part of school life.  You don't need to understand the rules of cricket or Rugby football to appreciate the film.

    By the way, we learn from the book (but not the movies) that beer was regularly on the school menu.  How times have changed.

    Be aware that the 1951 movie was made in black and white.  It is still readily available.

    Here is a fine opportunity for parents to openly discuss bullying with their children.  You will need to explain beforehand that in English schools, "fag" meant a younger student running errands for an older student—nothing more.

For teens and older:

    Heaven Help Us (1985) is a forgotten gem of a movie.  It takes us inside a Catholic boys' high school in Brooklyn in 1965.  (The film is known in Europe under the title, Catholic Boys.)  Except that the girls go to a separate school, and the teachers wear robes, it is much like any other inner-city school during the early sixties.  The rough talk rings true.

    The big-talking bully in this case quickly joins the hero and some other misfits, to form an oddly assorted group of loyal friends.  The real bully is one of the teachers.

    Among the daily activities, we see the boys lined up nude beside the school swimming pool.  The first view is frontal, blurry, and brief.  Then we see them from the back and sides, while their instructor gives them a grouchy pep talk.  This is not central to the plot—just a routine moment in an ordinary school day.

    A bit of history:  In the early years of the twentieth century, schools in larger cities built indoor swimming pools.  Lint clogged the early filters, so nudity was mandatory for everyone—including the teachers.  All classes were single-sex.  After World War II the nudity requirement relaxed for girls—but not for boys.  They still were expected to do the manly thing and swim nude.  On rare occasions, that even extended to competition between schools before a mixed-sex audience.

    But by 1965, most American public schools had switched to requiring swim suits.  Some private schools and the YMCA held onto traditional nude swimming for another five or ten years.  And so the movie shows us the waning days of a standard dress code that had been a part of boys' schools for centuries.

    But what about a nude classroom?  We must turn to imagination.  On YouTube, you can find Olivier Smolders' ten-minute film of 1988, Point de Fuite—which translates as The Vanishing Point.  A Belgian teacher walks into a high school geometry class to find her male and female students all nude.  She eventually joins them, but they are tricking her.  Do NOT buy the disc.  It contains many other dreadful things you don't want near your children.  Be content to watch the only good part of this one on YouTube.  Make sure you have a version with English subtitles.

    Though no movie will show it to you, boys of all ages in ancient Greece spent their entire school day nude.  In Egypt, neither boys nor girls wore any clothing until well into puberty.  During our lifetime, an ancient and venerated tradition has ended.  Why?

Two Classic Movies by Zeffirelli (July 2014)

    At the risk of telling people what they already know, let me recommend two film classics directed by Franco Zeffirelli.

For the whole family:

    Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972) tells the story of St. Francis of Assisi.  There are no children in this movie, no slapstick humor, none of the usual gimmicks to lure kids into watching.  Yet it is a fine uplifting film for the whole family to experience together.  In fact, parents need to be there during the first several minutes, when younger children witness St. Francis having nightmares about his war experience.

    The rest is simple joy—helped along by Donovan's heartfelt songs.

    The turning-point comes when St. Francis famously strips off all worldly goods—handing his clothes back to his cloth-merchant father—and appearing in all his naked splendor before God.  Naked ascetics exist in several religions.  But St. Francis is the best-known and most beloved Christian example.  We only see him from the back, yet we also see the sense of wonderment and comprehension on the faces of bystanders.  Yes, nudity can be a religious experience.

    The movie ends after Pope Innocent III, the most powerful pope in history, gives his blessing to the founding of the Franciscan order of monks.  We do not see Francis' trusting female friend also start the Poor Clares.  (Actually, she was twelve years younger than him—a fact that Zeffirelli chose to ignore.)  But we see enough to tell the story.  The movie captures the best of the Christian spirit, in all of its loving simplicity.  Watch it as a family.

For teens and older:

    Shakespeare's ever-popular Romeo and Juliet has been filmed more than 75 times around the world, including opera and ballet versions like West Side Story.  Yet Franco Zeffirelli broke new ground in 1968.  He used young actors, instead of experienced veterans.  He put them in authentic Renaissance clothing, with young men proudly strutting around town in their brightly colored codpieces.  And we see Romeo and Juliet waking up nude—as most people do on the morning of their honeymoon.

    How did Shakespeare play this scene?  At the back of his open stage, there was a small curtained room, with another one like it upstairs off the famous balcony.  Shakespeare gives us double action: downstairs, Juliet's parents plan her marriage to count Paris, while upstairs, Juliet is already celebrating her honeymoon with Romeo.

    Nightshirts had just been invented in Shakespeare's time.  Only a few very rich people owned one.  Most of Shakespeare's audience had never seen such an outfit, and would have laughed at the idea of putting on clothes to go to bed.  (In the next century, Puritans would try to get everybody into nightshirts, as a way to dull the senses.)  Shakespeare's audience expected people to arise nude from bed.

    Yet another problem complicated that.  There would be no actresses for another fifty years.  Young boys played all of the female roles.  That was how they served their apprenticeship.

    So how did Shakespeare do it?  When the curtain opened, awakening Romeo could bunch the sheets in front of him as he reached over and pulled on his trousers.  (No one wore underwear then.)  And Juliet could wrap the sheet around herself as she rose.  In a more private setting, Zeffirelli gives us a lingering view of Romeo's bare butt, and a blurred flash of Juliet's breasts.  (Did I see that, or didn't I?)

    This scene gives high school English teachers fits.  Some skip it; others show it without comment; I know one otherwise excellent teacher who is wide enough to stand in front of the television screen, blocking her students' view until that scene is over.  All can be under pressure from parents and administrators.

    I have taught this movie many times—mostly to high school Freshmen and Sophomores.  To avoid snickers about the codpieces, I like to begin with a study of Renaissance art: examples such as Michelangelo's David, Botticelli's Birth of Venus, and Leonardo's Vitruvian Man.  The excitement of the Renaissance was the discovery of man and human potential.  People took pride in who they were, and in their bodies.  Teenagers can understand and respect this healthy attitude.

    By the way, small breasts were in fashion for Renaissance girls.  A similar thing happened in the 1920s.  The actress playing Juliet was not built that way, so they tried cramming her into the tight Renaissance bodices anyway; it didn't work.

    Young people who don't attend churches where they still use a lot of "thees" and "thous" may find the Elizabethan English going by too fast.  Turning on the English subtitles can help.  But viewers won't miss a lot, because most of the dirty jokes were taken out of the movie version.  I always have to explain that Shakespeare wrote for two audiences: aristocrats in the high-priced seats, and lowly groundlings who stood around waiting for the crude humor.  That is what makes Shakespeare's language so rich.  Double-entendre abounds.

    When I teach this movie, I like to follow with Tchaikovsky's musical version of the story.  Actually, he just captured certain moods: peace, street fighting, love, funeral.  Some teens find the two intertwining melodies of its love theme even more gripping than the play or the film.  Definitely, listen for yourself.

    In the years since this movie appeared, several of Shakespeare's other plays have been filmed with a bit of nudity: a bathing child and a madwoman in Macbeth (1973), lots of people bathing during the opening credits of Much Ado About Nothing (1991), nude sleepers in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999), and more male nudity than is strictly necessary in Prospero's Books [The Tempest] (1991).  King Lear has rarely been staged with two nude men during the storm scene, but never on film, that I know of.

    The 1996 gangster version called Romeo + Juliet is far too ugly for watching.  And to the relief of squeamish schoolteachers, Romeo in the 2013 movie jumps out of his wedding bed wearing long john bottoms—centuries before they were invented.

    And so Zeffirelli is to be commended for two magnificent films that not only capture the spirit of their times, but also bring body-positive messages to young people growing up today.

Treating Boys and Girls with Equal Respect (Sept. 2014)

    This time, we look at a couple of gritty movies from the hardscrabble south.  Both have rough edges, but offer much for family discussion.

For the whole family:

    Shadrach (1998) provides some fine lessons in racial harmony and social understanding.  It's 1935 in the depths of the Great Depression, when an old former slave returns home to die in Virginia.  He discovers that his master's descendants have deteriorated into a bunch of foul-mouthed bootleggers.  But they remain decent people of compassion, who will see that the right thing is done.

    When the family goes swimming together, the boys do it nude.  Their older sister strips down only to her underwear, while the youngest girl jumps in the water wearing nearly all of her clothes.  It's an odd double standard of southern expectations for boys and girls in the same family.  The old slave, too, fondly remembers youthful skinny-dipping as the moment he felt most free.

    Be aware that this film contains salty language that you may not want to expose your children to.  Or maybe they've already heard it all.  Use your judgement.  The tape version is becoming scarce, but still shows up occasionally at thrift stores for a dollar or so.  The disc works only on European machines or your computer.

For teens and older:

    With a mostly off-camera rape and murder, Buster and Billie (1974) is definitely not a movie for the little kiddies.  But it wrestles mightily with teen concerns.

    It's 1948 in Georgia, and the double standard reigns supreme: boys are expected to learn about sex wherever they can find it, but for a girl to do so means total disgrace.  The same goes for teen drinking and smoking (even in front of the sheriff).

    Trouble begins when the handsomest redneck in the senior class treats a too-willing girl with respect.  When he invites her to church with him, that upsets the whole town's moral balance.  This is a tender love story that ends in tragedy.  But so is Romeo and Juliet.

    The skinny-dip scene is a classic.  For a whole generation of young people, this was their first glimpse of male frontal nudity on the big screen.   Though movie-makers commonly exploit female nudity, while shying away from naked men, this time, cameras show the girl only from the back or side.

    Men over a certain age will recognize the boys' bathroom with its open stalls and trough urinal.  Modesty was not really an option back then.  Such piling on of historic details gives the story believability and power.

    The tape version of this important film has become rare; Sunshine Vintage Movies are sole distributors of the DVD.

    Of course, no discussion of southern movies is complete without mentioning Steel Magnolias (1989).  This third film is wholesome enough for small children to be in the room, but the best parts probably stretch beyond their emotional experience.  It has rightly been called "the funniest movie you ever cried through."

    Among its many riches, we see two older women doing a radio broadcast from a boys' locker room.  These are not actors, but the actual high school football team of Natchitoches, Louisiana.  (That was in the days before boys became afraid to take showers.)  We don't see much—just a few bare butts—so one of the old ladies whips out her mirror to get a better view.

    The movie came from a play about resilient women who rose above the double standard of expectations, and took control of their lives.  The play happened entirely in a beauty parlor—no men on stage, and no mention of the locker room.  Likewise, a 2013 remake of the movie with an all-black cast watered it down for television, and left out the locker room scene.  Stay with the 1989 version.

    Shadrach, Buster and Billie, Steel Magnolias: these three classic southern films are worth finding and discussing, y'all.

I Met a Man Who Wasn't There: Invisibility in the Movies (Nov. 2014)

            As I was walking up the stair,
            I met a man who wasn't there.
            He wasn't there again today.
            I wish, I wish, he'd go away.
                                --nursery rhyme

    If it is not a contradiction of terms and ideas, today we look at a couple of movies from the 1980s about invisible naked people.

For the whole family:

    H.G. Wells wrote his 1897 science-fiction novella, The Invisible Man, about a man who can disappear, but his clothes can't—so he takes them off.  Since 1933, lots of movie-makers have had fun with the special effects needed for this concept.  And none had more fun than the makers of The Invisible Kid in 1988.

    The kid is actually a nerdy high school senior, trying to complete the scientific work of his dead father.  When his less mature friend learns about the invisibility powder, the friend's first urge is to sneak into the girls' locker room.  We briefly see two girls' breasts, and the boys' bare butts when the invisibility suddenly wears off.

    At one point, the heroine does an invisible strip tease.  We see nothing there but discarded clothes moving through the air.

    The film has all the dumb elements of a kids' flick: slapstick humor, a bunch of over-reacting dimwits, and a fast car chase.  And of course, the boy gets the girl.  Yet the first bad guy we meet turns out to have a little depth of character.  The high school principal is the real villain.  The movie copies bits from several other juvenile films of the time; as in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, one more little scene comes after all the credits.

    This is a movie to watch after a bad day, when you or your family want some mindless enjoyment.

For teens and older:

    In The Emerald Forest (1985), we meet an Amazon jungle tribe known as the Invisible People because they grind emeralds into a paste, and paint their nearly nude bodies for camouflage.  No one is quite nude; males and females all wear something over the pubic area—even when swimming.  Breasts and buttocks are naturally visible.

    It is based on a true story of a blond boy kidnaped from an engineer in charge of constructing a huge dam.  The father finds the boy ten years later: a teenager raised in jungle ways, and about to marry.

    The dam project has displaced a nasty group of cannibals, who are now invading the lands of these gentle Invisible People.  When the menfolk are away, Fierce People overrun the village, and sell the young women to the white owners of a bordello on the frontier.  Father and son work together to rescue them.  As the girls return to the purity of nature, the first thing they do is throw off their humiliating clothes.

    The father comes to realize that his dam will destroy the traditional way of life that his son has chosen.  He is prepared to blow up his work of ten years.  But that proves unnecessary; nature takes care of itself.

    Yes, there is violence in this movie; yet the beauty of natural living leaves a far more enduring impression.  When young men attempt to enter the bulldozer-ravaged landscape, the old chief warns, "We are not invisible in the dead world,"—only in the land of green and living things.  As the writing on the screen says at the end, these people still know what we have forgotten about blending naturally into nature.

    Funny or movingly serious, both of these films about invisibility and nudity show us people who are far more than their clothes.

Stranded on a Deserted Island (March 2015)

    Many movies have been made about people marooned on an unpopulated island, where they don't have to worry about what the neighbors think.  They can dress or undress freely.  Some films, such as Castaway (1986), contain considerable nudity.  These will interest young children and teenagers:

For the whole family:

    Robby (1968) is a retelling of the Robinson Crusoe story with kids in the leading roles.  When shipwrecked nine-year-old Robby meets a native boy, he follows the old plot and calls him Friday.  Next, he makes clothes for the happily naked kid.  From then on, they both swim nude, but wear clothes on land.  Why?

    The director was an ASA official, with his neighbor's son in the title role.  So you know it's good clean fun.  In its original version, the movie lasted half-an-hour longer, and was criticized because it dragged.  Later, they shortened the film for the home version, and added new music.  The scenery is beautiful.  It's a great hour of family entertainment with lots of things to talk about afterward.

For teens and older:

    The Blue Lagoon (1980) is THE teen nude movie.  A boy and a girl grow up on a deserted island in the Pacific.  With no adults around, they, in their teen years, have to figure out matters of sex (and later parenting) all by themselves.  It is a wonderful tale of innocence and naturalness in the midst of beautiful nature.

    For some reason, the teenagers also wear skimpy clothes on land, but of course swim nude.  Young Christopher Atkins did his own nude scenes.  Brooke Shields did not.  Her mother was on the set at all times, making sure the girl's hair stayed taped over her breasts.

    Henry De Vere Stacpoole wrote the original story way back in 1908.  In that age of lingering Victorian prudery, he devoted only a few pages to the years of teenage discovery.  Reportedly, the same thing happened in the British film versions of 1923 and 1949—though neither is available for comparison.

    The 1980 movie inspired several attempts to cash in on its success.  Move the scene to a middle-eastern oasis, don't waste time on innocent years, provide several nude scenes (mostly female), add a conventional villain, some chase scenes, and a couple of chimpanzees for dumb laughs—plus a happy ending—and you have the formula for Paradise, made just two years later in 1982.  Even the hairstyles are copied.  The film still has charm.  If you watch this one, make sure you get an old tape version; South Koreans blurred all the nudity on the disc.  Cover art has been discretely nude for European sales, but clothed for American editions.

    A year later, in 1983, came an Indonesian adaptation of The Blue Lagoon filled with prejudice against native people.  It was remade as a horror movie in 2010.

    Stacpoole wrote two more novels about the next generation.  Part of The Garden of God went into the 1991 film, Return to the Blue Lagoon.  But by 1991, producers feared to show any teen nudity—even when swimming.  Still, the sequel raises some interesting questions about the values of civilization, and is worth watching.

    Blue Lagoon: The Awakening (2012) is just a television rip-off of the title—about modern high school students wearing swimsuits in the Caribbean.  Yet the 1980 film remains a wonderful classic.

    Robby's adult rescuer asks, "Are you sure you want to go back?"  He does.  But the teenagers in some of the other movies have grown enough to realize that living naturally in nature has charms missing in modern civilization.  They have found their roots where they are.

What is Human Nature?  (May 2015)

    What does it mean to be human?  To be natural?  Two views have long persisted.

    One claims that man must struggle to rise above his animal nature.  Religion, clothing, civilization elevate him above the beasts.  The idea of progress is closely linked: things are getting better and better; we modern people have become far more civilized than, say, the ancient Greeks with their naked athletics.

    The other view insists that babies are born innocent, good, and free.  Children are likely to tell the truth, until society corrupts them.  Education should largely be a matter of discovering our own creative potential and our role in the natural world around us.  At certain glorious times, individuals have shucked off their false material trappings, and found their way back to the garden.  We can do it too.

    Without really thinking about it, most of us believe some combination of these ideas.  Let us look at movies contrasting these two views of human nature.

For the whole family:

    The Wild Child (1970) documents a historical case study from the late 1700s: the discovery in France of an 11-or-12-year-old boy who had been raised by wolves.  Completely naked, he had not learned language or how to walk upright.  Using the latest educational philosophies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a kindly doctor set about bringing the boy into human society.

    There have been other known cases of children raised by animals.  Those children were never able to explain what it was like, because, unless children learn language by a certain age, they never will.

    The director chose to film in black and white, claiming that would give it a more authentically documentary look.  (Like rare original film footage preserved from the 1790s?  I don't pretend to understand his logic.)  The movie is in French, with English subtitles.

    This interesting documentary should not be confused with a much later film about a misbehaving girl called simply Wild Child.

For teens and older:

    For the same optimistic viewpoint, teen and adult readers may also be interested in Nell (1994) about a young woman raised in the woods and speaking her own language.  It includes a few moonlit skinny-dips.

    But after seeing the bestiality of two world wars, William Golding reached a more pessimistic view of human nature: Without ongoing civilization, without normal rules, people throw off their clothes and become savages.  That was the premise of his book, Lord of the Flies, made into a British movie in 1963.  The director chose the harsh contrast of black-and-white photography, rather than the subtleties of color.

    A group of proper schoolboys stranded on a tropical island quickly revert to savagery.  That includes some nudity, and killing off anyone who disagrees with them.  And they mesmerize themselves into that condition while marching and singing hymns.  So church and state have often led peaceable citizens into warfare.

    In Golding's book, all of the boys skinny-dip frequently, and sometimes stay undressed afterward.  In the movie, we see only the young and the innocent choosing to go totally nude—not the older half-naked savages.  Except for the rational fat boy, they excite themselves into fearing a beast.  The book points out more clearly that the beast lies deep within their own natures.  The philosophic boy who figures out some of these things does not play a significant part in the movie.

    The American remake of Lord of the Flies in 1990 used full color, but fell short in every other way.  They "improved" the story to make it more American—that is, more military, more gore, much more foul language, and without any religious irony or nudity.  Stick to the original version.

    [The Bulletin did not print the next paragraph.]

    The idea of kids run amok without the structure of rules shows up in other movies.  As an extreme example, unsupervised teenagers in The Cement Garden (1993) go so far as incest.  With a liberating nude dance in the rain, the film is actually a sensitive treatment of a potentially dangerous topic.  This one is best left for adult viewing.

    It is not unusual for movie-makers to examine basic human nature by looking at children free of rules and free of clothing.  Some reach an optimistic conclusion, some less hopeful.  Next time we will discuss a more joyous nudist-friendly film influenced by Lord of the Flies.

Beach Boys (July 2015)

    What brings more joy to the heart than the sight and sounds of children gamboling free and naturally on a beach?  In our video selections this time, they all happen to be boys.

For the whole family:

    Have you ever been tempted to sell your kids?  If so, Popi (1979) is the movie for you.  We meet a Puerto Rican father hustling to hold down three jobs in an effort to raise his two young sons in a rugged neighborhood of New York City.  (The boys have picked up some rough language, that occasionally slips out.)  When the father hears that Cubans are sending their children to the United States as refugees, in hope that rich people will adopt them and give them a better life, he decides to try the same for his sons.  This sacrifice is difficult because he loves them and they love him.

    The last straw comes when a neighborhood gang strip his sons naked and tie them up.  So he takes them to Miami, where we briefly see them playing nude on the beach.  (These cottontail actors were not experienced skinny-dippers—which fits with the story.)  There is no frontal nudity.  There are, however, a couple of spoken references to sex, yet the movie's G rating is deserved.

    From the beginning, all sorts of things go wrong.  Children will love the slapstick humor.  Parents will appreciate the bonds of family love.  Before the movie starts, you should probably explain US-Cuba relations and waves of refugees.

For teens and older:

    The Genesis Children (1972) is not your run-of-the-mill movie.  In the late '60s and early '70s, Lyric Films International produced several short amateur home videos that they sold through nudist magazines.  The 8-milimeter films featured pretty much the same group of boys—one time at a pool party, another time playing with motorcycles, another time on vacation in Europe.  None are available today.  (If anybody still has one, I would be curious to see a copy.)  The Genesis Children was their only full-length feature film.  By then, all but two of the boys were teenagers.

    We see eight boys from an English-speaking school in Rome recruited for a sort of live theatre on the beach.  They are given no script or plot.  So they act naturally, and go skinny-dipping whenever they feel like it.  They explore and just have fun.  This film contains more teen male nudity than any other movie I am aware of.  The focus is almost entirely on the boys; one person plays most of the adult roles.

    In the early '70s, the only model for a movie about nude boys away from home was Lord of the Flies.  So the screen writers decided to have the boys abuse their freedom and go too far (while the same hymn plays in the background that the trouble-makers marched to in the earlier movie).  They torch an old van abandoned at the seashore.  The realization that they have done something wrong ends the innocence of their Eden-like stay at the beach.  We see some biblical parallels.

    When the raw footage got edited down, most of the nude scenes ended up on the cutting room floor, and the movie ran way too short.  So the producers fired their big-name editor, and hired a new one to repair the damage.  He decided to go artsy.  He restored the omitted scenes in odd places, forcing the viewer to move back and forth in time.  Hint: All of the clothed in-town scenes are flashbacks that actually happened before the nude beach scenes.  The movie provides no blurry beginnings to let you know when you are entering a flashback; clothes and scenery are the signals.

    I showed this movie a few years ago at a Mid-Winter Naturist Festival.  Most of the older people in the room disliked it because it didn't follow a traditional plot from beginning to end.  But I like it for the sheer joy of living.

    The Genesis Children asks some profound questions, yet falls short in answers.  The movie also has great music—some of it reinforcing the aura of sacred nudity, other moments throbbing with excitement.

    But trouble lurked behind the cameras.  In the 1970s, the line between nudity and sex was blurring—even in nudist magazines.  Unfortunately, the man with the money behind these innocent films also invested in a company that produced pornography, and he got in trouble for that.  So all production ended abruptly.  Still, we have their one glorious movie.

    Popi and The Genesis Children both overflow with joy—symbolized by boys running free and naked at the seashore.

Boys Will Be Boys (Nov. 2015)

    I had not intended to discuss movies about boys two times in a row.  But current events are dictating otherwise.  Read on.

For the Whole Family:

    American movies about Tom Sawyer have shown very little of the traditional nudity described in Mark Twain's book.  In 1938, David O. Selznick filmed a distant skinny-dip for the beginning of his movie.  Company censors removed it, and it has never been restored.

    A brief flash of bare butts while the boys swam in the delightful 1973 musical version of Tom Sawyer caused a sensation.  Aunt Polly openly sang about the boys "swimming in the nude."  With a compassionate Aunt Polly and Warren Oates' endearing performance as the town drunk, this was, and remains, a great family movie.  But after that, American movie makers grew more cautious again.

    Huckleberry Finn and His Friends (1979) was a Canadian-German production filmed in Canada—and that explains a lot.  With three skinny-dip scenes, the two-year TV series has been repeated many times on children's television in Canada, Germany, Scandinavian countries, England, Australia, Venezuela and much of Latin America—but never the United States.  The DVD is in a European format; even Canadians can't watch it now, except on their computers or a region-free DVD player (which is not expensive.)

    To get a more professional performance from children, movie directors frequently use actors older than the roles they are playing.  Several of the boys in this series were actually actors in their mid-teens.  They could shave their pubic hair for the skinny-dip scenes, but there was no easy way to disguise their deepening voices.

    The boys' handlers made sure the two main stars were photographed nude mostly from the back and sides.  Fortunately, Twain included a third boy in their island adventure; all lingering frontal views are of him.  Yet the skinny-dipping scenes were shot from such a distance that not much detail can be seen.  They come in season 1, episodes 1, 6, and 7.  The series is available as a 4-disc set, though the first disc (which happens to contain all of the skinny-dip scenes) was originally sold separately.  Dailymotion has posted all episodes on the Internet, so you can watch them that way if you don't mind a little jerky motion.

    Season 2 focused on Huck's raft trip down the river, and there all nudity stopped—despite his insistence in the book that "we was always naked, day and night."  For 130 years, no book illustrator or movie producer has ever dared to show Huckleberry Finn nude during his long raft adventure.

    Then this summer, The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City refused to exhibit the larger-than-life nude sculpture of Huck and Jim by Charles Ray.  The artist explained that Huck bends down to catch food in the water, while Jim blesses his effort.  The Art Institute of Chicago did show the group in an inconspicuous place.  Nervous officials at both museums said they were not worried about reactions of museum-goers, but of the ignorant people who never go to museums, yet could start a lot of trouble on Facebook or Twitter.  They also worried about differences in race and age—something our society obsesses on right now.  Nobody mentioned that the black man is circumcised—something totally inappropriate for the nineteenth century.

    Museums (and advertising) are full of female nudes—but not many males.  In contrast, movies have lots of skinny-dipping boys, but few girls.  Go figure.

For Teens and Older:

    What would Tom, Huck, and Joe be like at age 18?  Their kind of mischief remains timeless.  Calendar Girl (1993) gives us three similar boys in the early 1960s.  Just graduated from high school, they travel across country to catch a glimpse of their heroine, Marilyn Monroe.

    The title comes from her famous nude Playboy calendar picture, and the opening credits include some famous nude paintings.  This movie should not be confused with the plural Calendar Girls, about aging English housewives (which is also excellent, but not particularly appealing to teenagers).

    At one point, the boys pursue Marilyn onto an early California nude beach.  Though the cameramen filmed only a few backsides, the beach looks pretty authentic.

    It's a funny movie, until one of the boys actually meets Marilyn, and they have a serious conversation.  She was far more than a pretty body.

    This and the two Twain movies are all great fun to watch.  Actually, Tom, Huck, and the boys in Calendar Girl were not the only young people who knew how to get into mischief.  Next time: Girls Will Be Girls.

Girls Will Be Girls (Jan. 2016)

    This time, we look at movies about girls—girls who can get into just as much mischief as the boys can.

For the whole family:

    From 1934 to 1968, the Hays Code of censorship stifled Hollywood movies.  As a precaution, film studios hired their own censors to eliminate anything that might not pass the code.  In 1938, nervous company officials removed the boys' skinny-dip scene from the beginning of David O. Selznick's Tom Sawyer.  Then all through the 1950s and 60s, movie producers pushed the limits of the code, until it was finally abandoned.

    Walt Disney, with his solid reputation for wholesome family films, struck his blow for common sense about innocent child nudity in Pollyanna in 1960.  He recreated the banned boys' skinny-dip scene and put it at the beginning of this girls' movie.  Only this time, it had nothing to do with the plot—just setting the mood of small-town America at the turn of the twentieth century.  And he got away with it.

    The movie begins with a close-up of a nude boy's back, as he swings out over the water, and drops in to join several other skinny-dipping boys.  The part was played by a local extra, who got a new bicycle for his pay.  Pollyanna never goes swimming, though we do see lots of nude sculptures in the houses of the wealthy.

    Like Tom Sawyer, Pollyanna can get into her share of mischief—from sneaking out of her room, to climbing trees, to trespassing.  But mostly, her cheerful optimism makes a lot of grumpy people happy.

    Though few men and boys went to see it in the theatres, they missed a good family movie.  It's hard to keep a dry eye during the ending.

For teens and older:

    We look at two movies about teenage girls.  Both contain some of the same stock characters.  Both include locker room scenes.

    Sixteen Candles (1984) is about an awkward but good-hearted girl whose family all forget her sixteenth birthday.  (They're preparing for her sister's wedding the next day.)  She tries to not feel too hurt.

    The sight of a beautiful girl showering makes her feel even more inadequate, yet two very sincere guys take an interest in her.  (The younger boy grows as much as she does, adding some depth to an otherwise shallow film.)

    The movie is both sad and funny—if you like physical humor reminiscent of the Keystone Kops.  The loopy wedding has to be one of the most laughable on film.  Even some of the background music is ironic.  But be aware that the girls do not always use the most ladylike language.

    On the other hand, Just One of the Guys (1985) is a modern adaptation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, where, for her safety, a girl disguised herself as her twin brother.  In the old play, romantic complications arose, and then the brother showed up.  The movie has only a younger brother (charming, though too desperately in search of sex).  Yet this girl must cope with something Shakespeare never thought of: high school gym class.

    Rather than admit she chose a boring topic, a student decides that her journalism article did not win an award because of her teacher's gender bias.  So she disguises herself as a boy, and resubmits it in another school, where it also gets rejected.  (The movie certainly makes fun of male sexist attitudes, but they can't be blamed for everything.)

    Meanwhile, the girl has to figure out what to do about gym class, and changing in the boys' locker room.  These were the days when students still took showers after gym class.  We only see boys above the waist or wearing jock straps—no actual male nudity on screen.  The girl does, however, bare her breasts at the end.

    (Eight years later, the producers tried reversing the situation in Just One of the Girls.  Though it included real locker room nudity—female this time—the male hero just wasn't convincing as a girl.  It flopped.)

    Today's examples show us why it is difficult to find movies about girls and innocent nudity.  In movie convention, pre-teen boys can skinny-dip, but to show a girl doing it would be too shocking.  Then at about age 14, the convention reverses: Female nudity becomes sexy and desirable, but frontal male nudity is just too shocking to show.  None of this makes much sense.  But that's the way most movies are.

Defective Detectives (Mar. 2016)

    Inept investigators have provided the humor for many a mystery movie.  And some people think that nakedness should be funny.  This time, we look at whodunits that involve nudity.  Unfortunately, none of them qualify as non-violent.  Few detective stories do.

For the whole family:

    The Nude Bomb (1980) was based on the Get Smart television series.  There are no children in this film, but the plot and the jokes are too dumb for words.  Ten-year-olds will love it.

    A mad scientist has developed a bomb that destroys only clothes, leaving people naked.  This possibility has the American president quaking.  World leaders wonder how they will be able to wage war if armies can't tell each other apart by their uniforms.  Actually, we only see some bare behinds and strategically placed briefcases and rifles.

    So they call in a blundering detective, surrounded by beautiful women and amazing gadgets.  He eventually saves the world from nudity.

    There are a few bad words, and a few jokes with double meanings that will pass right over the heads of the innocent.  The violence at the end is a spoof on all movie shoot-outs.  If it's any consolation, only clones die.  You may need to explain what cloning is, but the kids probably know more about that than you do.

For Teens and Older:

    If you want more sophisticated humor in a detective story that is beyond the experience of young people, take a look at A Shot in the Dark (1964).  It's part of the Pink Panther series, and has the bumbling Inspector Clouseau going undercover in a nudist resort.  Much of the plot revolves around marital fidelity (or lack thereof).  Other than the zany humor, there's not a lot to interest teens.

    Most teenagers would probably prefer to hone their skills of detection watching Wildthings (1998).  It's an edgy movie, not appropriate for younger children.  A rich Florida high school girl accuses her guidance counselor of rape.  He protests vigorously that he did nothing of the sort.  So who is telling the truth?  Or is the truth far more complicated than that?  I thought I had sort-of figured it out.  Then came lots of additional scenes during the end credits, and I realized I had gotten it all wrong.

    The detective also gets it partially wrong, and this time there is nothing funny about it.  They made two versions of this movie; you want the unrated (not R) version because it provides far more clues.  Just be aware that it has more sexy scenes too.

    In either version, we see some ordinary household nudity, as a man casually steps out of a shower.  A couple of girls also swim topfree, though one always keeps her back to the camera.  (The screenplay called for this girl of trashy background to reveal tattoos and body jewelry, but the producers accepted a no-nudity clause to get a well-known actress.  In contrast, the other actress refused to use a body double, playing her own semi-nude self wherever the script called for it.)  Both were in their mid-twenties, playing teenagers.

    Three so-called sequels have used different actors slogging through pretty much the same deceptive plot.  Don't waste your time or money on them.

    There are many mysteries in life greater than what lies beneath people's clothes.  I suppose one of them is how totally incompetent people manage to survive.  Another is how, despite facts, people can leap to such erroneous conclusions.  All is revealed in these enjoyable movies.

Turning Nude Stereotypes Upside-Down (May 2016)

    We've all encountered the misperceptions about nudists.  And we have grown rather tired of the coy ways nudity is almost-but-not-quite shown in the movies.  Let's look at two films that cleverly stand some of those conventions on their heads.

For the whole family:

    At last—a movie now playing in neighborhood theatres that deals with nudity and is fit for kids to watch.  That used to happen often in the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, but in the twenty-first century has become a rare event.  Disney's Zootopia (2016) works at different levels for people of all ages.  Kids will see an action-packed detective story.  Sophisticated adults will see parallels to glass ceilings, racism, and stereotyping.  But nobody will miss the sly references to nudity.

     The animals have formed a Utopia where they all get along.  But, as so often happens, the cartoon animals all wear clothes.  For no very good reason, the crime trail leads through what they call a "naturalist" park where a few animals wear nothing.  Imagine that—animals without clothes.  How shocking!  But that's where any understanding ends.  The film-makers fall back on old stereotypes by showing us a bunch of hairy animal butts in awkward positions.  This scene lasts only a couple of minutes; still, the point has been made that clothing is not always logical.

    The movie comes in 3-D and regular versions.  The few 3-D effects are not worth the price difference.  There is no home version yet.

    For a movie with absolutely no nude people in it, the mere mention of nudity gave this cartoon a PG rating.  Ignore that, and enjoy.

For teens and older:

    Flirting (1991) is a story of interracial dating in Australia.  A misfit intellectual boy and a sophisticated daughter of the Ugandan ambassador find each other in nearby private and oppressive schools.  The time is 1965—just before the Existential "shape your life by making your own choices" philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre hit the streets in the hippie movement.  He is reading Sartre; she has met the famous man.  When they have to disguise their names, they choose Camus, another Existential philosopher.

    We get a brief view of the boys' showers.  But instead of the usual cutsie waist-up view in most teen movies, we see the boys only from the waist down—and not all of them with their backs turned.  Later, there's a glimpse of her breast.

    Teenagers need to know something about the Idi Amin dictatorship in Uganda to understand the ending.

    Don't be confused by the cover art that emphasizes one of the supporting actresses.  This is a thoughtful and tender movie about a boy and a girl with depth of character, who gradually win the respect of their more traditional classmates.

    Actually, this movie is a sequel to The Year My Voice Broke (1987), about the boy's first crush.  That earlier film is good, but without nudity, and in a quite different mood.  Flirting can stand very well on its own.

    So yes, thoughtful references to nudity can and do show up in movies that young people can watch and understand.  The encouraging news is that it occasionally still happens today.

Three Great Native American Films (July 2016)

    This time, we examine three fine films about native Americans—and not a cowboy in sight.

For the whole family:

    Surprisingly few movies have been made about American Indian childhood.  Indian Paint (1965) is a good one, but it includes no nudity.  Let us instead look at one that does.

    For the warmth of native American family love, it's hard to beat Windwalker (1981).  A windwalker is the spirit of a person who has died.  In this case, the Great Spirit calls an old Cheyenne back from death to finish his task of finding his twin son, who had been stolen as a baby.  The movie should not be confused with the horror film, Wind Walkers, or with Windtalkers, about Navaho code messengers during World War II.

    No, this story happens during the 1700s, after the arrival on the plains of the white men's horses, but before the arrival of white men, themselves.  Instead, Cheyennes and Crows keep fighting each other.

    The costuming is completely inappropriate for the times.  We do see the little boys playing naked.  But their parents wear leather clothes to go swimming.  Women never covered their breasts during warm weather, until they had trouble with white settlers.  Here they wear the full-length dresses of the late 1800s.  The movie-going public get what they have become used to.

    Children may have a little difficulty following the plot because, at one point, the action keeps shifting between three different groups of people until they all come together.  Some phrases are spoken in Cheyenne and Crow with English subtitles, but most of the movie is in English.  Using native languages was such a new idea that the movie could not qualify for an Academy Award, for lack of a category; only foreign films had subtitles back then.  The American Anthropological Society has voted this the greatest anthropological movie of all time.

For teens and older:

    Dances with Wolves (1990) is a far grander film about a Civil War soldier who makes friends with a wolf and his Lakota Sioux neighbors.  He eventually marries into the tribe.

    The soldier of course bathes nude (though we see him only from the back).  But while the Indians camp along a river, we never see any of them swimming or bathing.  Three boys keep showing up where they shouldn't be, but they never strip down.  As in the earlier movie, the women all cover their breasts before they have had any contact with white women's dress styles.

    The tribesmen speak Siouan (with English subtitles).  We see everyone gradually learning each other's language.  And the theme music will stick in your head for weeks.

    This movie was immensely popular, and deservedly so.  Now that the disc is available, it seems like every thrift shop in America has about three copies of the tape version.

    If you take film seriously, you could also try Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001).  This Canadian movie re-enacts an important shift in Inuit history around 1200.  Sons of tribal leaders had a bad habit of murdering their fathers to gain power.  The hero came from a different family, and ended that tradition.

    It's not a movie to everybody's taste.  The plot jumps along slowly, and pale yellow subtitles against a background of ice and snow don't help a lot.  You will get lost if you don't first read about the legend and family relationships in Wikipedia.  Basically, the hero takes a second wife, the sister of his ruling enemies—and she betrays him to her murderous brothers.  He escapes naked from his bed (yes, Eskimos sleep unclothed), and is chased for miles across the ice.  Advertising on the case calls it erotic; we all know that nude running is nothing of the sort.  And the photography is honest—without shy camera angles trying to hide the nudity.

    Not as heart-warming as the other two, this long movie does not flinch from the tough realities of daily survival.  All three show us people centuries ago, living naturally in nature.

    With more languages and tribes than Europe ever had, the natives of North America cannot be understood by watching these three movies.  But it's not a bad place to begin.  Some other time, we will look at films about the lives of modern American Indians.

Growing Up Too Fast (Sept. 2016)

    This time, we look at movies about young people growing up too fast.  Adolescents go through many natural changes, and perhaps a few experiments.  But a youthful experiment must never be confused with a lifetime commitment.  That is why people should not marry too young, or declare their sexual orientation before they have finished growing.

    These three classic films have always been controversial, but they can teach us much.

For the whole family:

    Child Bride (1938) deals with some heavy stuff, including a couple of off-screen murders, and hooded thugs with torches.  Yet most movie critics say children should not watch it because the twelve-year-girl with beginning breasts goes skinny-dipping.  (It would be OK for a boy that age to swim nude, but not a girl.)  I am more concerned that parents be there during the scary scenes.

    The girl's well-meaning teacher has filled her head with a bunch of conventional nonsense about being too old to skinny-dip with boys, so she does it with a clothed boy watching.  That's supposed to be better.

    The movie is set in hillbilly country, where children sometimes married way too young—and not always to people their own age.  This will require some explanation beforehand.  You may or may not need to explain moonshining.  And you need to be there at the end to clarify who stopped the villain.

    It is a black-and-white film, only an hour long.  Because it was independently produced, it escaped the censorship of the Hays Code that was paralyzing Hollywood at the time.

For Teens and Older:

    More than thirty years later, the charming heroes of Friends (1971) are not the sort of role models that parents want for their children.  He is a 15-year-old, irresponsible, rich English boy living with his too-busy father in Paris.  She is a poor, newly-orphaned, 14-year-old French girl, sent to live with an uncaring relative.  These unappreciated young people find each other, and run away to the countryside, where they play house for a year.  Though both are bilingual, they speak English with each other.

    Their initial embarrassment on bathing in a washtub is amusing.  (We only see them from the back or above the waist.)  But they soon get over that timidness, and find themselves pregnant.  He has to take up menial jobs to support them, and learns responsibility for the first time in his life.  Yet their love never fades.  He is there to deliver the baby.

    The movie ends with the police about to nab him as a runaway.  In the hard-to-find sequel, Paul & Michelle (1974), we learn that his father packed him off to an exclusive high school in England, where he graduated with honors three years later.  Back in France and admitted as a student at the Sorbonne, he is determined to spend the summer looking for Michelle.  He eventually finds her and their daughter, but not the dream world where they once lived.  The grim reality of supporting a family sets in.  While they sleep nude and she no longer wears a bra, this sequel continues to avoid anything frontal below the waist.

    Friends has nothing to do with a later television series of the same name.
    Another excellent movie, You Are Not Alone (1978) takes place in a small private high school for slightly troubled boys.  There are a couple of natural shower scenes, but the boys swim and sleep in their underwear.  They also sport the long hairstyles of the '70s.  The movie is in Danish, with English subtitles—including a few blunt expressions.

    Until now, I have hesitated to recommend this movie because it hints at possible homosexual attraction.  But with transgendered students and their bathroom use now in the headlines, the public discussion has moved way beyond this.  It is true that two boys kiss at the end of the movie, but nothing more happens; the young 13-year-old hero is simply looking for the affection he is not finding at home.  That doesn't make him gay for the rest of his life.

    I would not want to take the responsibility of showing this movie to a young person going through confusion about who he or she is.  Self-confident teenagers of any leaning can handle it with ease.  Or if your family is already in the midst of coping with gender-identification issues, this movie could be a way to reopen some family discussion and understanding.

    But don't rush into these things.  All three movies warn us of the dangers of kids taking on adult burdens too soon.

The Tarzan Movies (Oct. 2016)

    More than 200 Tarzan movies have been made.  Mostly, the actors wear skimpy clothing; only four of those movies have famous nude scenes.

For the whole family:

    As early as 1918, Tarzan of the Apes showed the eleven-year-old boy growing up naturally in the jungle.  Most of the camera angles view him from the side, but there is a brief flash of frontal nudity.  Was there a public outcry?  Of course not.  People a century ago had much more sense about childhood nudity than they do today.

    We also see bare-breasted black women (local Louisiana extras), and the backsides of two men who go skinny-dipping so young Tarzan can steal their clothes.  Only when he discovers clothes, does the boy feel complete—an awful message.

    The movie skips the teen years, and we next see the hero as a very hefty man.

    Over the years, local censors cut out scenes of nudity, romance, violence, or racism.  Of the original two-hour movie, only 73 minutes are left.  This silent film set the standard for all those that would follow, and is still worth watching today.  Children must be old enough to read the captions.

For teens and older:

    In American movies, nude males are OK, but only before they reach age 14.  Nude females are more than OK, but only after they reach age 18.  This double standard makes no sense at all.  Yet we encounter both in the Tarzan films.

    Tarzan and His Mate (1934) included a nude Jane and loincloth-clad Tarzan in a long swim.  It was completed just before the Hays Code went into effect, but censors insisted that the nude scene be taken out before the film could be shown in theatres.  The censors won (though the cut footage has since been restored for the home versions).

    Yet it remains a violent movie.  The body count at the end runs to something like 1 elephant, 1 rhinoceros, 1 crocodile, 2 gorillas, 3 chimpanzees, 8 lions, and at least 52 people.  But no immoral nudity.  The censors smiled.  Despite this black-and-white movie's importance in film history and nudist history, I hesitate to recommend it for young people in their formative years.

    Half a century later, in 1981, the same formula of nude Jane and loincloth-clad Tarzan worked in Tarzan, the Ape Man.  Lots of Tarzan fans don't like this one because it focuses on Jane, and is not the typical shoot-em-up.  The two heroes provide eye-candy and not a lot more.

    Jane has come to Africa to meet her eccentric but foul-mouthed father.  Like him, she has no fear of adventure.  With welcome historical accuracy, Jane and the few native women frequently appear topfree.  Someone with nothing better to do has counted 38 breast exposures.  Take that for whatever it's worth.

    When Tarzan is not carrying off Jane, we see some shy boy-meets-girl scenes.  I find it refreshing that onscreen nudity does not lead to immediate passion.  Nude or nearly nude people are treated like people.

    Greystoke: the Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) is far the most thoughtful of these movies.  It returns to the original story of Tarzan's boyhood.  In fact, they used four nude boys to show Tarzan at all ages from infancy through the beginning of pubic hair.  Then he wears a loincloth.

    The last half of the story takes him to England to adjust and live with his grandfather.  But civilization proves more savage than the jungle, and the hero longs to return.  Jane (who always keeps her clothes on) accompanies him back to Africa, but stops short at the edge of the jungle.

    And so we have two movies with nude boys, and two with nude women—but never, ever a nude girl or man.  Next time we look at the female versions of Tarzan.

The Female Versions of Tarzan (Dec. 2016)

    A return to nature—that's what naturists dream of.  Yet with over 200 Tarzan films, I am aware of only two decent movies that star a female swinging from vine to vine.  That's 1%.  Hollywood has still not caught up with the nudist movement.

For the whole family:

    Movie theatres in Germany and Australia played Liane, Jungle Goddess (1956) as a children's matinee.  In the United States, it was labeled adults only.  As a curious teenager, I would have appreciated that movie when it came out, but of course I never heard of it until decades later.  It was dubbed into English in 1959.

    The 15-year-old German actress and lots of young African women live authentically topfree.  But no one ever removes a skimpy loincloth—even for swimming.  We see a few nude children from the back.  Disappointingly, much of the movie has the heroine clothed in Germany, but she returns to the freedom of Africa at the end.

    It's the typical story of a white baby orphaned in Africa, and raised by a tribe who think her white skin and blond hair are something special.  In the movies, such a person always grows up as the acknowldged tribal leader.  And in film, such a person usually has a wealthy grandfather eager to meet the missing person.

    With the movie's financial success, its German producers the next year threw together a sequel known in English as Jungle Girl and the Slaver.  By then, the actress was looking more like a woman than a girl, so they went for a burlesque look, with lots of desert scenes, writhing dances, and seashells glued over her nipples.  Ouch!  Though native women still go bare-breasted, the entire tribe—men and women—have suddenly switched to wearing shorts instead of loincloths.  A handsome young German even showers in his underwear.  A portfolio film called Liane, die Tochter des Dschungels (1961) combines some scenes from both movies.  Don't waste your time on either of these.

For teens and older:

    Sheena (1984) was based on a comic book series that started in 1937.  In 1956, there was a black-and-white television series (without nudity, of course).  Another late-night TV series followed in 2000-2002—with an occasional flash of flesh.

    In the movie, we again have a young blond woman swinging through the trees, the leader of a whole tribe.  Though she wears slightly more clothes than Liane, they are clothes designed to look sexy—as though half ripped off.  Teenage girls will admire her command of any situation.  Teenage boys (and their fathers) will admire her beauty.

    Twice we see the heroine nude for bathing.  Twice we see bare-breasted dancers.  And twice we see a nude man—though only from a long distance.  They used three actresses to play the heroine as she grew—but they skipped the teen years.

    Unlike the canned wildlife footage of Liane (which includes a South American toucan), Sheena was filmed entirely on location in Kenya.  Still, this is definitely a grade-B movie with a bunch of bad guys, and lots of things going up in flames.  The zebra the heroine rides is actually a painted horse.  Horses whinny; zebras bark—and this "zebra" clearly whinnies on a couple of occasions.  But oh, it's such good fun.

    Movie critics hate this production.  Generations of young and old viewers love it.

    Both discs come with sensational cover art and slogans, but are clean in content.  These two movies about young jungle women are every bit as entertaining as all the Tarzan films.

Art Films, Artists and Models (Jan. 2017)

    This time, we look at different approaches to art.  An art film is a series of images arranged to make people think.  We also consider movies about painters and their nude models.

For the whole family:

    Baraka (1998) has nothing to do with Barak Obama, and should not be confused with another movie called Boys of Baraka.  The word comes from Sufi mysticism, and means the flow of blessings from God to humans.  This is not a traditional movie with actors, plot, or even a narrative.  Rather, it is an experience the whole family can share.

    In this film, we see a wordless travelogue through 24 countries—a montage of images from the spectrum of the natural world and human activity (including a bit of tribal nudity).  Adults can connect the juxtaposed images, but will probably need to explain to small children the transition from Jewish worshipers to Islamic whirling dervishes, or the comparison of subway commuters to baby chickens being produced on an assembly line.

    If you're looking for an action-packed movie, this isn't it.  If you're open to a moving experience, you've come to the right place.  Just sit back and take it all in.

For teens and older:

    Lots of movies have been made about artists and their sometimes nude models.  Here are a couple that will especially appeal to teenagers:

    Art School Confidential (2006) begins as an exposé of the shallow types of people one can find in an art school (or any school, for that matter).  We see male and female models posing nude for the drawing class.  There are also several instances of crude language.  Don't let the cover art mislead you; this is no cartoon.

    Our 18-year-old hero can't seem to do anything right.  Finally, in desperation, he tries to pass off the work of another artist as his own.  That bit of plagiarism lands him in far deeper trouble than he ever imagined, and he finds himself in jail as a murder suspect.

    But in jail, he finally finds the peace to paint the girl of his dreams—and the celebrity that causes others to take his art seriously.  The movie is full of irony.

    Much earlier, Norman Lindsay was an Australian artist who filled his canvases with lots of female nudes.  In 1935, he also wrote a partly autobiographical novel called Age of Consent, about a middle-aged artist and the half-wild 17-year-old girl who models for him, bringing him fresh inspiration.  (In real life, he was still in his mid-twenties when they met; she took over as his business manager, and years later became his second wife.)

    In 1969, the book was made into a movie starring Helen Mirren in her first nude role.  (Be careful; other movies before and since have used this same title.)  They tried to update the film; it's a bit jarring to see Norman Lindsay painting in an abstract style that was the latest thing in 1969.  Once the action moves to a sparsely populated island, everything is much more consistent.

    The artist treats his model very professionally.  But, having been raised by an abusive grandmother, the girl is looking for a little bit of affection.

    This delightful movie was a big hit in Australia.  Yet for distribution to British and American theatres, the producers censored out most of the nude scenes.  They have been restored in the disc version.

    I should also mention that in Sirens (1993), a young Anglican priest and his wife visit the same Norman Lindsay's studio, where nude models cavort freely.  This is a few years into the second marriage, when the girl we met before has matured into a businesslike wife (with different color hair).  Instead, action centers on the minister's cold wife gradually losing her rigidity and growing more compassionate.  This is a sensuous story of love in marriage that probably interests adults more than teenagers.

    From their different perspectives, these fine films each explore the importance of the nude in art—a subject that never stops fascinating.

Home Sweet Home (Feb. 2017)

    Home can be an island of personal freedom.  Home is a place where you don't have to let ugliness in.  Home is usually a place you can come back to.  Let us look at three movies from three countries, about the meaning of home and home towns.

For the whole family:

    What is a nudist family to do when they loose their privacy?  Home (2008) takes us inside such a family in Switzerland.  With two teenage daughters and a younger son, they live in an isolated house next to a long-unfinished freeway.  While they stay clothed most of the time, it is refreshing to see ordinary household nudity at bath time and laundry time.  They have a lot of fun splashing water.

    This delightful world comes crashing down when the highway suddenly opens.  The defiant older daughter continues to sunbathe discretely in the yard.  The rest of the family pull together to protect the fragile mother, who does not want to leave the place where she has found happiness.  They try to wall themselves off from the outside world—to the point that they almost suffocate.  They are not even aware that they have also walled out the oldest daughter.

    Aside from a brief lapse into frustrated domestic violence and too much smoking, there is nothing in this film that small children could not watch.  But the decreasing happiness may not appeal to them.  The movie is in French with English subtitles that may go by too fast for slow readers.

    Finding a copy can be a bit challenging.  Because search engines have trouble isolating a single-word title, you may need to add the name of the lead actress: Isabelle Huppert.  But how many other movies are there about nudist families?  This one is worth the hunt.

For teens and older:

    For contrast, let us look at a movie about homeless people.  Greenhouse Effect (2005) is not about the environment, but a 13-year-old Russian street boy who sleeps in a warm greenhouse and showers at a car wash.  With hard work (and some sneakiness), he has managed rather well.  Then he meets an 18-year-old pregnant girl suddenly thrown on the streets.  He takes her in and tries to help.

    We see each of them showering separately.  Mostly, this is a movie about kindly people who help out in small ways.

    The movie is in Russian—including the buttons to find the English subtitles (which don't appear until after the militaristic previews).  Fortunately, my disc came with a sheet of easy English instructions.

    Unlike the other two movies, the American Doc Hollywood (1991) has no teenagers in it.  Yet the leading characters—all in their twenties—are still grappling with a concern of most young people: whether to shake off the dust of their home town and venture out into the larger world.  In this case, it's a small friendly southern town where everybody knows everybody else's business.  Some of the minor characters are full of delightful idiosyncracies.

    When the heroine steps out of the water after her skinny-dip, and finds the young doctor staring at her, she calmly informs him that she doesn't have anything he hasn't seen before.  (Actually, the cameras stay above the waist.)  After she has pulled on some clothes, she tells him he can blink now.

    The young doctor believes he has escaped his small-town roots and is headed for a well-paid career as a plastic surgeon in Hollywood.  But when he finally gets there, he sees what the place has done to another man from his same home town.  He needs to rethink.  This is a warm movie about the value of caring friends and of love.

    Home is where you make it.  Home is what you make it.  These three movies help us appreciate the many values of home.

Good Irish Movies 
(with some French roots)         (March 2017)

    Our movies this time are largely Irish, and all include the occasional nudity of boys.

For the whole family:

    French author Louis Pergaud wrote The War of the Buttons, a Novel of My Twelfth Year in 1912, to point out the childish stupidity of war.  He died in World War I.  In his book, boys from neighboring villages fight, and cut the buttons off the losers' clothes.  Then one group cleverly go into battle naked, so they have nothing to lose.  The book has been made into a movie five times.  The 1936 French film is not available today.

    The popular 1962 movie (directed by Yves Robert) contains a lot of social bite.  The fathers act worse than the boys, who can at least pause for moments of kindness.  Summing it up, one of the boys asks, "Do you think, when we're their age, we'll be as dumb as they are?"  Rarely translated into English, this early version can be watched in French on the Internet. 

    We see the nude boys from the back or at a great distance.  Only the youngest boy runs toward the camera, but he cups his genitals with his hand, as though ashamed.  When the movie played in Japan, posters featured him.  German posters clearly showed cartoon penises.  When was the last time you saw movie posters like these?

    Director John Roberts moved the 1994 version to Ireland, where everyone speaks English.  He left out the bad behavior of adults and added a helicopter rescue, but otherwise faithfully followed the same plot.  His boys are a little older, some with deep voices, and we see a little more nudity—though anything frontal is blurred in the sunlight.  The girls, however, do see, and check out the older boys approvingly.  (One French juvenile book illustration also shows the boys about 14, instead of 11, as written.)

    The best moments of this Irish movie occur when the opposing gang leaders gradually learn to respect each other.

    Then came two rival French versions in 2011—released within a week of each other.  Both disappoint.  Don't waste your time on The New War of the Buttons (directed by Christophe Barratier), where the boys charge in undershirts and underpants.  And though Yann Samuel's War of the Buttons claims the boys are nude, they run through a wheat field, so we never see them below the waist.  Directors in the twenty-first century are losing their nerve.  For English-speaking viewers, the 1994 Irish version remains the best.

For teens and older:

    Angela's Ashes is a sad film about growing up poor in an Irish city, where it constantly rains.  Yet the few moments of joy all seem to involve nudity.  We see boys' backsides on four occasions, and girls' breasts once.

    A Protestant man is married to a Catholic woman, who is bringing the children up Catholic.  Young people need to be aware of the long bitter religious history before watching this.  Though the title comes from the mother's hopes all turning to ashes, we follow the difficulties in the life of the oldest son.  Three actors play him at various ages.

    It's a long but gripping movie.  And it follows an actual autobiography.  Real people went through real suffering.  If you find the story too gray and depressing, cheer yourself up by watching War of the Buttons.

    Or you might try another autobiographical movie (made the same year) about growing up rich in Scotland.  My Life So Far is about a ten-year-old boy in an eccentric family.  In his grandfather's old books, he is stumbling onto fragments of sex education that he does not yet understand—and, in his innocence, the boy blurts out some things inappropriate for younger ears.  The two skinny-dip scenes seem too short, yet the humor throughout remains delightful.

    At some other date, we will discuss The Secret of Roan Inish.  But for now, these movies offer a wide enough variety to mark Saint Patrick's day.

Adam and Eve (April 2017)

    Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: It is an ideal to which jungle tribes and nudists come closer than anyone else.  Let us look at two movie versions of the Bible story:

For the whole family:

    The Creation (1988) is a 28-minute cartoon about three kids traveling back to the beginning of time.  Be aware that the Bible gives us two creation stories.  Scholars believe that the Bible originally began with Genesis, chapter 2, verse 4, the famous Adam and Eve tale.  But from the beginning, many people did not like that version—especially women and people who believe things should happen in a logical sequence.  And so the more scientific chapter 1 was added on at an early date.  The cartoon ignores that, and retells Genesis, chapters 2 and 3.

    The movie does allow for some scientific understanding when it shows the earth being formed by volcanic action and the moving of tectonic plates—but not when God creates plants before the sun.  (Genesis 1 corrected that, and also the notion that woman came as an afterthought.)  Both Bible versions missed the dinosaur age—and so some literalists claim that dinosaurs never existed.  To remedy that, the movie-makers threw in a dinosaur with all the fuzzy mammals (which scientists tell us appeared long after the giant reptiles went extinct.)  There are lots of other unbelievable movies about humans battling dinosaurs, so this one has plenty of company.

    We see Adam from the back, the side, or from the waist up.  Though we glimpse hints of Eve's breasts, her long hair always covers both nipples and her vagina.  We wouldn't want to shock the children into thinking that their ancestors had the same equipment they have.  This cartoon would pass muster with most fundamentalists, yet is informative for children of any religious background.

    It comes from a series of a dozen mostly Old Testament cartoons called The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible (which includes a fully clothed David fighting Goliath).

For teens and older:

    The Annunciation (1984) is a strange yet thought-provoking movie based on the story of Adam and Eve.  Like in a Sunday-school pageant, the actors are all children aged 8 to 12.  They represent a time when the whole world was young.  They speak their lines in a deadpan way (in Hungarian, with English subtitles).

    The plot follows a nineteenth-century play, The Tragedy of Man, by Imre Madach.  After they have left the garden, young Adam demands that young Lucifer keep his promise of the knowledge of good and evil.  It is a knowledge of the human foibles their descendants will commit down through history.  Lucifer leads Adam in a dream sequence through democracy run amok in ancient Athens, religion getting in the way of love in medieval Byzantium, persecution of scientists and Protestants and witches in Renaissance Prague, the bloodshed and betrayals of the French revolution, and life in the slums of Dickens' London.  Foibles indeed.  Adam asks, when will an individual break out of these repetitious circles, and ascend to something better?

    This is not an easy movie to watch; it requires some concentration.  And you still may not catch all of the historic references.  The movie quotes, for instance, lines by Shakespeare, William Blake and Emily Dickinson.  Small children would get bored with this intellectual activity.  On the other hand, prudes might feel alarm at naked children playing harmless adult roles—including words of affection that hold any family together.

    Young Adam and Eve are nude at the beginning of the film, and still sleep nude at the end—though we see them mostly above the waist.  There is nothing remarkable about Adam, but the few nude girls in movies are usually younger or older than this Eve.  To see a nude girl in the early stages of breast development is most rare.  Yet this is not an occasion for looking, but for learning.  This girl is all girls; this boy is all boys.

    Though occasionally reissued, the disc of this unusual movie is hard to find, and expensive.  The entire thing can be viewed on the Internet; just make sure you get one with English subtitles.  Since there are other movies with the same name, you may need to add the Hungarian title: Angyali Üdvözlet.

    We have not exhausted the subject of Adam and Eve in the movies, so will take it up again some other time.

Freedom from Religion (May 2017)

    Last month, we looked at Bible stories; now we give equal time to the other side.  We have all run into people who think of religion and nudity as opposites.  Of course, nudists of faith know better.  Yet the notion persists.  Today we examine movies about young non-believers who happen to enjoy a bit of skinny-dipping.  Most are teenage girls.

For the whole family:

    We are well into the twenty-first century, yet it is hard to find an American movie made since 2000 where teenagers are nude for any reason other than sex.  Some Things That Stay (2004) is a refreshing exception.

    Interestingly, the family are atheists, resisting the pressures of their Baptist neighbors.  (The religious girl uses bad language.)  The title comes from the fact that the family moves around a lot, and the oldest girl wants to put down roots somewhere.

    The box of my disc specifically states: "Not recommended for small children."  I suppose that is because the children of two families go skinny-dipping (though we see little more than their upper backs).  A menstrual period is vaguely mentioned, but that will pass right over the head of anyone too young to understand.

    The family learns to cope with sadness: the mother's long illness, and the recent death of their landlords' son.  But love holds them all together.  This movie has depth.

For teens and older:

    It should not be surprising that religious skepticism appears more often in movies appropriate for teens.  We have choices from several countries.

    The Other Side of Sunday (1996) follows the daughter of a strict Lutheran minister in Norway.  As she approaches her confirmation into church membership, she has a lot of religious doubts.  And she wonders what teen pleasures she has been missing.  She befriends a young widow in the church, who encourages her to loosen up a bit.  This is a spiritual journey, and skinny-dipping forms a natural part of that discovery.

    The story is set in the 1950s.  The characters speak Norwegian—with blue English subtitles.  As a portrayal of a religion that forgot about joy, this is a daring movie.

    Love Like Poison (2010) gives us a French girl having doubts about her confirmation into the Catholic church.  The young priest is an understanding friend of the family.  She is at the awkward age of 14: an innocent heart in a woman's body.  Her mother wisely advises her that beauty comes from carrying her body with pride.  The girl does bare her breasts a couple of times.

    She cares for her ailing and earthy grandfather, while missing her absent father.  A boy has a crush on her, but his voice has not yet deepened.  We see each of the characters going through changes.

    The film is directed by a woman young enough to still remember her teen feelings.  Not a lot happens; this is mostly a mood piece—but a good one.  The movie is in French, with English subtitles.  The DVD works only on a region-free player or an older computer.

    The Fool Killer (1965) is a black-and-white classic, set in the American south after the Civil War.  A 12-year-old runaway boy befriends several interesting characters, including a shell-shocked ex-soldier.  Unlike the girls in the other movies, this boy is gullible.  He falls for the legend of the fool-killer.  (O. Henry, Stephen Vincent Benet, and especially George Ade all wrote stories about this personage with the responsibility of thinning out the pompous and the hypocrites.)

    The boy also falls under the spell of a revivalist preacher.  When the self-righteous minister is murdered, the boy concludes that the fool-killer did it, and he suspects that his skeptical friend may actually be the fool-killer.  We never do find out.

    The skinny-dip scene is brief, but that is where the young veteran explains his deepest philosophy.  This rare film is available only on tape or the Internet.

    All four of these movies introduce us to good people who hold out for rationality over belief.  Yet skinny-dipping keeps an important place in each of their lives.

Learning About Columbus  (June 2017)

    Today, we look at a couple of documentary films about uncommon schools—plus a historical drama.  All three owe much to Christopher Columbus.

For the whole family:

    Western Lights: In the Wake of Christopher Columbus (1990) was a French television documentary about ten boys and their teachers whose floating classroom retraced one of the voyages of Columbus.  The series ran fifteen hours over as many weeks.  The home movie version has been edited down to just two hours.  It is refreshing to see a television program that includes a few short scenes of boys nude for bathing, diving, or sleeping (though thy edited out anything frontal).  The boys range in age from 10 to 15.

    The movie is certainly safe enough for the whole family, but young children may get bored.  They also have to be old enough to read the English subtitles, which go by rather quickly and include a couple of swear words.

    The boat is a floating schoolhouse—education at its best.  We see the boys learning hands-on geography, archaeology, biology, history—as well as practical skills like sailing, woodworking, baking, and filming a television documentary.

For teens and older:

    Two years later, several movies celebrated the 500th anniversary of Columbus' first voyage.  Christopher Columbus: the Discovery did it best.  Teenagers will appreciate the hero's mild flirtation with queen Isabella.  Near the end, we see native American women authentically bare-breasted.  Less authentically, they all seem to be about age 20.

    We tend to forget that Ferdinand and Isabella expelled the highly cultured Muslims and Jews from Spain the same year Columbus sailed.  That forms an important subplot in the movie.

    Yet absolutely no one believed the world was flat.  Washington Irving invented that story in the early nineteenth century.  Ancient Greeks had figured out the curvature and circumference of the earth, and scholars knew those calculations.  Columbus got hold of some faulty figures (where the man had forgotten to multiply by pi), and thought the world was only one-third its actual size—and therefore, he could sail to India in a couple of weeks.  No wonder no one believed him.  When Columbus finally reached America, he was lost, and never did figure it out.

    Another inaccuracy: The movie shows Columbus demonstrating how to stand an egg on end.  Actually, that was the architect, Brunelleschi, who built the dome of the Florence cathedral 70 years earlier.

    But back to education.  One of the Spanish traditions transported to the new world was bullfighting.  Some people think bullfighting is immoral.  Some people think nudity is immoral.  What happens when the two are combined?  Something beautiful, if the movie is Tu Solo (1984).

    It's called a docu-drama.  That means there's not much plot.  Mostly, the cameras follow a couple of teenage boys at a bullfighting school.  There are no actors—just the young students going about their daily learning and practice in the arena.

    One of the boys reads about a famous matador who once faced a bull nude.  So six of them sneak out at night to try the same by moonlight.  Those five minutes make a graceful ballet of man and nature—well worth sitting through the whole film.

    This movie is in Spanish, with English subtitles.  The title means "on your own"—the reality of matadors in the bullring.  We see the boys growing into that confidence and skill.

    Aside from a few bulls dying, there is nothing here that small children could not watch.  But I suspect most would get bored and wander away.  Teenagers will find much more to interest them.

    Award Films International has reissued this and Western Lights.  There don't seem to be used copies around of either one; you will have to pay full price for both.

    By the way, Summerhill School in England led the way in alternative education.  But the documentary, Summerhill at 70 disappoints with its too-brief nudity, daily trivialities, crude language and some weapons.  That rare documentary is available on the Internet for free.  Don't spend money on it.  Instead, enjoy these other three movies.

Loose Lips Sink Ships (July 2017)

    Loose lips sink ships: That was a U.S. slogan during World War II.  The Germans had their own less poetic version, that translates as "Shame on you, blabbermouth."  We won't look at any ships this time, but loose lips aplenty.  We see the misunderstandings that loose or deceptive talk can cause at any time.

For Little Kids:

    Normally, I would label this section "For the Whole Family."  But I doubt that many people over the age of 10 would find much of interest in these cartoons.

    If ever a children's story called for nudity, it is "The Emperor's New Clothes."  The tale had been around since medieval times.  Hans Christian Andersen added the detail of an innocent child being the first to see through everybody's pretensions.

    The one movie with live actors avoids anything nude.  Several cartoon versions have been made, but so far as I know, only two of them actually show rear nudity.  None show anything frontal.

    Michael Sporn's variation on the tale has almost everyone in medieval costume and speaking in rhyme.  It is paired with another Andersen story on a disc called The Emperor's New Clothes and Nightingale (1991).  The special features include an interesting look at cartoon-making from an adult perspective.

    Nadine Westcott's shorter version of 1989 sticks closer to the traditional story, and even has the emperor continuing to parade proudly after he knows he is nude.  Scholastic has put this on more than one disc, including The Emperor's New Clothes and More Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales (2005), as well as The Hans Christian Andersen Collection (2005).

    A funnier third version by Gareth Williams, The Emperor's New Clothes (2006) deserves honorable mention, though his cartoon only shows the fat emperor in silly frilly underpants.  But the spoken message is body-positive.  The prime minister explains, "The human body is a beautiful creation, and nothing to be ashamed of—even yours."  Reader's Digest has produced this one on a disc with simple learning exercises.

    Book illustrators have been equally squeamish.  And so it is refreshing to see Lidia Postma's award-winning 1975 cover design of the Dutch version of Andersen's tales.  By the way, the late INF president Bart Wijnberg wrote a whole article on book illustrations for "The Emperor's New Clothes" in the Canadian journal, Going Natural, 28.3 (Fall 2013).  pp. 16-19.

For teens and older:

    The Crucible (1996) is about the false accusations by teenage girls during the Salem witch trials.  Arthur Miller wrote the play while America was going through a similar wave of hysteria during the McCarthy hearings of the early 1950s.  But this time, people were being accused, on equally flimsy evidence, of being Communists.

    A crucible is a place where metals or ideas get tested by severe fires, and melted down to their essence.  The action in this historical drama focuses on one man trying to hold onto the truth and his own self-respect while the whole world around him is going crazy.

    The movie begins with some girls dancing in the woods around a love potion.  One girl strips naked.  (Surprisingly, the earlier French version of 1957 skipped that part.)  The nudity in the American version is so brief that this movie is commonly shown to high school classes after they have studied the play.

    And study it they should.  There is no evidence that we have seen the last of mass hysteria, or foolish decisions by the majority.  When talk becomes cheap and hurtful and deceptive, who will speak truth?  Who shall have the courage to say that the emperor has no clothes?

Some American Indian Curiosities  (Aug. 2017)

    This time, we look at unusual but delightful films about native Americans.

For the whole family:

    There is a curious little black-and-white grade-B Western called Revenge of the Virgins (1959).  It purports to portray the last of a California Indian tribe whose men have all been killed off.  The remaining women are quite accurately shown bare-breasted, for California natives wore little or nothing.  They try to protect their territory from greedy prospectors.  So far, so good.

    But the prancing maidens (all young and beautiful), their blond leader, and their dancing are laughably phony.  Still, the semi-nudity is innocent enough that the whole family could watch (if you don't mind bad guys getting an arrow in the back every few minutes).  Kids don't even need to know what a virgin is.

    As part of the general sloppiness, the guide identifies the women as Apaches—a large tribe that dressed in heavy leather outfits and never lived in California.  Pack donkeys disappear and reappear without explanation, and the narrator continues with the narration after he is killed off.  Definitely grade-B.

    Be aware that back in the fifties, any movie with nude or semi-nude individuals (including nudists) was called an exploitation film, because it exploited a niche market—not because the actors were mistreated.  Yet the movie does begin with racial stereotypes about "primitive" people.

    The movie lasts only an hour.  The trouble with short films is that they frequently get paired with less desirable things.  The most available pairing of this one is with another nudie-cutie film about native Americans that is better, but too sexy for young children.  (And the sensational cover art is totally misleading.)  Yet since the producers failed to even copyright this cheap production, Revenge of the Virgins is available by itself as a free download on the Internet.  Enjoy.

For teens and older:

    If you want to see another western shoot-'em-up with an American Indian woman skinny-dipping, Mackenna's Gold (1969) contains such a scene.

    But for much greater fun, let us look to Brazil and How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman (1971).  It tells the story of Hans Staden, an early German adventurer captured by naked Brazilian cannibals.  He tried to convince them he was one of their allies, the French.  Staden eventually returned to Germany, where he published his adventures with lots of illustrations.  He wrote:

    "They go naked, without any covering; neither do they pay more attention to exposing or concealing their shame than they do to showing their faces, and in this respect they were very innocent."  Though he went nude for nine months, Staden never grew into an early German naturist.

    Smallpox wiped out the Tupinamba tribe soon afterward.  No one else ever reported meeting cannibals in South America.  Were they the only ones, or did their diet make them especially vulnerable to the spread of human disease?  More likely the latter.

    There's lots of irony from the beginning of this film, as we watch the brutality of European settlers, while hearing their self-righteous reports.  The male and female natives are authentically nude.  But the lead actor is circumcised—something that only Jews and Muslims did before the twentieth century.

    The casting is unrealistic, with all of the naked women in their twenties.  We see no old people or children in this tribe.  (No wonder they went extinct.)

    The out-of-print disc has become prohibitively expensive, though a few copies of the older tape version can still be found.  The movie is now available for viewing on the Internet.

    A generation later, in 1999, the director's son tried his own version of the same adventure, called Hans Staden—There He Comes, Our Food Jumping.  I have never found this as a home video, but was able to download it from YouTube.  The son tried to be more historically accurate, so he took out the love story, had the hero speak German, and had him rescued.  There's still lots of tribal nudity, but the witty humor is gone.  We do see tribal elders and only three children, yet most of the women appear young and shapely.  Worst of all, the lead actor is again circumcised.  Both subtitled versions are worth watching, but the original remains the best.

    Note for adult readers: Birdwatchers (2008) is a beautifully filmed movie about the Guarani tribe in modern Brazil.  But one of its themes is teen suicide, so I do not recommend it for teen viewing.  It begins with nearly naked Indians collecting their money for amazing the tourists, then huddling back into their shabby clothes.  The tribe confront a farmer about taking back their land, yet love breaks out across all sorts of racial and age divisions, complicating the situation.  The movie is in Italian with English subtitles, viewable only on a multi-region player or a computer with free VLC Media Player.

    The other three movies contain plenty of genuine tribal nudity, offer some food for thought, and are great fun to watch.

Princes and Princesses  (Sept. 2017)

    This time, we examine four movies about princes, princesses, and mistaken royalty.

For the whole family:

    Romance with a Double Bass (1974) is a delightful 40-minute film based on a short story by Chekhov, and is set during his time in the late nineteenth century.  A fairy tale princess and a bumbling musician meet while skinny-dipping.  As frequently happens in the movies, someone steals their clothes.  Fortunately, he plays the double bass rather than the piccolo, so she can crawl inside the case and be smuggled back into the palace.

    That's where Chekhov ended the original story.  The movie greatly improves on it by adding a lot of palace intrigue and a fine ending.

    The cameramen seemed more than willing to film female nudity, but avoided any frontal male shots.  There are no children in this movie, yet it's good clean fun that the whole family can watch together.

For teens and older:

    Lady Jane (1986) is a fairly faithful biography of Lady Jane Grey, the teenager who became queen of England for a brief nine days in 1553.  Powerful relatives forced the studious girl into marriage with a worthless young nobleman.  To everyone's surprise, the couple found love and purpose in each other.  (At least that's the movie version.)

    We see them together in a couple of discreet nude and semi-nude scenes.  That helps to personalize their small parts in the sweep of larger historical events.  It also reassures us that the heroine was normal, despite the flat-chested fashion of English court dresses.  The grandeur of Renaissance costuming, music, and dance greatly enrich this film.

    But by no means, should this movie be confused with a recent short piece of religious propaganda called The Forgotten Martyr: Lady Jane Grey.

    Most of the action occurs during the brief reign of King Edward VI.  The same is true of The Prince and the Pauper (1977, also known as Crossed Swords)—an even better movie for the whole family, but without nudity.  Lady Jane Grey also appears in that film.

    The Student Prince (1998) is a British movie that should not be confused with the earlier American musical of the same name.  When the movie played on Masterpiece Theatre, they called it Prince of Hearts.  To appreciate its depth, you must first watch Cyrano de Bergerac (1990), which is another fine movie, but without nudity.  (It shows up as a play-within-the-play, but that is not enough; you must understand the earlier plot well before then.)

    When a fictitious fourth son of Queen Elizabeth II goes to Cambridge, a young bodyguard is assigned to share his room.  The uneducated guardian turns out to be much smarter than the prince.  We see him jump out of bed nude, and later the two of them and an American girl go skinny-dipping in the pool.  It's a good movie.

    The royalty is only imaginary in King of Hearts (1966).  During World War I, an abandoned French town is taken over by the inmates of the lunatic asylum.  (Such stories go back as far as Pierre Cardenal in medieval times.)  They manage rather well, and have fun doing it.  That is, until the soldiers show up and start killing each other.  People suddenly realize that war is the ultimate insanity, and obedient soldiers act more stupid and dangerous than the gentle lunatics.  They rush back into the safety of the asylum, discarding those items of clothing that briefly marked their worldly positions.

    The inept hero is mistaken for the long-awaited King of Hearts.  At the end, he discards his entire uniform, arriving naked at the gate of the asylum—the nudity his sure ticket to admittance.

    This film alternates between French, English, and German languages, but has been released several times with the English subtitles varying from minimal (as in my copy) to overdone.  Make no mistake about it; this is a delightful anti-war movie, in the tradition of The Mouse that Roared.  So popular was it, that one theatre held it over for five years—playing it through most of the Vietnam War.

    Each of these four films about royalty have something to teach us, and are fun to watch.

Movies for Halloween  (Oct. 2017)

    This time, we have three movies to watch for Halloween.  All include nudity, but none of them are scary.  They won't give you nightmares.

For the whole family:

    Soup and Me (1978) was a 23-minute children's television episode in the ABC Weekend Special series.  Among other funny Halloween events, two mischievous boys go skinny-dipping.  As frequently happens in the movies, a girl comes by.  But instead of stealing their clothes, she throws them in the water where the boys can't find them.  Because this is television, we only see bare backsides through tall grass.

    The plot follows one of a series of 14 humorous children's books written by Robert Newton Peck about growing up in 1930s Vermont.  (The movie version updates the cars and such to the 1950s.)  But the producers spent some money getting a talented and funny character actress to play the dignified mail lady.  She gives the film class.

    The program was never issued as a home movie, but is frequently rerun, and can sometimes be viewed or downloaded from the Internet.  There, you may also find a shorter film of the same name featuring two girls acting out a different episode before an audience.  That's not it.  Soup for President (1978) does continue these same boys' misadventures, though the sequel includes no nudity.

For teens and older:

    Weird Science (1985) is another high-school-nerd-gets-the-girl film.  This time, there's a pathetic pair of them.  An old Frankenstein movie gives them an idea, so they hack their way into powerful computers to create a 23-year-old super woman.  She quickly sizes up the situation, and sets about putting them through their wildest fantasies, but also some challenges that will give them enough backbone to interest girls their own age.

    This does not happen on Halloween, but we see plenty of electrical charges and spooky happenings.  Unfortunately, the tough guys fit into worst-nightmare stereotypes, including racial.  There is a bit of crude teen language, and also a lot of house-wrecking—which gets undone when the clock is turned back.

    The two nude scenes are brief, non-sexual, and not very revealing.  Yet one of them is pretty funny when an obnoxious naked man hands his towel to his skimpily clad brother and tells him to cover up.  There is some wishful talk about sex, but in these boys' lives, nothing actually happens.  They even shower in their bluejeans.  It's mostly good clean fun.

    Now to something more questionable:  Two of the three Porky's movies deserve their bad reputation for focusing on a sleazy strip club.  But the producers disappointed their fans by failing to deliver the expected raunchiness in Porky's II: The Next Day (1983).  They tried though.  Opening credits show a few scenes from the first movie.  Then you have to sit through half-an-hour of juvenile sex jokes (typically all big talk) before you get to the good part: the minister and high school principal outquoting each other with eyebrow-raising lines from Shakespeare and the Bible.  It is an absolutely classic scene, reminiscent of William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow at the famous "monkey" trial, and worth the wait.

    This film is mostly a disconnected series of gags, including a snake-in-the-toilet scene and a silly haunted cemetery episode (with nudity).  Then the movie begins to take on serious challenges.  The young rednecks surprise everyone by making a stand for Shakespeare and racial justice.  (The Ku Klux Klan objects to a Seminole Indian student playing Romeo to a white Juliette.)  By the time they are done, our high school heroes have the whole Klan stripped naked and exposed.  Weasely politicians get their comeuppance too.  Yes, there are bad parts to this movie, but I think the good parts outweigh them; everyone may not agree.

    Incidentally, the final scene happens in a fancy Miami restaurant with indoor pool.  South Florida Free Beaches once had that section screened off for skinny-dipping during a banquet after a major symposium on non-sexual nudity.  I was there.

    And so we have a very wide range of choices for Halloween viewing.  Take your pick.

Star-Crossed Lovers  (Nov. 2017)

    Romeo and Juliet were not the only young people from enemy families to fall in love.  Today, we look at two magnificent movies (plus a funny little film) from other European countries.

For the whole family:

    Ronja Rövardotter (1984) has to be one of the great family movies of all time.  It relates a Swedish tale about medieval robber-barons who live in a world of gnomes and harpies.  The two young heroes were born on the same night that lightning split the castle in half.  The kids happen to meet at age 11, and form a brother-sister friendship that carries them through many adventures over the next two years.

    The plot faithfully follows Astrid Lindgren's popular children's book, widely available as Ronia, the Robber's Daughter.  The movie has been translated into 39 languages—three times with English subtitles.  The first time, they changed all the names.  The newly released third version has disappointed everybody but prudes, by censoring out all of the nude scenes.  You want the rare second English subtitled version, available only at cvmc.net ($10 to rent, $30 to buy).  Don't just rely on the picture; other regions, other lengths, and other languages all use the same cover art.

    Be warned that the young heroine has a hot temper, and frequently uses unladylike language.  (The book translator cleaned it up; the movie translator did not.)  Hers is the strongest personality in their world.

    She comes by it naturally.  Her mother, at one point, throws all of the men out of the castle to bathe in the snow.  Lots of shrunken male frontal nudity there.  In the book, rival robber chiefs wrestle for supremacy, wearing nothing but their shirts; they don't strip down in the movie.  In both formats, the two kids enjoy frequent skinny-dipping.  (Don't waste your time on the Japanese cartoon version, where the heroine swims in a gown and the boy wears shorts.)

    The mostly-male choral singing is magnificent.  The movie begins with childbirth, and contains the death of an old man.  The tale ends happily while the heroes are still children.

    The movie was later made into a 6-part television series, which they stretched out with 18 minutes of rejected footage not included in the movie.  Reportedly, there was no difference of skinny-dipping time, while the snow-bathing scene actually lasted longer in the short version.

    There is no such thing as a used copy available, because no one ever gets rid of this movie.  It's that good.

For teens and older:

    Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1965) tells an old Ukranian story about children of rival families who fall in love.  Their childhood play includes long and glorious skinny-dips.  But before they can marry, she dies, and his life falls apart.

    Though he eventually does marry, his mind remains on his first sweetheart.  To win his affection, his wife resorts to a nude witchcraft ritual—but then she falls under a sorcerer's spell and grows unfaithful.

    You may not understand everything the first time through, but you know you have experienced something powerful.  The plot is rich in ritual—mostly of the Eastern Orthodox religion.  Innovative camera angles make the film visually stunning—along with sonorous blasts of music from the trembitas, smaller Ukranian versions of the alpenhorns.

    Everyone speaks Ukranian, with easy-to-read English subtitles.  (The Soviet Union banned this movie—not just for the religious emphasis—but especially because the patriotic director refused to put it in Russian.)

    This film has also been distributed under the less appropriate name, Wild Horses of Fire.

    On a much lesser scale, the Belgian Jambon d'Ardenne (1977) is also known as Ham and Chips.  Everyone speaks French, with English subtitles.

    Two mothers are waging war.  One owns a chaotic but successful restaurant; the other runs a little French-fry trailer across the street.  (The subtitles use the British term, chips.)  If you like messy food fights, this is your movie.

    Their 14-year-old children are far more interested in each other than in their mothers' businesses.  There is a charming scene of the nude boy and girl chasing each other through the fields after a skinny-dip.  (In Europe, the DVD was sold with a montage of the nude chase on the back of the case.)

    Not a whole lot more happens.  That's why everyone was surprised when this delightful little film became a box office success.  Though sometimes scarce or overpriced, you can find a reasonable copy at www.doktorfroyd.com.

    We cannot be reminded too many times that young people and love can break through old hatreds.  These three movies do it well.

Survival in the Wilderness (Dec. 2017)

    One of these films has a Christmas connection; the others do not.  Three of the four are boys' coming-of-age stories.

For the whole family:

    My Side of the Mountain (1969) relates the adventures of a teenage boy who decides to live in the wilderness.  It was based on a book frequently studied in schools.  Film makers reduced his age from 15 to 13, and they moved the story from Delhi, NY to Quebec.  Most importantly, they added a thoughtful dimension with the boy's knowledge of the writings of Henry David Thoreau.  This raises the story far above most other kid adventure movies.

    Among his accomplishments, the boy catches and trains a peregrine falcon as a hunting hawk.  The film people seemed to think the plot needed several dramatic conflicts not in the book.  And they changed the ending: he admits defeat at Christmastime and goes back home.  In the book, he survives the winter, and his understanding family come to join him so he can teach the self-reliance he has learned to his younger brothers.  I like that original ending better.

    The book briefly mentions that the boy took off all of his clothes for daily bathing and swimming in the pond.  The movie keeps him below the surface, or at such a great distance that we see very little.  But it does establish that he swam nude.

For Teens and Older:

    If you can't get enough about survival in the Canadian wilderness, you could try the less interesting A Cry in the Wild (1990).  It is based on a book called Hatchet.  This boy is supposedly also 13, but much less emotionally mature—all the more noticeable because they used a 16-year-old actor for the part.  And he keeps flashing back to unresolved family problems back home.

    He too skinny-dips at a great distance (then puts on long-sleeved shirt and long pants for a close shot of more dangerous swimming).  Even with a plane crash and a bear attack for excitement, this movie does not measure up to the others mentioned here.  And the sequel about white wolves contains no nudity.  Don't get confused by some horror movies with similar titles.

    Captain Fantastic (2016) is a surprisingly recent movie about a whole family of survivalists living in the forests of the American northwest.  Unlike most survivalists in that part of the country, their politics are left-wing, rather than right-wing.  The parents are home-schooling their six children, putting them through rugged mental and physical exercises.

    About the only rule at their house is "clothes on when we eat."  It's a stupid rule, and the younger kids push its boundaries.  We see three brief instances of innocent nudity—quite rare in 21st-century movies.  That and a few "f" words earned this film an R rating, but it is perfectly safe for teenagers.  The hunting scene and the mother's reported suicide are too intense for small children.

    The family's idealistic bubble gets burst when they have to travel to the city for the mother's funeral.  The children are not prepared for fat people, junk food, or inane video games.  Disapproving relatives try to take the children away.  The family sticks together, but they do have to make some disappointing compromises.  This is a good movie about serious family concerns.

    Surviving in the urban jungle can indeed be more difficult than surviving in the wilderness.  Kes (1969) is an English film about a poor boy growing up in the city.  Though 15, he is a late maturer, so the other boys bully him.  So do his older brother and his teachers.  Then he finds and trains a kestrel as a hunting hawk—winning some respect.  (By coincidence, this film was released just two months before the similar episode in My Side of the Mountain.)

    One scene happens in the boys' shower room, where we get brief glimpses of mostly rear nudity.  Though it includes a classic funny soccer game, much of this movie is grim.  Still, the British Film Institute has named it one of the ten best British movies of the 20th century.

    Everyone talks too fast—especially in the black-and-white tape version.  This is not the queen's English.  I sure wish this British movie had English subtitles, so I could understand more of the lower-class pronunciation.  The disc is in color, but can only be viewed on an international player or your computer.  My copy looks bootlegged, with the edges clipped off (including some heads).  Watching it is a bit of a struggle, but worth the effort.

    And so we have four films about survival, and man's place in nature.  All of them include some natural nudity.  Many libraries loan out the first three.  If your library doesn't, you can easily get them through Interlibrary Loan.

Moving Back and Forth in Time (Jan. 2018)

    The beginning of a new year is a good time to think about past and future.  We look at three movies that do just that.

For the whole family:

    In Now and Then (1995), three career women and a housewife relive the summer when they were all 12 and best friends.  You may want to run the opening credits twice to sort out who everybody is when young and older.  Otherwise the movie makes no sense.  Little red-haired Chrissy is now a pregnant housewife.  Conveniently, Roberta, the black-haired rational tomboy, is now a doctor.  Blond Teeny returns home as a movie star.  And superstitious brown-haired Samantha is now a writer.  She narrates the movie.

    As often happens in the movies, the boys skinny-dip, and the girls steal their clothes.  Yet when the girls jumped into the water earlier, they kept ALL of their street clothes on—even shoes.  It's the old double standard.

    In their unguarded moments, the girls occasionally throw in a rough word or two.  There is some talk about sex, but it's mostly by twelve-year-old girls worried about breast size.  There's also a birth.

    This is a movie about girls growing up and growing wiser.  And in their maturity, they come to appreciate more deeply their long friendship.

For teens and older:

    Glen and Randa (1970) is a strange and thoughtful movie.  It begins in a Garden of Eden with two nude teenagers.  It's a timeless scene—except for that car up in the tree.  We quickly realize this is not a movie about the past, but about the future: 20 years after the United States was bombed back into the stone age.

    Our teen heroes have seen only hints of that lost civilization.  Glen is interested in learning more.  The few people who remain don't talk much, reduced to wandering as foraging bands, surviving on the canned foods they find in empty houses.  But they do think it necessary to wear clothes.

    Then a fast-talking showman arrives, his jabbering about Times Square as pointless as the blender and other gizmos he brings.  We realize how meaningless the trappings of civilization are.  But this inspires Glen to travel in search of a city.  Pregnant Randa tags along.

    They eventually reach the Idaho seashore.  (Washington and Oregon no longer exist.)  They meet a friendly old man, and encounter other now-useless things such as a television set.  It's a movie to make you think.

    In Planet of the Apes (1968), the spaceship has two clocks—one for earth time, and one for human travel at the speed of light.  It takes us 2,000 years into the future, after people have pretty much destroyed the earth.  Again, humans are reduced back to cave-men, while apes have evolved into the dominant species.

    This was not a totally new idea.  For 240 years, people had been reading the fourth book of Gulliver's Travels, where humans had degenerated into yahoos, and horses showed far more intelligence.  (And in their intelligence, they saw no use for clothes.)  The apes of the future do wear clothes.

    When the astronauts land, one of the first things they do is go skinny-dipping.  Later, the hero must stand nude in court.  Though the cameras avoid anything frontal, and whether you think of Charlton Heston as Moses or the head of the National Rifle Association, it's ironic to see him standing there nude.

    The movie was made a year before astronauts traveled to the moon, so I suppose the film-makers can be forgiven for thinking people can smoke a cigar on a spaceship.  The hardest part to believe is that the English language has not changed at all in 2,000 years.  But I suppose that is no more far-fetched than to hear Moses speaking English thousands of years before it was invented.  We have grown used to these conventions.

    The only teenager in the movie is a clothed ape, but he has all the refreshing teen impatience and skepticism.  The apes' religious myths also have a familiar ring.

    Avoid all nine sequels and the 2001 remake.  All contain lots of violence, but no nudity.  Thus they are "moral" and officially approved for young viewing.

    Back and forth in time we move with these three movies.  And we may even learn something along the way.

Timeless Stories from Ancient Greece (Feb. 2018)

    Nude men and boys strolled everywhere in ancient Greece.  But you would never know that from watching the movies.  I am not aware of any film that shows nude Greek athletes—even documentaries about the Olympics. 

    Tallahassee Naturally has pieced together a home movie of the modern authentically nude College Greek Athletic Meet, but that is not for sale.  The whole family can watch it only at the American Nudist Research Library.

    Spartan boys wore no clothing most of the time from age 7 through 17, and Spartan girls regularly served as nude waitresses at banquets.  You won't see those things in the movies either.

For the whole family:

    Clash of the Titans (1981) tells the story of Perseus—how he had to tame the winged horse Pegasus, and kill the snaky-haired Medusa, so ugly her face could turn anyone to stone.  With it, he saved princess Andromeda from a sea monster.

    This movie contains three very brief nude scenes—hardly worth mentioning, except that one is a nude woman breast-feeding her child.  Though it contains monsters and violence, that is to be expected in Greek mythology.  The whole family could watch this.

    The ugly 2010 remake is nothing but continuous mayhem—yet everybody keeps all their clothes on.  Save yourself some nightmares, and don't let that one into your house.

For teens and older:

    For lack of anything more authentic, I hesitantly recommend Young Aphrodites (1963).  It is loosely based on the ancient teen love story, Daphnis and Chloe.

    During a drought, shepherds come down from the hills to a coastal village when the menfolk are gone on a fishing expedition.  We follow two couples: the tender heroes in their early teens, and an experienced pair in their twenties.  The young boy is ready to make a serious commitment to the girl; she is not so sure what she wants.  And another shepherd boy, about a year older, lurks in the background.

    But the costuming is weird.  Though we occasionally catch a side glimpse of a breast, everyone wears modern underpants under their Greek outfits.  Some of the men wear Greek leggings that would not become traditional for another 2,000 years.

    In the book, the girl watches her childhood playmate bathing, and decides he is beginning to look like husband material.  That scene has troubled modern book illustrators; sometimes they reverse it, and have him watching the girl bathe.  In the movie, he bathes in his sheepskin robe, if you can believe that.  The film avoids any male nudity—quite unlike ancient Greece.

    The movie is black-and-white.  The plot unfolds slowly and beautifully in the harshness of the rocky seashore.  The characters say little, and they say it in Greek; the English subtitles don't stay up long enough, but that hardly matters.

    There are two discreet sex scenes.

    For greater authenticity, let me point out two ancient Greek tragedies by Euripides.  They make us feel the horror of the first and last deaths in the Trojan War.  We start with Iphigenia (1977).  For a successful war, the gods demand that king Agamemnon sacrifice his oldest daughter.  This is heavy stuff, for, unlike the story of Abraham and Isaac, this one does not have a happy ending.  But it certainly is powerful.

    Twice (for only a second or two each time), we catch glances of nude men—from the side, never the front.  This movie also is in Greek, with English subtitles.

    Following ten years of bloodshed, The Trojan Women (1971) is Euripides' play about the aftermath of the Trojan War—complete with Greek chorus. 

    The surviving women wait to be divvied up as slaves.  One by one, we see the fates of old queen Hecuba; her daughter, the prophetess Cassandra; her daughter-in-law Andromache (widow of Hector); her hated daughter-in-law Helen; and her doomed little grandson Astyanax.  This is not something you watch for fun, but its anti-war message is as somber and powerful as ever.  Katherine Hepburn and other strong actresses leave a lasting impression.

    And we do catch partial glimpses of Helen of Troy stripped for bathing.

    Be aware that another Euripides play, Medea (1969) shows three young boys nude—mostly for bathing.  But this famous murdering mother's story is hardly one whose family values I can recommend.  Much of that movie is brutal, boring, confusing, or all three.  Watch the others, instead.

Tales from the Islands (Mar. 2018)

    This time, we consider three movies about isolated islands with some nudity.

For the whole family:

    In time for St. Patrick's Day, we have a great Irish film, The Secret of Roan Inish (1994).  The name means "seal island," where people and seals have looked after each other for generations.  (Actually, there are no seals in this movie; they're all more easily trained sea lions.)  Legend says an island ancestress was a selkie, who could alternate between human and seal forms.

    When people abandon the island, a baby boy drifts out to sea, and is raised by seals until the people return.  He never wears clothes.  In a flashback to another ancestor, a young man is stripped of his wet clothes, but we see nothing revealing.

    There's a lot of fine Irish storytelling.  If you have trouble understanding the Irish brogue, English subtitles are available, though not really necessary.  This is a good family movie.

For teens and older:

    The Wicker Man (1973) takes us to an island off the coast of Scotland, where people still practice the pre-Christian pagan religion.  Some religions feel comfortable accepting sexuality as a healthy part of life; others struggle against it.  Christianity tends to fall in the second group.

    An uptight police sergeant visits the island to investigate the rumor of a missing child.  No one seems to coöperate.  He is appalled to see naked teenage girls dancing in a Stonehenge-like stone circle, and leaping over a small fire.  "But they are naked." he exclaims.  "Naturally," he is told.  "It's much too dangerous to jump through the fire with their clothes on."

    He also spies on a more voluptuous girl doing a nude dance in the privacy of her bedroom.  The cameramen are careful to never show pubic hair.

    The policeman fears that the traditional May Day celebration (complete with maypole) may go so far as to include an ancient human sacrifice.  We see a huge wooden human figure to be set alight during a burning man ceremony.  (We are used to nudity being acceptable at modern burning man re-enactments.)  A real twist comes at the end.  You won't easily forget this movie.

    The music sounds authentically ancient, and some of the tavern songs have lusty lyrics.  No real surprise there, but the rigid sergeant feels uncomfortable about them.

    There are three versions of this film—some with most of the nudity censored out.  The longer ones are best.  When searching, pay close attention to the lengths:
1:42  Original (1973—rare)
1:24  Theatrical version (1974)
1:34  Director's cut (1977)
If they won't tell you how long it is, don't buy it.  Don't go by the advertised date, because sometimes that is just the date of DVD manufacture.

    Beware, the ugly remake of 2006 contains no nudity at all.  (It also lasts an hour and 42 minutes.)  To get the right one, you want a version with Edward Woodward in the leading role.

    Half a world away, Rapa Nui (1994) tells the story of Easter Island, where Polynesians lived off the coast of South America.  There, the long-eared people held the short-eared people in slavery—until they finally revolted.  The chief's grandson and a slave boy and a slave girl had been best of childhood friends.  When they grow up, the two men love the same woman, and must fight it out in a rigorous annual egg-hunting contest.

    The movie is mostly about strong men in thong loincloths, as they carve the famous stone heads.  The few visible women live authentically bare-breasted, but no one ever gets totally nude.

    In this sweeping epic, we also see how foolish religious policies destroyed the environment—stripping the island of its trees.  It can happen.  It did happen.  Except for the personal lives, this is history.

    Islands can be narrow enclosed societies.  Islands can also offer whole alternate ways of looking at life.  Watching these movies can open new worlds and make us more understanding.

Movies with Islamic-Inspired Nudes (Apr. 2018)

    Female nudes have long held a small place of honor in Islamic art and literature.  Paradise is traditionally described as a harem of willing naked females.  Male nudes are a touchier subject.

    This time we look at two movies from Tunisia, by a director you never heard of: Ferid Boughedir.  (Don't fall for the salacious advertising on both boxes; they're safe enough.)  We also look at a Philippine film by Kidlat Tahimik.

For the whole family:

    Halfaouine: Boy of the Terraces (1990) stars the director's 13-year-old nephew in his only movie role.  The boy is getting too old to attend the women's baths—partly because he is beginning to notice women's bodies.  At the same time, the family prepares to celebrate his little brother's circumcision.  That's about all of the plot.  But the film gives a detailed slice of Arab city life.  And it fulfills that centuries-old male wish: a lengthy look inside the women's bath.  We see some bare breasts, but the women go to ridiculous lengths to hide their pubic areas.  We do not see the men's baths.

    Small children will be bored to death.  But as they approach the boy's age—say 10 and up—they will take a keen interest.

    The movie is in Arabic with English subtitles.  You will probably need to explain that in conservative Arab cultures, women dance with women, and men dance with men.  For them to mix would be scandalous.

For teens and older:

    An easy air of religious harmony flourished in Tunisia until 1967.  A Summer in La Goulette (1996) takes us back to that last golden summer, where we see three 17-year-old girls—one Islamic, one Jewish, one Christian.  They live next door to each other and are best of friends, just as their fathers grew up together before them.  It's like Moorish Spain must have been.

    This harmony gets tested when the girls choose boyfriends of different faiths than their families.  The girls talk about losing their virginity, but nothing happens. The landlord is an old holy man who feels tempted when he twice sees a girl naked, but again nothing improper happens.

    On first viewing, it's hard to sort out the families.  The fathers are easiest: the Muslim has a moustache and conducts a train.  The Catholic has grayed early.  The Jew is heavy, and his older daughter is getting married.  (He should not be confused with the even fatter cafe owner.)   The girls' younger brothers all run in a pack.  The girls' boyfriends run in an older pack.  Families in this movie speak French, Arabic, and some Italian—all with English subtitles.

    What do movies from Tunisia and the Philippines have in common?  Like the first one, Perfumed Nightmare (1977) includes a circumcision scene.

    Muslims brought the practice to the Philippines long before the Catholics arrived, and the church has never been able to stamp it out.  Jews and Muslims cut off a boy's foreskin (in the Philippines at age 10-12) as a religious badge.  Christians have never subscribed to that idea.  An exception occurred in the 20th-century United States, where doctors pushed infant circumcision as a way to prevent the spread of venereal diseases.  We can see how effective that was.  Europeans never believed the quackery, and left their sons intact.

    With quiet wit, the movie questions a lot of American ideals, but not this one.  The hero grows up in a traditional Philippine village during the American occupation, and he is totally ga-ga about Western progress.  He wants to be an astronaut.  (Modern teens will have no idea who Werner von Braun was, unless you explain it to them beforehand.)

    Finally, our hero gets to Paris, and sees how a modern supermarket displaces the friendly market vendors.  He begins to question the value of progress.  It's a good thoughtful movie.

    Long out of print, this full-color film has recently been made available on Amazon to rent or "purchase."  A word of caution: If you buy online viewing privileges from Amazon, all you own is the right to watch it for as long as they choose to make it available.  They have been known to discontinue movies after people have supposedly bought them.

    Here are three top-quality movies from other parts of the world—all with some Islamic customs.  Be careful though; you may find yourself growing in thoughtfulness and understanding.

By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea (May 2018)

    There exist a very few movies about visiting a nudist resort.  Good movies about free beaches are even rarer.  Occasionally, a movie will include a brief nude beach scene, but this time, we look at movies that happen entirely at the seashore.

For the whole family:

    The Girl and the Echo (1965) comes from Lithuania, when it was part of the Soviet Union.  The people speak Russian, with English subtitles.  Actually, there is not much talking.  This is truly a naturist film, with about half of it an appreciation of the sea and the rocky crags.

    Unfortunately, it is also a bit sexist.  The girl with beginning breasts feels at home in nature, and swims nude.  All of the boys and her father swim in their underwear.  She speaks with nature, and nature answers back with magical echoes bouncing off the huge rocks.

    A new boy is looking for friends.  When forced to choose between her and a gang of tough boys, he makes the wrong choice—losing everyone's respect.

    This slow-paced hour-long black-and-white movie is fine for the whole family.  Long a naturist classic, it has been impossible to find the last few years.  Now a region-free version has become available on eBay.

For teens and older:

    Exchange Lifeguards (1992) is a harmless bit of fluff about young adults on an Australian beach with a nude section.  Yet everyone is artificially posed to expose only butts and breasts.  That seems particularly odd, since the hero, Christopher Atkins, had already appeared fully nude in The Blue Lagoon.

    Still, American distributors didn't think this movie had enough advertizing pizzaz, so they changed the title to Wet and Wild Summer! (with exclamation point) and put a sexy woman in a skimpy swimsuit on the cover.  (They put the man in a baggy suit that no serious lifeguard would ever wear on duty.)  Though the movie remained the same, no manufacturer has found either title worth putting on DVD, so you will have to watch this one on videotape or online.

    The plot revolves around American developers trying to take over.  The original cover blurb described it as a place "where the dogs ride surfboards and the sharks wear business suits."  The developer's son goes undercover as a lifeguard, but soon comes to realize that the beach community is precious and needs to be saved.  With bad guys getting ugly, and really rugged races on a treacherous surf, there's enough action that teenagers can enjoy it.  In the end, love triumphs over greed.

    Be aware of a more realistic movie filmed entirely at another Australian clothing-optional swimming spot: Maslin Beach of 1997.  But it deals mostly with relationship problems of adults.  As people come and go, most of them place too much emphasis on sex.  Yes, we see casually nude male and female bodies without artificial posing, but if you are looking for a true naturist movie, this isn't it.

    Then there is an 11-minute British film called Nudist Beach (2011).  A man and a woman in their twenties meet at a deserted nude beach on a cold windy day.  They waste ten minutes talking each other into it, and then confuse nudity with romance.  They embrace instead of going into the cold water.  The low-key British humor is supposed to be funny.  I was not amused.  You can watch this for free on Vimeo.  Certainly don't spend money on it.

    The first movie is wonderful, the second OK; the other two miss the point.  The Great Nude Beach Movie has yet to be made.

    But since we have drifted into the topic of Australian films, adult and teen readers may also enjoy a non-beach movie: The Coca-Cola Kid (1985).  It's a wacky satirical film about a macho American marketing expert in Australia.  Besides a crazy sexual scene, it includes a mother naturally showering with her daughter.  Facing a similar threat of American enterprise, this movie pairs nicely with Exchange Lifeguards/Wet and Wild Summer!—and has about as much substance.  Yet it's fun to watch.

Down on the Farm (June 2018)

    Today, we look at three movies about farm life.

For the whole family:

    De Witte van Sichem (1980) dramatizes a famous Belgian book about a mischievous 12-year-old boy living on a farm around 1900.  (Actually, the actor was 15, with a deep voice and shaved pubic hair.)  The first part of the title translates as "Whitey," a popular nickname there for any blond boy.  Less likable than Tom Sawyer, the young hero can sometimes be mean.  He is always getting into trouble—much of it deserved.

    At one point, he sneaks away from his job to go skinny-dipping with a bunch of other boys.  In a twist from the usual plot, his angry mother confiscates his clothes, so he has to walk home naked.  Yet he consistently cups his genitals with his hands, as though ashamed of his body.  (Or maybe that's just a device to hide the actor's age.)

    You may have to explain that most people in Belgium drank beer—including women and children.  Also we see a conservative Catholic community who think the union organizers of the city are agents of the devil.  And it was an age when people believed that a few cuffs would help children to grow up right.

    Watching this enjoyable movie as a family means overcoming several obstacles.  It comes on a disc unplayable on American television sets, but you can gather around your computer and watch it there.  Characters speak a dialect of Flemish, so there are English subtitles (which must be set before you start).  And the story doesn't have much of an ending.

    But before you watch it, google the 19th-century paintings of Millet; you will see some of his same scenes brought to life in the movie—right down to the wooden shoes.  This film gives a memorable picture of old-fashioned farm life.  And the boy can be charming, if not always admirable.

For teens and older:

    Why do advertisers on eBay constantly list female nudes as "sexy" and male nudes as "of gay interest?"  These labels reveal more about mistaken popular attitudes than about the artworks--which usually stand innocent and pure.

    Likewise, the 1988 movie, Clay Farmers contains not one iota of anything sexual, yet that doesn't stop some ugly homophobia.  A child-beating father whose stepson has committed suicide lashes out at innocent skinny-dippers.  Gossip turns nasty in a hurry.  Nudist parents will be reminded of a certain child-abusing congressman who could not comprehend the wholesomeness of AANR youth camps.

    [The Bulletin refused to print that last sentence.]

    The topic is controversial; the movie is beautiful and powerful.  We meet two young men working on a California vegetable farm, and two younger neighbor boys.  They learn to care about how others are being mistreated.  In their spare time, the young men make clay sculptures, including one with a nude woman's body.

    By the way, skinny-dipping farm hands were so common that in July of 1936, they made the cover of Farm Journal, the leading rural magazine in America.  In the movie, we never do see anything frontal.

    Be aware that this movie contains some crude language, smoking, drunkenness, and a bar fight—also some fine people.  And it deals sensitively with deep emotional scars that don't go away.

    Because the movie lasts only an hour, it is usually packaged with something less desirable.  Be careful there.  The rare videotape includes a questionable short film of no nudist interest.  The only DVD version came from Award Films International, who have suddenly disappeared from the Internet.  Fortunately, it can be viewed online—by itself or with other things.

    For a worse movie about working on a California farm, you might try Untamed Youth (1957).  The black-and-white movie begins with two young women arrested for skinny-dipping.  (We don't actually see anything below their shoulders or above their legs.)  The female judge sends them to a work farm, saying it will restore their sense of self-respect.  The wiser girl answers, "We never lost it."

    The story goes downhill from there, with tough bad guys and lots of fifties dancing.  Where do they get the energy after picking cotton all day?  The Catholic Legion of Decency banned this drive-in movie, not for the wiggling of the top-heavy actress, but because it included rock-and-roll music.  Yesterday's controversies seem quaint today.

    These three movies offer a wide spectrum of life down on the farm, and the need to take a nude break.

Three Movies from South Africa (July 2018)

    The Union of South Africa is an English-speaking country that has produced some good movies—even during the Apartheid years.  Here are three with natural nudity:

For the whole family:

    The Gods Must Be Crazy II (1989) is a sequel.  The first movie was a profound statement for thinking adults about how something so simple as a Coca-Cola bottle can mess up a traditional way of life.  The second movie is better for children, because it contains much less violence and has a couple of kids in main roles.  You don't need to see the first one to understand the second.

    It's about the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert.  The whole movie is several chase scenes that keep intersecting in crazy ways.  (You will need to explain the presence of ivory poachers and a Cuban spy in Africa.)  There's lots of slapstick to amuse young viewers.  Wildlife abounds.  My mouth fell open when the little girl ran under the giraffe.

    Nobody is quite nude.  Even the native children wear skimpy thongs.  Gone are the nursing mothers and bare-breasted girls of the first film.  They now wear lots of rags, but are not on camera for long.

    Though guns play a central role, this is a delightful light-hearted movie the whole family can enjoy together.  The love that the Bushman family have for each other adds special charm.

    Be aware that a Chinese director then hired the main Bushman actor for three other dreadful films that you don't want to see.

A little something for everyone:

    Shaka Zulu (1986) was a South African television mini-series of ten episodes.  It tells the story of Africa's greatest military leader and the first European contacts.  Like most war movies, it contains far more violence than I can recommend for children.  (To mollify white fears of black uprising, television stations were provided with "option kits" that showed other things while the worst violence was going on.)  But your whole family doesn't have to watch it all; there are stories within stories.

    Teenagers will like episode 3 on the romance of Shaka's parents.  Episode 4 on Shaka's childhood is probably tame enough for children of all ages—though you may have to explain about paternity, multiple wives, exile, and sacrifice.  (The biblical story of Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac will cover all of the necessary points.)  And a nude ceremony acknowledging the arrival into manhood graces the beginning of episode 5.  As often happens in the movies, the series skips most of the hero's teen years.

    The makers insisted on authentic costuming, so we see bare breasts everywhere.  Men wore a little flap in front of the genitals.  Everybody's butt shows.  How could this happen on television?  First, most of the world is far less puritanical than the United States.  Secondly, there's the National Geographic syndrome, where it's OK to see black people nude, but not white.  (Early on, we do see the backside of a British man casually stepping out of his bath before male visitors, but that's all.)

    Shaka was the second of three great southeast African kings.  We see Dingiswayo, the first one, but barely notice Mzilikazi, the third.  The other two were much kindlier than Shaka.

    Don't waste your time on the lame American television remake of 2005 called Shaka Zulu: The Last Great Warrior, also called Shaka Zulu: The Citadel.  Though recycling some of the same actors, the American attempt strayed far from history, and avoided any nudity by overdressing everybody in Arab robes, furs, and lots of feathers.  It's rubbish.

    Another South African film, Yankee Zulu (1993), begins with a black boy and a white boy skinny-dipping.  As happens in life, one boy's voice has changed earlier than his friend's.  Voice change usually comes at the same time as pubic hair, but there are no frontal views to confirm that.  Yet as so often happens on the screen, skinny-dipping boys are confined to the opening credits, and we never see nudity again.

    This is such a nutty movie that kids will enjoy it more than parents do.  The humor is juvenile, at best.  We get an awful lot of slapstick, but it is cartoon-like violence where nobody actually dies from it.  Throw in Prince Charles, Prince William as a boy and the ultimate Nazi, and you have a crazy formula that keeps even sophisticated teenagers laughing. 

    Yet this movie struck such a balance that it seemed funny to segregated audiences in black theatres and in white theatres.  That was quite an accomplishment.  It's probably worth watching once.

    The usual age barriers, nudity barriers, and race barriers break down in these South African films—all easily available.  Check them out.

Lessons in English History (Aug. 2018)

    We do ourselves a disservice when we trace nudist history back only as far as the 1890s.  A few movies show us a much longer tradition.

For the whole family:

    Lady Godiva of Coventry (1955) is a movie tame enough that the whole family can watch.  During her famous nude ride, her body is hidden with more long hair than any one person is likely to own.  Alas, there is no genuine nude Godiva movie.  An earlier actress also covered herself in hair in the 1911 short film.  Three attempts to move the story into modern times have been raunchy failures.  This 1955 version is your only choice.

    We don't know a lot about the real Lady Godiva, but we do know she was about 47 when she made that ride in 1057, and her husband was 89.  The movie would have us believe they were young newlyweds.  This version also obscures the fact that her ride was a nude tax protest.

    The movie does, however, give us a pretty accurate picture of the political struggles in England in the years just before the Norman Conquest of 1066.

    BBC News recently compared the original Bayeaux Tapestry (woven by French women shortly after William the Conqueror's invasion) with the nineteenth-century English copy at Hastings.  The original has several lusty nude men and women in the lower band; the Victorian ladies omitted all of the genitals or put clothes on those figures.  Nudity definitely did not start in the late 1800s.
For teens and older:

    If you want more English history, Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves (1991), contains a lot of violent warfare.  This is not really a movie for young people, but we do see the hero bathing in a distant waterfall.  Maid Marion watches, and approves of what she sees.

    Let us move forward to the nineteenth century.  Because of the experimentation with drugs, I would not normally recommend a movie like Haunted Summer (1988) for teenagers.  But this is, after all, a pretty accurate biography of the poets Byron, Shelley and Shelley's 18-year-old girlfriend Mary Godwin (who would soon become his second wife).  They spent the summer of 1816 together near Geneva.  It's solid background for the poems students are reading in school.

    Near the beginning, we see Shelley's love of skinny-dipping.  (Six years later, his nude body would wash ashore after a sailing accident.)  His friend and biographer, Thomas Jefferson Hogg, wasted several pages trying to deny reports that Shelley was an early nudist—but did admit that he frequently visited a nudist family.  That family believed in a return to nature.  Their philosophy is worth quoting:

    "In order to prepare mankind for the happy impending restoration of perfect and universal nudity, children ought to be accustomed at an early age to be, at least occasionally, naked.  It was alleged, moreover, that the practice of stripping young persons sometimes is eminently conducive to their health, to strength of body, symmetry, beauty, and to morality and virtue; and that even grown persons may derive much benefit from remaining some hours, in mild weather, without their clothes.  It was most manifest that the children liked to nakedize—such was the term of art—exceedingly..."

    We don't see that family in the movie.  The plot turns to events leading up to Mary's writing of Frankenstein.  In some ways, this is a cleaned-up and much improved version of Ken Russell's horror film, Gothic, released just two years earlier.  Though the predecessor includes three brief nude Shelley scenes, I don't recommend it.

    A third Byron-Shelley-Frankenstein movie also appeared in 1988.  Rowing with the Wind cleans up the story by omitting the drugs but keeping the nude swim.  Some good family values there.  Yet the result is more dull biography than compelling story of people we can care about.

    None of the three movies make it sufficiently clear that Mary was the daughter of early feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, who is also sometimes studied in school.  In that older generation, the poet William Blake and his wife also liked to sunbathe nude in their garden.  Freeing the body is indeed connected to freeing the mind.

    Skinny-dipping remained popular through the nineteenth century, and the Victoria series on PBS television even showed Prince Albert swimming nude with male attendants (season 2, episode 5: "Entente Cordiale").  Though she presided over a very prudish age, Victoria and her husband avidly collected nude art.

    In the twentieth century, Winston Churchill famously spent much of his time nude at home, and even when visiting the White House.  He told FDR "The prime minister of England has nothing to hide from the president of the United States."  You can catch a glimpse of him getting out of bed in The Gathering Storm (2002)—another television movie.  The brief nude part happens in the first five minutes, and can be seen on YouTube.

    So no, nudity did not begin in the 1890s.  And yes, these movies provide an entertaining way to learn English history.

Rambunctious Children and a Spunky Woman (Sept. 2018)

    This time, we have two European films about irrepressible children.  That leads us to a third movie about an indomitable young woman.  Two of the three movies are about Jewish families.

For the whole family:

    You're Out of Your Mind, Maggie (1979) is a delightful Swedish film about a couple of mischievous little girls and their friends.  The Swedish version has never been available in English.  Fortunately, the German version (called Madita) offers subtitles in four languages—including English with lots of grammatical errors.  But kids can have fun laughing at the mistakes too.  (Be careful; there are also discs with only German and Swedish.  I got mine from CVMC.)

    The movie takes place in the early twentieth century.  It begins with two sisters frolicking nude in their bedroom.  We next see them clothed and walking with their maid (not their mother).  Later, four little girls go skinny-dipping.  Meanwhile, they get into lots of mischief, that includes walking the peak of the steep schoolhouse roof.  Religion seems to form the central part of the curriculum in that particular school.

    On YouTube, I see pastiches from the movie—including the heroine climbing a tree nude.  That's not in the German version.  I assume it came from the slightly longer Swedish version.

    Two movies were made from Astrid Lindgren's book.  The other one, Madita and Pim (1980) was compiled from a television series, and thus contains no nudity.  Though released later, it relates episodes from earlier in the book.

    You're Out of Your Mind, Maggie is a fine family movie (assuming the kids are old enough to read the captions).  It presents good lessons about treating the lowly and less fortunate with dignity.  But you will need to explain that the burgomistersha is the mayor's wife.

For teens and older:

    The Revolt of Job (1983) tells the story of an elderly Jewish couple in Hungary, who know the Nazis will be coming for them soon.  They want to adopt a little Christian orphan boy, so they can leave their property and memories with him.

    The opening scene is like the slave markets, in that the couple inspect the boys nude before buying one.  Half of the boys wear swimsuits, the other half skinny-dip.  (For the movie trailer, producers carefully selected shots of mostly clothed boys that aren't even in the finished film.)

    The movie focuses on the little boy, and would be fine for some whole families, but not others.  Understanding the Holocaust requires some emotional maturity.  (My disc comes with English subtitles and a short documentary on the Hungarian Jews.  That slide show goes by so fast that I had to watch it once to keep up with the captions, and again to look at the pictures.)  I recommend that even teenagers watch that background slide show first to get some understanding.

    I grew up on a farm.  I saw animals mating, and drew some not-always-accurate conclusions about human sexuality.  So does this little boy.  We do see a bit of discreet sexual nudity, in addition to the skinny-dipping.  Job teaches the boy that all parts of life are sacred.

    Catholic and Protestant villagers try to protect their Jewish neighbors, but it does no good against government policies.  The ending is similar to Fiddler on the Roof (1971).  Though that heartfelt movie contains no nudity, it was based on the short stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer.

    So was Yentl (1983).  Here we see a feisty young woman with a passion for learning.  To get into school, she disguises herself as a boy.  And as often happens in such a plot, she has to figure out what to do when everybody goes skinny-dipping.  (There was also a brief earlier scene of younger children bathing in the river.)  We only get rear views both times.

    Every teenager should watch this to experience the excitement about learning that is embedded in Jewish tradition.

    Our heroine is contrasted with a young dutiful traditional wife—totally subservient.  And that is what the otherwise understanding hero prefers.  Fittingly, Barbra Streisand co-wrote, produced, directed, starred in, and sang the songs for this movie.  The musical moments are supposed to be soliloquies, where she expresses her innermost feelings, while nobody but the audience notices that she is belting out songs.  It doesn't always work.  Still, it's a good movie.

    Here we have three films about young people who do not always do what they are told, but who charm us with their spunk.

Scary Movies (Oct. 2018)

    Sometimes, kids like to be scared—briefly.  Halloween is one of those times.  And so we consider three movies with a little too much violence or sex, that I would not normally recommend.  All require parental guidance—better yet, parental presence while watching.

For the whole family:

    Witness (1985) is about an Amish boy and his young widowed mother.  The little boy happens to witness a murder, and therefore stands in danger, himself.  The tough detective figures out that his boss is part of the crime ring, and goes undercover among the Amish farmers to protect the family.  A romance develops, but can people from such different worlds ever come together?

    Amish farmers sometimes speak German, though you can figure out the meaning without subtitles.  And several scenes don't need words.  At one point, we see the shirtless mother taking a sponge-bath, an everyday occurrence from times past that usually gets left out of the movies.

    The grandfather teaches non-violence, but it doesn't always work with bullies or with big-time murderers.  We see some ugly things.  Yet the peaceful Amish way of life makes this movie worth watching—even for small children.

    At the end, the bad guy surrenders—partly in an appeal to his original ideals, and partly because too many non-violent people have come to quietly stand as witness.  The title takes on added significance.

For Teens and older:

    The Holy Mountain (1973) is one very strange movie with some powerful messages.  Just watch it unfold.  Some of the images will make you squirm.  You will spend the next day wondering what you saw.  Then the following night, watch it again—with the director's commentary turned on.  It will all take on a lot of meaning then.  (Though the movie is in English, the commentary is in Spanish, so you will need to turn on English subtitles for that.  Once I saw the English commentary without the Spanish voiceover, but I don't remember how I did that.)

    The director is Alejandro Jodorowsky of Mexico, who drew inspiration from the mystical writings of St. John of the Cross, and an unfinished novel by a disciple of modern mystic, George Gurdjieff.  For the first year-and-a-half, the film was shown only at midnight.  The director explains the symbolism from many religions, and especially the Tarot cards.  Several of the characters represent celestial qualities that we have ascribed to the planets. 

    We see a thief who looks so much like our idea of Jesus that sculptors use him as a nude model for casting crucifixes.  He and several other crooks (mostly wealthy industrialists) climb the mountain seeking some sort of immortality.  One of these reforming climbers has been a manufacturer of war toys.  At another point, we watch the conquest of the Aztecs by a bunch of Spanish toads—actual toads.

    To get at our basic humanity, we see lots of nudity and near-nudity—including a group of boys with their genitals painted green.  We get no explanation, no apologies.

    The director mentions his earlier film, El Topo (1970), which has a seven-year-old boy inexplicably nude through the first half-hour (blurred in the disc version, though unretouched on tape).  But that gunfighter movie is too violent for children or anyone else.  It's coarsening.  You don't need to see it to appreciate The Holy Mountain.

    Let's switch to something totally different.

    Of course, for Halloween, we must have a ghost story.  Haunted (1995) is a twilight-zone-type of movie where nothing is quite as it seems.  A rational professor visits a castle, to prove it is not haunted.  But he sees several spirits, and mistakes most of them for real people.  He is also haunted by a tragic event from his own childhood.

    Free and innocent skinny-dipping forms an important part of the plot.  So does posing for nude art.  And so does one passionate sex scene that is necessary to make the movie believable.  Beware that there are even hints of incest, though we never see anything improper.

    The ending caught me by surprise.  Fans of the original novel by James Herbert don't like this film, because they say it's less scary than the book.  Hauntingly delusional?  Definitely.  Scary?  Not really.

    Yet quality prevails.  While these three movies take us a little outside our comfort zone, they are all of them excellently done.

The Crime of Being Indian in the Twentieth Century (Nov. 2018)

    There are lots of movies about Indians chasing wagon trains, but few about the lives of Native Americans today.  Let us consider some of the more interesting glimpses into modern conditions.

For the whole family:

    In The Education of Little Tree (1997), we see an 8-year-old orphan boy going to live with his white moonshining grandfather and his Cherokee grandmother.  There, he begins to learn about his native heritage.

    For a while, he gets hauled off to an Indian school, with all its horrors.  In the only nude scene, we see him being scrubbed down and fumigated.

    This happens in Tennessee during the Depression.  We witness the viciousness of religion, the controlling dominance of teachers, and the indifference of bureaucrats.  There's even a romance with a little hillbilly girl.  Despite a few bad words, this is a movie for the whole family.

For teens and older:

    Powwow Highway (1989) takes us into the leadership struggles of the modern-day Cheyenne in Montana.  This is a road trip movie, as our two warriors travel in an old jalopy to New Mexico to rescue the hero's sister.  But it is also a spirit journey, as the fat dreaming sidekick begins to discover his heritage and the quiet strength within himself.  Even the tough hero grows in understanding, and some of his hard edges begin to melt.

    At one point, we see the endearing fat man crawl out of bed nude.  The tribal chief never loses faith in his people, and at a key moment he turns a bunch of cattle loose to block the pursuing police cars.  And so everyone escapes.

    Long out of print, this movie has become available again.  It incorporates native humor in a way that inspired two other equally great films:

    Dance Me Outside (1994) pulls together some of the many volumes of funny-yet-serious short stories by W. P. Kinsella.  He wrote on two subjects: modern tribal life and baseball.  Everybody has seen his Field of Dreams; more people should see this movie.  Though film-makers moved the Cree reservation from Alberta across the country to Quebec, we meet several characters from the stories: Silas, the aspiring young writer; his smart-mouthed sidekick, Frank Fencepost; and the overweight medicine lady, Mad Etta.

    A white man murders a tribal girl.  The young men decide to take revenge, but their girlfriends intervene to protect them.  Also, the hero's brother-in-law is having a fertility problem that gets solved in an untraditional way.

    There is some dimly lit rear nudity during an initiation ceremony.  But the police strip search goes only so far as underwear.  That's also where the heroine stops when she burns her clothes that could incriminate her.

    A two-year Canadian television series called The Rez (1996-98) grew out of this movie.  Not as good as the books or the movie, it featured some of the same actors, but no visible nudes.

    Powwow Highway also influenced Smoke Signals (1998).  Though it contains no nudity, this movie is so good that we need to discuss it.  Gary Farmer, the gentle idealistic sidekick from the first movie (and the lazy chief on The Rez), returns here in a quite different role as the hero's ne'er-do-well father.  This is another road trip and spiritual journey movie with a bitter hero and a nerdy sidekick lost in his stories.  They come from the Cour d'Aline tribe in Idaho.

    The film pulls together several amusing stories from Sherman Alexie's collection, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.  The movie version does not adequately explain the crazy girls with the car that is stuck in reverse.  And the film ends before Thomas goes to jail because the police mistake one of his tales for a confession.  (The title of this column comes from another of his stories.)  Yet the soft-spoken movie sheriff breaks with the stereotype in an absolutely delightful way.

    An earlier movie, Running Brave of 1983 is less interesting than any of these.  It is more a documentary on the life of Sioux Olympic racer, Billy Mills.  He finds himself fitting into neither reservation life, nor the white college world.

    The only shower scene disappoints.  Cameramen focused above the waists, showing just one partial butt.  Big deal.  This film can be seen free on the Internet.  Don't spend money on it.

    From Tennessee to Idaho, and lots of places between, the stories of modern native Americans deserve to be better known.  These movies tell them well.

Bible Stories (Dec. 2018)

    We have discussed Adam and Eve before (April 2017).  The Bible contains several more nude scenes, though film makers have chosen to dramatize very few of them.

For the whole family:

    The Bible: In the Beginning (1966) retells, pretty literally, the book of Genesis.  The movie begins magnificently, with the wonders of creation, and a nude Adam and Eve.  Unfortunately, we see Adam only from the side or back, and Eve's hair covers her breasts.  It's not exactly clear how these two are supposed to be fruitful and multiply.

    The animals in Noah's ark will amaze and amuse the children.  But when the long movie drags through the tower of Babel and the life of Abraham, it doggedly includes every boring and grisly detail.  One might question whether some of the violent parts are suitable for children, had they come from any other source.  If you are watching this with young people of short attention span, you may well choose to end at the intermission after Noah's tale.

    Incidentally, John Huston, the director, took the liberty of having Abraham and Sarah recite some lines from the Song of Solomon—which, after all, was a collection of love songs far older than that wise king.

For teens and older:

    Several other Bible stories include a bit of nudity—David, Isaiah, baby Jesus, baptism, and crucifixion, to name the most obvious.  Though painters and sculptors through the centuries have delighted in the bare skin, movie-makers rarely dared to show it.  A bold exception is Salomé (1985).  Actually, her story has inspired over a hundred films; you want the hard-to-find 1985 version.

    Shouldn't the whole family be watching a Bible story?  No, not this one.  Things could get pretty decadent at the court of Queen Herodias.  Yet, except for some background figures, the female nudity and male near-nudity remain highly sensual without quite crossing the borderline into the sexual.  (Try to ignore the Roman soldiers in medieval suits of armor and Nazi uniforms.  That attempt at timelessness doesn't work.)

    The slow-paced movie follows Oscar Wilde's 1894 play, in which Salomé is secretly in love with John the Baptist—who rejects her charms.  As William Congreve famously said, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

    Richard Strauss' opera version added a striptease in the Dance of the Seven Veils.  In some rare operatic performances, the dancer takes off everything.  So does 18-year-old Jo Ciampa in this movie.  We do not hear Strauss' music.

    Isn't this wandering a long way from the main message of the Bible?  True, but the Bible is a big book that includes lots of stories.  Brace yourself for more.

    In time for Christmas, we have Hail Mary (also of 1985), a strange biblical movie.  You definitely will not understand all of it the first time through.  About the third time, most of it falls into place, and it's beautiful.

    In this modern retelling, Mary plays college basketball, and helps in her father's gas station.  The angels come in on airplanes.  Her boyfriend Joseph drives a taxi that delivers Gabriel, who tells her she is pregnant.  But she has slept with no one, she protests.  Most of the tender movie is about her and Joseph coming to accept these mysterious happenings.  I'm not a believer in miracles, but the realistic treatment of their feelings makes it seem plausible.

    Perhaps paralleling John the Baptist, a young professor declares that life on earth was designed by intelligrent beings from outer space.  He and his blond student Eva have a brief affair.  The movie keeps cutting between the two couples and shots of nature.  Everyone speaks French, but a whole lot goes unsaid.  (The English subtitles show conversation as ordinary lettering, and poetic thoughts in italics.)

    We frequently see Mary nude, as she tries to puzzle out the relationship between body and spirit.  Bach's sacred music helps.  She has revealed herself before God.  Later, she has no hesitancy in teaching her spiritual child about body parts.  For its unorthodox approach, the pope condemned this movie (thus boosting sales).  It is not to everyone's taste.

    The director paired this with The Book of Mary, a short film by his girlfriend.  That one is about divorce splitting a family.  Though the short piece does show a mother and daughter bathing, it has nothing to do with the biblical story, and can be skipped.

    The Bible is a far-ranging book that has inspired a wide variety of movies—a few of them with appropriate nudity.

Classic Australian Movies (Jan. 2019)

    This time, we look at two of the most popular Australian movies you never heard of.  We also consider an American film about Australia.

For the whole family:

    Fatty Finn (1980) is a much improved remake of the 1927 silent movie, The Kid Stakes.  Both functioned as Australia's version of The Little Rascals.  Based on a newspaper cartoon strip that ran for fifty years, the movie is set during the Depression, when the young hero is trying to raise money to buy a radio.  You will have to explain beforehand that radios (then called crystal sets) were once the latest technology, and that washing machines had wringers (called mangles in Australia).  You will also need to explain about strikes, scab workers, and the night soil man.

    As in the 1927 film, we see young boys and one or two girls skinny-dipping together—though this time, one of the boys has a deep voice.  That means he probably has pubic hair, but we don't know, because we never see anything frontal in either version.  At another point, the rival gang decides to depants our hero, stuff him head-first in a trash barrel, and write on his exposed behind—with red lipstick, no less.  What could be more humiliating for a ten-year-old boy?

    This is definitely entertainment for the whole family.  Some of the humor is for children; other spoofs—such as the gangster queen or the lady dancing teacher—probably have more significance for adults.  Even the acting credits at the end are funny enough to watch.

    The DVDs are Australian or British, which means they must be watched on a multi-region player or computer.  A few copies of the universal tape version are still around.  Or you can watch the film free on the Internet.

For teens and older:

    Sons of Matthew (1949) is a black-and-white epic about clearing the jungles of northern Australia.  (Today, we cringe to see them cutting down the big trees, but in 1949, that was still considered a heroic effort.)  The movie emphasizes the value of hard work and the family sticking together.

    We see ordinary household nudity, as a little girl is bathed in the kitchen with men and boys in the room.  When she grows up, she bathes in the river.  So do Matthew's five grown-up sons (though filmed from a distance).

    The movie was a big hit in Australia.  But for puritanical British and American distribution, the editors cut out nearly 40% of the footage—especially the nude scenes—and renamed it The Rugged O'Riordans.  That censored version flopped.  The modern disc case is mislabeled; it would have you believe this is the shortened version, and playable only in region 4.  Both statements are false; this is the full movie, which you can watch on your television screen.

    In contrast, the uncensored version played in Sweden under the title, Jungle Brothers' Woman, and posters there emphasized the nudity.

    Americans are more familiar with an even bigger epic film, The Thorn Birds (1983).  This gripping TV mini-series runs nearly eight hours, and covers three generations of a wealthy land-owning Australian family (though filmed in California).  It focuses on a young Catholic priest, who helps raise a little girl, but the girl grows up to fall in love with him.  Their care for each other endures through everything.

    Surprising for American television, we do catch a glimpse of the priest stripping off his wet clothes on the darkened porch.

    The movie is based on the book by Colleen McCollough.  But it skips over a 19-year period in the book's middle.  That prompted a sequel (middlequel?) called The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years (1996).  I recommend viewing the second film between scenes 5 and 6 of the final disc of the first one.  It helps to fill our understanding; yet, with all but one of the lead roles filled by substitute actors, it is not totally convincing.  We see no nudity there.

    Fatty Finn, Sons of Matthew, and The Thorn Birds: all three of these major movies help us feel the wide panorama of the Australian experience.

Long Ago and Far Away (Feb. 2019)

    This time, we look at some wonderful old classic movies set in India and neighboring countries.

For the whole family:

    To make Elephant Boy in 1937, producer Alexander Korda found several young actors, but they were all scared of elephants.  Finally he discovered Sabu, a 13-year-old orphan working in the Mysore royal elephant stables.  And the kid could act.

    Using the short story, "Toomai of the Elephants" by Rudyard Kipling, the movie adaptors made one inspired change, and two bad decisions.  The inspired change first: they made the boy a member of the non-violent Jain religion.  These are the Digambara or "sky-clad" naked Jains, whose monks give up clothing.  We see no nude people.  But near Mysore, stands the giant nude statue of the Jain saint, Gommateshvara, who stood meditating so long that vines grew up around his legs and arms.  First bad decision: they built their own smaller plaster statue with the genitals missing.  It's the only nudity in this movie.  The boy prays for a successful hunt.  But this is a statue of a hero—not a god.  Jainism is a religion without gods or begging prayers.

    According to Kipling, after a successful hunt, the boy sees wild elephants gather by the hundreds and dance together.  Second bad decision: the movie makers have the boy betray those elephants into captivity.  Despite these shortcomings, Sabu stole the show, and the black-and-white movie has charm.

    After doing some lesser films, Sabu starred in the first movie version of Kipling's The Jungle Book in 1942, when he was 18.  That book had become such a British classic that Lord Baden Powell named the Cub Scout ranks after its animals.

    Raised by wolves, Mowgli would naturally be nude.  Kipling's father illustrated the books, with the boy seen nude from the back or side.  To get past movie censors (and because Sabu no longer looked like a child), the producers had the actor wear skin-colored shorts during the first part of the story, and filmed him mostly above the waist.  You really can't tell the difference.  (This movie is in color.)  It is far better than the Disney cartoon that puts him in a red diaper all his life.  While book illustrators have usually kept Mowgli nude, every recent movie version has followed the Disney lead of showing him ridiculously clothed.

    The settings are a hodge-podge of Buddhist statues, Hindu forehead decorations, and a ruined palace from Cambodia.  It was all shot in California.

    Sabu never grew very tall, and got typecast into juvenile roles.  Finally, in Song of India (1949), he got to play a handsome prince who frees the trapped animals and gets the girl.  But this movie has no nudity.

For teens and older:

    Before leaving Kipling, let me mention that another of his stories, "The Man Who Would Be King," was made into a grand movie in 1975.  It follows two British soldiers of fortune on the route of Alexander the Great in Afghanistan.  Though the movie does show brief male and female nudity, there is not a lot to interest young people.

    Let us turn, instead, to a movie of more universal appeal.  Lost Horizon (1937) dramatizes James Hilton's novel about a hidden happy valley in Tibet, where people age very slowly.  At a time of rising world tensions, it envisioned a land where peace and common sense prevail.  The hero, an ambitious politician, learns to slow down and appreciate small pleasures.

    The book so impressed Franklin Delano Roosevelt that he called the presidential retreat "Shangri-La" after the valley in the story.  President Eisenhower renamed the place Camp David after his grandson.

    At one point, a bunch of little boys and girls, dismissed early from school, throw off their long robes and go skinny-dipping.  We see them only from the back.  On another occasion, their female teacher skinny-dips at a distance.

    The original movie ran long—some say as long as six hours.  Theatre owners cut it drastically.  By 1973, only 2 hours and 12 minutes of soundtrack could be found, and even less of the images.  Restorers filled the visual gaps with still shots.  So that is the movie we see today.

    Also in 1973, there was a color remake as a song-and-dance film, but that one left out the nudity.  Woody Allen commented, "If I had my life to live over again I wouldn't change anything—except for seeing the musical remake of Lost Horizon."  Stick with the original.

    These marvelous old movies have withstood the test of time.  Their freshness and allure of faraway places enchant us today as much as ever.

Sisters (March 2019)

    In the movies, as in life, skinny-dipping boys far outnumber skinny-dipping girls.  Today, we look at three films that focus on the way sisters relate to each other.

For the whole family:

    The Parent Trap (1998) deals with twin girls (played by one actress), and is a remake of the 1961 movie (which had been based on a 1950 German film).  The 1961 version did have some fat nude cartoon Cupids at the beginning and end of the film.  It's not entirely clear why the same studio decided to remake their classic Haley Mills movie 27 years later; the new actors speak many of the same lines.  But the latest version includes a brief skinny-dip scene missing from the earlier films.

    What happened between 1961 and 1998?  Well, the liberating sixties happened.  Their impact lasted the rest of the century.  (In fact, this movie even includes a brief tribute to a famous Beetles photograph.)  Nude scenes, including natural child nudity, appeared frequently in the last third of the twentieth century, then fell off sharply, as paranoia about so-called child pornography set in.  1998 came at the end of an era.

    Lots of movies show boys skinny-dipping.  To admit that an underage girl might do it is rare.  Her nude dive lasts only a few seconds in the dark.  Equally remarkable, these are both Disney films, known for wholesome child entertainment.  As early as 1960, Disney had briefly shown boys skinny-dipping in Pollyana—but the heroine?  Never.  At least, not until 1998.

    These twin sisters can create a lot of mischief, and their plotting to get their parents back together actually works.  It's great family fun.

For teens and older:

    The Man in the Moon (1991) is about the love triangle that develops when two teenage sisters become infatuated with the same neighbor boy.  This is a sad and gentle story of people who care about and respect each other.  We learn the importance of talking out our troubles, even if sometimes we have to talk to the man in the moon.

    It happens in the rural south of the late 1950s, when every teeny-bopper's heart throbbed to the music of Elvis Presley.  The action focuses on the younger girl, as she experiences her first romance.  She meets the boy while skinny-dipping.  On a couple of occasions, we see nude divers—both male and female—but they move by so quickly that we wonder if we really saw them.  (Airlines showed a censored version without nudity, though all DVDs on the market today seem to be full length.)

    Reese Witherspoon played the lead role, but because this was her first movie, they gave top billing to the older actors.  Actually, the understanding and witty parents are important too.  Though it deals with tragedy, this warm treatment remains one of the great teen family movies of all time.

    In contrast, Angela (1995) is one strange film.  (Be careful.  There are older and newer movies with the same title.)  We meet a family with two young daughters, and quickly see that the mother's mind is going blank.  What we don't realize at first is that the intelligent and manipulative older daughter (age 10) is also losing her grip on reality.  She somehow blames herself for her mother's condition.  She takes religion too seriously, and lives increasingly in an imaginative world of devils and angels.  This movie is about her gradually slipping over the edge into a fantasy land.  No histrionics here; it's all low-key.

    When they are skinny-dipping, she goes through a ritual of coating her sister's body with mud.  That's about all the nudity in this film.

    My disc comes with the option of watching it again while the director explains what is going on.  That helps.  (The director, it turns out, was playwright Arthur Miller's daughter, so she chose to make the movie mother look a lot like her own step-mother, Marilyn Monroe.)

    With one scene becoming sexual, this film is safe enough for teenagers; but it's not one of my favorites.

    All three of these movies show a close bond between sisters—one or both of whom like to skinny-dip.

Classic movies with Classical Music (Apr. 2019)

    Today we examine three movies with much music by Beethoven and Mozart.

For the entire family:

    Makers of animated cartoons frequently use classical music in the background because it has lasted beyond copyright, and is thus free.  Walt Disney did the opposite with Fantasia (1940).  He took well-known examples of classical music and brought them to visual life.

    It helps if you already know the names of the dances in Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker: the "Waltz of the Flowers" with little nude fairies flitting about, the "Chinese Dance" done by mushrooms, and the "Russian Dance" performed by thistles.

    Paul Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a piece of program music—that is, it tells a story printed in the program handed to concert-goers.  Here, Micky Mouse acts it out.

    But the selection that interests us is a skillfully abbreviated version of Beethoven's Sixth Symphony—his nature symphony.  This too is program music, describing a beautiful day in nature, interrupted by a storm, and then the majestic calm afterward.  We see female centaurs skinny-dipping, their breasts proudly on display.  But as they leave the water, the cartoonists felt it necessary to place flowery leis over their chests.  Lots of naked little cupids (with bare butts but no genitals) pair the male and female centaurs into couples.

    The entire movie is a marvelous experience that no child (or adult) should miss.  That later attempt, Fantasia 2000, doesn't even come close.

For teens and older:

    Amadeus (1984) tells the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  His rival composer, Salieri, eventually went insane and began blaming himself somehow for Mozart's early death at age 35.  No one believed him.  This movie explores the subtle possibilities of admiration mixed with jealousy.

    Much of the action takes place at the court of that greatest of enlightened despots, Emperor Josef II of Austria, who liked to dabble in music.  And the music in this film is heavenly.

    The story of Mozart, the boy genius who never grew up, appeals to teenagers—especially bright or unconventional teenagers.  I have shown it many times to delighted students.

    It was a magnificent movie for twenty years—before we ever learned that a bare-breasted scene had been removed.  That scene was restored in 2004.  Packaging remained almost the same.  Look for the words, "Director's Cut."  If the package doesn't say that, keep looking until you find one that does.  The scene finally explains why Mozart's wife so disliked Salieri.  (There was always a bit of mild male nudity in the insane asylum scenes at both ends of the movie.)

    Nowhere as grand as the other two, Bastien, Bastienne (1979) is a hauntingly beautiful French film set in the middle of World War I.  A young doctor and his sister's husband have gone off to the war, and may never return.  Their wives, three sons (age about 10-12), and a couple of maids live in the old family home.  As we hear frequent shelling in the distance, they are told they must evacuate.  To forget her sorrows, the doctor's wife buries herself in her painting and photography.  The other wife busies herself with packing.  And the three boys divert everybody by putting on costumes and performing Mozart's early one-act opera, Bastien und Bastienne.

    That is fitting because Mozart wrote this little piece about a romance among shepherds when he also was 12.  He wrote it in German for soprano, tenor, and bass.  But since the boys' voices have not yet changed, we get a fine performance in French by boy sopranos.

    We occasionally see the younger maid and each of the wives nude.  But the boys wear two-piece swimsuits when they swim with their mothers.  (No doubt, they skinny-dipped when by themselves, though we never see that.)  Small children could safely watch this but, with more music than action, they would get bored.  Many of the important things happen in silence.

    The DVD comes with English subtitles, and is available at CVMC.  The version currently on YouTube is just the performance (without subtitles) and cuts out all of the twentieth-century plot—with its nude scenes.

    For modern ballet movements set to Mozart's music, readers might want to check the Internet for Jiri Kylián's 17-minute Petit Mort of 1991.  The dancers wear skin-colored outfits.  There are a couple more short examples of fully nude ballet by other composers that I don't have room to describe.

    So yes, classical music, graceful movement, and beautiful nude bodies can all harmonize in a few fine movies.

The Place Is Beautiful; Wish You Were Here (May 2019)

    Actually, I prefer "The place is here; wish you were beautiful."

    This time, we look at films about tourists.  They form moving picture postcards of faraway places.

For the whole family:

    Iki Haole: Nico's Hawaiian Adventure (1995) is more travelogue than story.  It lasts 54 minutes—which is really stretching a 10-minute plot.  Surfing and swimming fill the rest of the time.  The first part of the title means "little foreigner."  Fifteen-year-old Nico from Rumania is visiting Hawaii (with no parents in sight).  He makes friends with a young man, who shows him around the island.

    Eventually, they figure out that they don't need shorts when swimming and sunbathing (but put them on again to go surfing with other guys).

    Caution: Advertising on the box seems aimed more at attracting gawkers than kids.  True enough, the theme is male bonding; women appear in only one scene.  There is a relieved hug after one of the surfers goes missing, but nothing worse.  Small children can safely watch this and see only people acting naturally amidst the natural wonders of Hawaii.

    Another good film for kids:  There have been lots and lots of Indiana Jones movies and television episodes.  The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Travels with Father (1996) appeared on television—which is surprising, because we see the ten-year-old boy and his father skinny-dipping.  We see more when sheep eat their clothes—but never anything frontal.

    While traveling in Russia with his family in 1908, our hero decides to run away from home.  He teams up with another runaway—the aging author, Count Leo Tolstoy.  In Greece, he meets a not-yet-famous author, Nikos Kazantzakis.

    This is not just a movie for children, but for the whole family.  There is enough discussion of Aristotle's philosophy to keep adults thinking.

    Though this episode is part of a series, a replacement disc was also sold separately as series 1, disc 6.  It comes with great extra features on Tolstoy, Russian authors, and Aristotle.  Or you can watch the movie free on the Internet.

For teens and older:

    National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985) does contain one teen bare-breasted scene, but it is intended as a sexual enticement.  We can do better than that silliness.

    Hideous Kinky (1998) takes us to Marakesh, Morocco of the early 1970s, where a young English woman has brought her two little girls to live as hippies.  (The title comes from two favorite expressions of the girls.)  We see things through the wonder-filled eyes of the younger daughter (whose absent father was famous painter of nudes, Lucien Freud—grandson of Sigmund).  Breath-taking local color abounds.  But there's not much plot.  Mostly, they drift from one place to another.

    This movie came as directors were growing fearful of showing nude children.  We briefly see adults skinny-dipping—but never the girls.

    Such fears did not affect Moroccan directors.  Ali Zaoua, Prince of the Streets came out two years later, and included a boy being bathed.  This award-winning film is a much darker story about glue-sniffing kids on the gang-infested streets of Casablanca.  Tourists don't visit that part of town.  The movie is in Arabic and French, with English subtitles.

    A young dreamer with grand plans dies early, and his friends struggle to bury him with the respect he deserves.  Watching this film is a sad yet powerful experience.

    A Room With a View (1985) is better than any of these other movies.  We meet English gentlefolk touring in Florence at the beginning of the twentieth century.  It describes well the charming fellow-travelers one meets while abroad.  Fans of dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench will be delighted to find younger versions of both here in supporting roles.

    E. M. Forster wrote the book, with its hilarious skinny-dip scene: the heroine's younger brother, the young man she will eventually marry, and the vicar all get caught trying to hide from the ladies.  There's enough full-frontal nudity for all to see.

    We watch the passionate young Edwardian heroine become her own woman, instead of doing what the proper Victorians expected of her.  It's a liberating and elegant film.

    So relax.  Just as there are many places to visit, there are many movies to also take you there.

On the Back Streets of India--June 2019

    Today, we look at movies about boys on the colorful, but sometimes rough, streets of India.

For the whole family:

    Maya (1966) has nothing to do with the Maya Indians; rather it takes place halfway around the world in eastern India, and Maya is the name of the mother elephant.  Around 1950, an American boy arrives at the railway station, but his game-hunter father is not there to meet him.  So he has to find his own way to his father's compound.  The two disagree, and the boy sets off on his own adventure.  He soon meets an orphaned Hindu boy (played by a Muslim actor) who is tasked with delivering a rare white baby elephant to a temple.  They must outwit thieves and tigers.

    Jay North, having just outgrown his role as Dennis the Menace, plays one of the boys.  We catch a rear view of him stripped down and drying off around the campfire.  But it was North's co-star, Sajid Khan, who became the teenage heartthrob.  Both boys were 14 with still-squeaky voices.

    The few people who have traveled to Mahabalipuram will laugh to see the boys arrive, after several harrowing adventures, at the Shore Temple—actually about a mile from the temples where they started.  But we're not supposed to know that.  Movie directors find their scenery where they can.

    The movie inspired a one-season American television series (without nudity, except for bathing a baby in the final episode).  It starred the same two young actors—though 16 and with deep voices by then.  This time, we never see the father, and the boys search for him while evading the police.  With the luxury of 18 hours, the search could extend from Bombay in western India, to Mysore in the south, to Kashmir far to the north.  The producers found time for a "Prince and the Pauper" episode, and a "Jungle Book" episode (but the wild boy who has never seen another human wears animal skins around his waist).  The series was not renewed, so the hero never found his father.  The original movie is better.

For Teens and Older:

    Salaam Bombay (1988) contains so little nudity that it scarcely qualifies as naturist-friendly.  But it is such a great movie that I recommend it anyway.  (The nude scene comes in the orphanage.  Two boys sit under a tree, discussing escape, while other boys shower in the background—only one of them totally nude.  We also glimpse a naked child—one of the many unknowing "extras" in everyday street scenes.  Director Mira Nair would show several instances of female nudity by the stars of her later film, Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love.)

    The street children in this movie are mostly pre-teen, but they live in the gritty red-light district of modern Bombay (now renamed Mumbai), where drug dealing is a persistent problem.  They witness things we would not willingly expose our younger children to.  Yet their lives spill over with joy.  In this movie, we learn to care when no one else does.

    Filmed in Hindi with English subtitles, Salaam Bombay is a moving experience.  The profits from this film have all gone to setting up a school to improve the lives of slum kids--a movement that is spreading to other large Indian cities.

    Those children are Hindu.  To understand the lives of Muslim street children in India, you might watch Slumdog Millionaire (2008)—also set in Bombay.  This film originally began with a little nude boy peeing from a rooftop onto a policeman below—great symbolism for what follows.  But to get an R instead of an X rating, the American makers took that nude scene out.  They kept another brief one.  They also kept a whole lot of violence (which the film raters seem to think is OK).  My disc comes with the omitted scenes separate—including a very important one about an opera based on Greek mythology that explains why the action suddenly switches from Agra back to Bombay.  (Play it between scenes 12 and 13.)

    The movie begins with police questioning a young man from the slums, who they suspect of cheating on a quiz show.  In a series of flashbacks, he reveals how he happened to know the answers to those particular questions.  And there is a seemingly hopeless romance.

    They get through the whole movie without the typical Indian interruptions of song and dance.  Then they cut loose with it during the end credits.  Balancing the grim parts, Slumdog Millionaire has its humorous moments and a happy ending.

    All of these movies give us a realistic glimpse—perhaps more realistic than we would like—of the hazzards children can face on the back streets of India.

Chinese Nudes in the Movies--July 2019

    This time, we look at movies set in China—a land where nudes rarely appeared in traditional art.

For the whole family:

    The Amazing Panda Adventure (1995) is not entirely original.  A spoiled American boy arrives in a strange land, but his wildlife-expert father got the date wrong, and is not there to meet him.  So he must find his own way to his father's compound.  Wait a minute.  Where have we seen this plot before?  It is the beginning of Maya (1966), reviewed last month.  Only this time, the action has moved to China, instead of India, and the elephants are replaced by cute pandas.  And instead of teaming up with a native boy, our hero meets a Chinese girl who is both a little older, and a little smarter, than he is.  Much of the charm of this movie lies in the friction between our two young heroes.

    In a panic to escape leaches, the children strip off and dive into clean water.  Then they wonder how to get out without each other seeing.  The boy puts it into perspective: "Me seeing you in the buff would not exactly be the thrill of my life."  The audience never witnesses anything but bare shoulders and a very distant view.

    Turning on the English subtitles does no good, for the Chinese bits are never translated—nor do they need to be.  The mountain scenery is magnificent in this heart-warming family movie.

    I'm not sure I should even mention Disney's Mulan (1998).  Though intended for kids, there's lots of cartoon and military violence.  It's another case of a girl disguising herself as a boy—until skinny-dip time comes.  She bathes in a lake, but we see only above her shoulders and below her knees.  We see lots of men below the knees, and a few fat ones above the waist.

    This movie is supposed to encourage girls to be independent, smart, and to dare great things.

    Six years later, Disney released an unremarkable Mulan 2, without nudity.  Five years after that, a Chinese movie with real actors came out—but it lacked any skinny-dip scene.  Disney has announced plans for a version with live actors in 2020—but nobody has said anything yet about implied nudity.

For teens and older:

    The Big Road (1935) was a Chinese silent film, with goofy sound effects added later.  Much of that sound track has since deteriorated.  The English captions don't stay up long enough.  We follow six young men and two girls working on a road-building crew.  For about three minutes, the girls observe the men skinny-dipping—though at such a distance that not much detail shows.

    After an hour in search of a plot, the movie turns to a traitorous leader and a Japanese attack.  This is propaganda.  Though most of our heroes die at the end, their spirit and coöperative work live on.

    The Last Emperor (1987) is the accurate life story of Henry Pu-yi, the last boy-emperor of China.  He later became the Japanese puppet emperor of Manchuria, where his ancestors originally came from.

    Early in the movie, we see the little boy splashing in his bath; and a couple of times, we see his nurse's breast.  That's all of the nudity.  His wife eventually becomes an opium addict, so we witness how devastating that can be.  You may have to explain what a eunuch is.

    Much of the movie takes place in a Chinese Communist prison, with lots of flashbacks to happier days when life moved on a grand scale in the Forbidden City.  The film was made in English, with a few Japanese remarks left untranslated.

    A genuine Chinese film, Red Cherry (1996) contains a delightful scene of Russian boys and girls in separate shower rooms, throwing water over the wall between them, until the makeshift building collapses.  Then Nazis invade, and the plot turns too ugly for children (or anyone else) to see.  Besides pointless deaths, permanent scars include a large Nazi tattoo on the bare back of one girl.  This sobering movie is a powerful indictment against the harm that war does to children, but it's disturbing to watch.

    People who make decisions about war need to see this.  I'm not sure we all do.  And I'm not sure at what age.  I find it hard to recommend beyond the charming first 25 minutes.  English subtitles cover the Russian, German, and Chinese conversation.

    Though Chairman Mao had been an enthusiastic skinny-dipper, the Chinese government censors with a heavy hand.  So it is not surprising that three of these five movies with nudity are American or British.

Movie Nudity During the Hays Code Years (July 2019)

    This time, we go way back to some old classic movies with innocent nudity.  (Movies I already reviewed are marked with an asterix.)

For the whole family:

    The Blue Bird of 1918 should not be confused with the 1940 remake starring Shirley Temple.  This one is silent, black-and-white, and deteriorated in spots.  Yet it has remained a classic for a century.  Frankly, the later talking film is easier for children to understand, but Hollywood had banned nudity by then.

    Both movies follow a story by Maurice Maeterlinck of a young boy and girl who dream about their sugar, bread, milk, and fire all coming to life.  Together, they search through magical realms for the bluebird of happiness.  (Maeterlinck lived in Belgium, where no birds are blue.)

    There was no movie censorship in those early years, so ordinary nudity does appear—in this case, connected with sleeping.  But you have to look fast, or you'll miss it.  Some viewers today get alarmed because the little boy and girl take off their shirts while getting ready for bed (she with her back turned).  That, of course, is not nudity.  But the children later see the personification of Sleep as a young nude boy who simply lies there sleeping.  His slightly draped sister sleeps near him.  Big deal.  Yet the movie has enduring charm.

    When local communities started enacting a patchwork of censorship laws, movie producers decided it would be better to have one national standard of self-censorship.  They began in 1934 by removing the female skinny-dip from Tarzan and His Mate.*

    Some of the prohibitions made good sense—no murders for instance.  Others worked against public health—forbidding any mention of venereal disease, or showing of surgery.  And others were just plain dumb—such as no ridiculing of clergymen.  There could be no interracial couples.  Married couples could not be seen in the same bed, and kisses had to end after three seconds.  Child Bride* (1938) could break several of these rules because it was produced independently, and not under control of the Hollywood studios.

    Penrod and His Twin Brother (1938) was based on Booth Tarkington's novels about the mischievous boys, Penrod, Sam, and their friends.  The movie versions copied the chaos of Our Gang, but with the heroes in their early teens.  (Throw in a bunch of bank robbers, the police, a kidnaping, a pesky dog, and you have a lot of action, if not a lot of coherence.)

    This particular movie was concocted only because the studio had twin boy actors under contract for The Prince and the Pauper (1937), and they were looking for somewhere else the boys could star.  So they invented a plot of the hero and his dog mistaken for look-alikes.

    Typical of the time (but not the movie rules), the gang goes skinny-dipping.  We actually see just one naked boy dive, and only for a second, and only from the side.  Moreover, he was the youngest boy, and the only black boy in the gang.  It's the old National Geographic syndrome, where it's OK to see black people nude, but not white people.  Be aware that this movie contains both racial equality and insulting racial stereotypes.  (The boy's name is Vermin.)  After the dive, the other boys stand arguing in waist-deep water without revealing anything.  (The nude diver appears to be wearing something by then.)

For teens and older:

    Kings Row (1942) begins with a schoolboy and a schoolgirl skinny-dipping together.  All is trust, innocence, and normal expected behavior.  We see only her back, and don't see him below the neck.  The boy later mentions that he does not wear underwear.

    The original novel by Henry Bellamann focused on the teen years, and did not shrink from such controversial topics as teen sex, atheism, race, homosexuality, suffering from cancer, mercy killing, incest, and a hanging.  The movie took all of those things out, jumping abruptly from childhood to early adulthood.  The movie also put a different girl in the swimming scene—which makes better sense.

    So how did the skinny-dip make it past the censors in those Hays Code years?  Nobody seems to know.  Perhaps that seemed tame, in comparison to all the things they feared might be included.  Even Ronald Reagan was proud to have his name listed in one of his best roles.

    By the late 1950s, several famous movie directors began openly breaking the rules.  Walt Disney, for instance, struck a blow for freedom in 1960 by taking the skinny-dip scene that had been censored out of Tom Sawyer in 1938, and recreating it at the beginning of Pollyanna,* where it really had nothing to do with the plot.

    Movie producers then went to an age-appropriate rating system that still leaves much to be desired.  American movie raters get far more alarmed about innocent nudity than about violence and murder.  European countries have long been more relaxed.

Great Latin-American Family Movies  (Sept. 2019)

    Here are three fine movies for Spanish-speaking families.  (Others can view them with English subtitles.)  All three are about boys.  We also consider a dramatization of a family novel from Chile.

For the whole family:

    La Gran Aventura (1969) is a Mexican movie.  Two boys (age 9 and maybe 11) plus a dog get separated from their families, and are on the run from the police.  Stowing away on truck, train, bus, horse, hay wagon, plane, and boat, they criss-cross hundreds of miles through three states in southern Mexico.  The whole movie is one long chase scene, meeting lots of humorous and greedy scoundrels along the way.

    Other boys participate in just one scene, but oddly, only these two wear shorts.  When the boys pause for a skinny-dip, it's brief and without revealing anything frontal.

    You will need to explain some cultural things, such as religious pilgrimages, pre-Aztec ruins, and differing expressions in Mexican Spanish and that of Spain (like the differences between British and American English).  This old classic can be watched—with English subtitles—on YouTube.  Several other movies have similar names.

    Less known, but more interesting, La Ultima Batalla (1993) translates as The Final Battle.  Five little Mexican boys are skinny-dipping when an old tramp steals their clothes.  But, unlike in our culture, the boys feel more worried about covering their butts from the eyes of the townspeople, than hiding anything in front.  This challenge is the beginning of a war that both sides thoroughly enjoy.  It gives the dying old man a reason to keep living, and the boys learn to love their resourceful adversary.

    The action keeps switching between the boys and their various families—some rich, some poor.  It can be a bit confusing at first.

    This heart-warming film is available for free on the Internet (with the option of ungrammatical English subtitles).  Physical copies in Spanish are easy to find, but about the only source with the awkward English subtitles is CVMC.

For teens and older:

    Chronicle of a Boy Alone (1965) was banned in Argentina for 30 years--not because of the nudity, but because it showed the harsh police-state for what it really was.  The eleven-year-old hero escapes from a strict and boring reformatory, to enjoy one day of glorious freedom.  He smokes cigarettes, skinny-dips with other boys for a long time, appreciates the small beauties of nature, and liberates an old cart-horse.

    But Fascist attitudes have infected even such basic freedoms as skinny-dipping; some boys bully another one.  Our hero fails to intervene.

    This has been voted the best film ever made in Argentina.  But it is not for everyone.  The action moves slowly, filmed in black-and-white, and the English subtitles are hard to read.  Yet it remains a moving experience.

    House of the Spirits (1993) tells the story of a self-made man in Chile and his gentle clairvoyant wife.  It follows the novel of Isabella Allende, cousin of murdered Chilean president, Salvador Allende.  We see a country move from unfeeling aristocracy, to brief hope for equality, to brutal military dictatorship.  That part really happened.

    The skinny-dip scene is brief: a little boy and girl having great fun.  Actually, they did it every summer as they were growing up, but we see them only when they started school.  For, unlike the other three movies that give us a snapshot of a short period of time, this one sweeps through the decades.  (People who have read the book complain that the film truncates the younger generations in an effort to keep it simple.)  Through it all, the less-than-admirable hero does eventually grow in understanding and love.  It is still a powerful movie.

    This is available in the original Spanish or dubbed into English.  (That means the lips occasionally move in awkward ways.)

    Tu Solo (from Spain, rather than Latin America) was reviewed earlier.  So, Spanish-speaking families rejoice.  There are several naturist-friendly movies you can enjoy together.

The Classic Nudist Films (Oct. 2019)

    This happens to be the 50th article in my series of nudist-friendly family-friendly movie reviews.  Who would have thought there are so many fine films available?  I certainly did not when I started.

    What better occasion then, to state the obvious?  In all this time, I have yet to mention the movies made especially for nudists.

For the whole family:

    It's time to revisit that wonderful old family classic, Garden of Eden (1954).  A mother and daughter's car breaks down outside Lake Como Family Nudist Resort in Florida.  They have to stay a few days, and they learn to like the place.  The woman is fleeing from her crabby father-in-law.  But when he sees how much his granddaughter enjoys the freedom and friendliness, he softens up, rediscovers his humanity, and becomes an enthusiastic member.

    For 20 years, there had been amateurish movies about nudist parks—with lots of ample-breasted young women moving about.  But this was the first one in color, the first one with real actors, and the first one with a real plot.  And this time, the emphasis was on family.

    The American Sunbathing Association sponsored the filming.  ASA executive director Norval Packwood even played the (always clothed) camp director.  But, as in the earlier movies, cameramen never showed anything frontal below the waist (lots of breasts and butts, though).  Would you believe that all the men and women put on shorts to play volleyball?  One woman appears several times carrying a strategically placed duck.  The silly duck scenes have been edited out of my copy.

For teens and older:

    All of these naturist films are safe enough for small children, but the following probably will not hold their attention:

    One of the earliest nudist films, Elysia, Valley of the Nude (1933), was really little more than  an illustrated lecture on the health benefits of nude living.  It also avoided anything frontal below the belt, but at least nobody put on clothes to play volleyball in the distance.  And unlike most movies that followed, this one used a heroine of believable proportions.  It was filmed at Elysian Fields in California.  Every serious nudist should see this pioneering black-and-white movie at least once.

    But let's face it; most deliberately nudist films are pretty bad.  Nude on the Moon (1960) is so bad that it's funny.  Two scientists (dressed more like medieval knights) supposedly reach the moon and find it inhabited by bare-breasted young women wearing antennae on their heads.  About all these women do is pose for the camera—which gets boring fast.  Doris Wishman cranked out several nudie-cutie films like this one. 

    The low-tech rocket ship invites comparison with the much more entertaining Mouse on the Moon (1963 sequel to the powerful Mouse that Roared).  Though they contained no nudity, at least those movies had plots and interesting people—maybe even a lesson to teach us.

    Far better to watch Educating Julie (1984), an English nudist movie with real class.  A shy college girl is given a summer research topic: Nudity in the Eighties.  Reluctantly, she visits a couple of British nudist clubs, then goes to Cap d'Agde in France, and a resort in Florida, gaining confidence along the way.

    In a real breakthrough, this movie shows nudity naturally and fully (except for a funny scene of her boyfriend's sudden nervousness).  Children are present, but not prominent.  Though it covers all of the nudist lecture points, this one is a joy to watch.

    For something different, The Naked Venus (1958) is not bad as a divorce court drama—hardly part of the experience of most teenagers.  But adults may enjoy this look into the past, when many people judged visiting a nudist retreat as a moral character flaw.

    In this black-and-white film, an American mama's boy marries a French art model and nudist.  But when he brings her and their daughter home to mother, the older woman objects, and sparks fly.  After a lot of heartbreak, he eventually comes to his senses and recognizes the importance of his new family.

    So there are several nudist films worth watching.  Yet some things don't seem to change.  Notice that every one of these movies has a naked woman on the cover, because that's what sells.

    Until recently, Something Weird Video kept these movies in print.  Now that company has gone out of business, and prices have skyrocketed.  Most of these important films can still be watched online through Amazon.

    We will discuss more recent nudist films on another day.

In the Jungles of South America (Nov. 2019)

    This time, we look at the long tradition of people living naturally.

For the whole family:

    I have not yet found a movie about nude South American tribes that young children would understand.  But there are three fine ones where the boy wears nothing but a breechclout at all times.  The Venezuelan Ya-Koo (1985) shows a native boy and a persnickety young nun canoeing into the jungle.  There are some sad moments.  (Long unavailable, it is now on YouTube—but in Spanish only.)  Disney's English-language Jungle 2 Jungle (1997) is also a good clean family movie of a boy always in loincloth.  Never mind that this is an almost exact copy of the French film, Little Indian, Big City (1994).  The Disney version has slightly more charm.

    For full nudity, let us look instead to North American Indians.  Blauvogel (1979) is an East German film about an English boy, kidnaped and raised by Iroquois during the French and Indian War.  They rename him Bluebird—not because of his blue eyes, but because that was the name of the dead son he is replacing.  (The movie title is usually left in German to avoid confusion with famous American films also called The Blue Bird).

    Granted, it is a bit jarring to hear Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Iroquois all conversing in German (and understanding each other).  You can find the movie with English subtitles at CVMC.

    They shot the film in Romania—which explains why none of the bird calls sound familiar, none of the trees look recognizable, the canoes are not made of birch bark, and nobody knows how to properly paddle one.

    Like most movies on Native Americans, this one makes the mistake of overdressing the women and girls.  In 1755, Iroquois of both sexes still went shirtless all summer.  You won't see any of that in the movie.  You do see the boy nude for ritual bathing a couple of times.  And he goes skinny-dipping with his adoptive father and sister—though they mostly stay submerged.

    The movie does not shrink from showing the grittier side of Indian life—from winter hunger to gutting an elk.  It's still OK for small children.

    Then the plot jumps from age 10 to age 17, when the war has ended and prisoners are being exchanged.  Our hero must now choose between two ways of life.

For teens and older:

    The Mission (1986) retells events that actually happened on the Argentina-Brazil border in 1750.  Jesuit missionaries had done a good job of protecting the Indians from slave-catchers.  Now, to preserve their position of privilege in Spain and Portugal, the Catholic church has decided to abandon their South American responsibilities.

    Some missionaries refuse to leave their post, including one who had once been a slave-catcher.  Their methods differ, raising an important question of whether religious people should resist force with force.

    We see some bare breasts, but the missionaries have gotten most of the women into dresses.  Young boys do remove their loincloths to enjoy swimming.  After the missions have been destroyed and promises broken, only a few children survive.  Symbolically, the first thing they do is throw off all clothing, and retreat to the safety of the jungle where their ancestors lived.

    There's some powerful music in this movie.

    At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1991) is a glorious three-hour movie about modern Protestant missionaries among tribesmen of the Amazon.  The plot follows three intertwining stories.  First, we have an aging missionary whose younger wife tells him he has shrunk in compassion over the years.  Second, we see a young missionary family.  The little boy quickly understands the native families, and the father tries very hard to.  The mother cannot adjust.  Third, we follow a half-Cheyenne pilot who strips off his clothes and goes native as he searches to understand himself and his heritage.

    We see lots of genuine nudity.  These are real Indians—men and women wearing only the tiniest of genital coverings, while the children roam completely nude.  White people occasionally get nude too.

    Though devoted fans keep asking for it, there has never been an official DVD version of this fine movie; yet The Vermont Movie Store advertises one.  You can also watch it on an old cassette tape, or online at Amazon.

    These two movies are magnificent; Medicine Man (1992) is merely good.  The young woman in charge of a medical research organization comes to check up on a reclusive and grumpy doctor in his jungle laboratory.  Through several adventures, they gradually come to appreciate each other.

    The tribespeople live nearly nude.  In one humorous shot, the camera pans past several bare breasts to the covered breasts of the visiting researcher.

    Altogether, these are some fine movies about native people living naturally.

After Your Swash Has Buckled (Dec. 2019)

    This time, we consider two movies about aging swordsmen, one about a modern tale-spinner on his deathbed, and one about an electrical engineer grown old before his time.  Surprisingly, these geriatric stories also have appeal for young people.

For the whole family:

    The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) follows the fantastic exploits of an old swashbuckler during the new Enlightenment of the 1700s, when rationality mattered.  It's a plea for imagination. 

    A little girl accompanies him on his travels.  Among the many adventures, we glimpse a few discreetly nude women in the sultan's harem, and witness the appearance of a shy Venus on the clamshell—complete with naked little cupids.

    Unfortunately, there is a constant background of war, with heavy bombardment—though nobody seems to die from it.  There are also heads floating around separate from their bodies.  While intended for the whole family, this is not a movie for those prone to nightmares.  Parental guidance is needed.

For teens and older:

    Big Fish (2004) is about a son's tracking down his dying father's tall tales about his adventures—only to discover they are mostly true.  We learn that a big fish needs a big pond to grow.  Three times, we see brief male or female nudity—mostly backsides.  This heart-warming movie should not be missed.

    In contrast, I knew an architect who defined himself by his job.  And when he lost his job, he lost his sense of who he was.  He eventually found his way back to his inner child, and from there was able to head out in a new direction.  That's sort of what Box of Moonlight (1996) is about.

    The middle-aged main character is a productive boss, but way too clock-obsessed.  That attitude also poisons his almost nonexistent family life.  Then he meets a free-spirited young man who jolts him into seeing life from a fresh perspective.  We witness brief male nudity on a few occasions—mostly skinny-dipping.

    This movie is a lesson for those going through a mid-life crisis; but teenagers can also appreciate the younger characters.  Be aware that one of them uses rough language.
    Combining all of these age-related themes (and better than any of them), The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) is about teenagers and their fathers—mostly their fathers.  These were none other than the aging three musketeers (who had always been four).  Alexandre Dumas wrote two sequels about his heroes twenty years after, and thirty years after their heyday.  The second sequel ran so long that it is usually broken into three separate volumes of adventures.  This is the last.  It has been filmed ten times.

    According to legend, King Louis XIV had an identical twin brother, who was kept in prison to avoid succession problems.  But young Louis grew up to become increasingly nasty.  So the four old musketeers decide to switch the twins—both played by handsome young Leonardo DiCaprio.

    The only nudity is an attempted romp in the hay by the old sensual Porthos.  (That same year, DiCaprio sued Playgirl to prevent their publishing frontal nude pictures of him.  By now, there are plenty of them around.)

    For an even better drama about aging, let me also mention On Golden Pond (1981), and the reluctant friendship that develops between a grumpy old high school principal and his tough new step-grandson.  Unfortunately, we never see anyone below the neck during the much-discussed skinny-dipping.  But we do see Henry and Jane Fonda playing father and daughter just before his death.  This is the best movie on aging that I know of.

    I remember back in the 1960s when young people rebelled against the boring attitudes of their parents—only to discover that they had much more in common with their grandparents' generation.  That's the kind of movies these are.

Oriental Family Bathing (Jan. 2020)

    An ancient tradition of nude family bathing stretches from the saunas of Finland, across northern Russia, and down into Korea and Japan.

For the whole family:

    My Neighbor Totoro (1988) is an early Japanese cartoon by Hayao Miyazaki, better known for his later film, Spirited Away.  (A totoro—accented on the first syllable—is a large friendly wood spirit, visible only to children.)  A father and two small daughters move to an old house in the country, while their mother recuperates from tuberculosis at a sanitarium.  Miyazaki's own mother spent time in a sanitarium when he was a child, so he knew what it felt like for the children.

    At one point, we see the father and two daughters bathing together in a tub—as Japanese families have for centuries.  The end credits show a picture of the returned mother also bathing with her daughters.  Disney studios sponsored the English-dubbed version of the film, and they left the family bathing scenes in—much to the consternation of a few people on the Internet.

    A historical note: From time immemorial, Japanese families have bathed in sacred springs at Shinto temples.  In the late 1100s, military Shoguns took control of the government.  Under those no-nonsense soldiers, public bath houses flourished for whole families during the next 700 years.  But when the emperors took control once more in the late nineteenth century, they tried to cater to European and American customs, and decreed that men and women must bathe separately.  In many places, the locals simply strung a rope through the pool.  Families continued to bathe together in the privacy of their own homes.

For teens and older:

    Miyazaki got the idea of using his mother's illness as the subject of a cartoon after watching a 1984 movie from Taiwan, A Summer at Grandpa's.  Here too, the mother is hospitalized, so the 11-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter are sent to spend the summer with their maternal grandfather, a small-town doctor whose family lives above his office.

    When the boys go skinny-dipping, they think it improper that the little sister watches.  She says it's because they are ashamed.  Then we get the usual movie gag: she throws their clothes in the river, and they have to sneak home naked.  We never do see anything frontal.

      Amidst the simple everyday fun, the boy learns a lot that summer about adult responsibilities—including how people adjust to a couple of unplanned pregnancies.  This movie touches on some heavy questions, such as whether the mentally retarded should have children.

    The film-making is primitive by American standards, with scenes that linger longer than expected, and digitally flawed bleed-ins.  Be warned: the online viewing sites claiming to have English subtitles are loaded with viruses.  You can safely buy a rather expensive copy at CVMC—where they occasionally put it on sale.

    Now we consider a couple of questionable films.

    There are many reasons to not recommend the South Korean movie, Don't Tell Papa (2004)—also known as Raising My Dad.  These include vulgar language, frequent hitting, drunkenness, and transgendered dancers.  If you can get past those distractions, it is actually a warm story of a boy growing up with his loving but immature father, while missing his mother.  This is a cautionary tale about teenagers having a baby before they have grown up, themselves.  The priest at the end makes sure everybody gets that point.

    This joyous movie begins with a long scene in a men's bath house (where the men keep their backs to the camera.)  Later, we see the mother and her eight-year-old son bathing in a traditional round tub.

    The movie is in Korean, and the English subtitles are hard to find.  (Click setup, then go to the last box, last Korean choice, and hit enter.  When the highlight moves, hit enter again.)

    Different families have different values.  If you happen to think a heavy dose of militarism is good for your kids, you can find another brief humorous scene of Japanese nude family bathing in The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954).  In the murky green water, we really can't see anyone below the neck.  Instead, we watch the Americans' embarrassed reactions.  I cannot recommend the sad and violent ending for young children.

    Yet there is nothing exotic about family bathing.  The Japanese were just many centuries ahead of us in the construction of indoor bathrooms.  I remember when most rural American families had an outhouse.  On Saturday night (more often in the summer), Mother would bring the two washtubs into the kitchen, and we would take turns: first my little brother and sister, then me and the sister my age, then my parents.  It's the most ordinary thing in the world.  These movies remind us of our very recent past.

More Movies About Boys (Feb. 2020)

    Sexy movies frequently feature nude women.  If you are looking for non-sexual nudity, the subject is more likely to be a boy.  (Girls and men need not apply to star in either type of film.)  Those are the conventions of the movie world.  And so it is not surprising that today we consider more movies about boys.

For the whole family:

    Actually, The Bruce Nutting Story (c.1990) is one nudist family's private slide show that escaped onto the Internet, where it was sometimes sold as I Was a Teenage Nudist.  Today, it is very rare; you may have to go to Sunsport Gardens or a nudist library to see it.  Mine is a copy of a copy with some discoloration.  Nonetheless, nudist families will love it.

    The half-hour slide show documents the building of Sunsport Gardens in Florida, and how much fun that was for the kids.  (To this day, Sunsport has lots of families and a fine youth camp.)  As a teenager, Bruce helped develop the first youth camp at Sunsport.  This film is especially good for teenagers who go through delayed puberty, because he frankly discusses his own experience as a late developer.

    I knew Bruce Nutting's mother when she ran the office at Sunsport Gardens.  By then, Bruce was grown up and gone.  One time, Bruce's daughter was visiting her grandmother.  The girl had never seen the film.  So we all sat down and watched it then and there.  She got to see her father at about her own age.  She loved it.

For teens and older:

    The title of Les Turlupins (1980) is often translated as The Rascals.  The title is an interesting choice, because the original Turlupins were a group of medieval French Christians who, according to their enemies, worshiped nude.

    But the movie is about a Catholic boarding school for boys in occupied France during World War II.  (Young viewers need to be aware that Germans occupied much of France, and that people who collaborated with them—such as the mayor in the movie—were later despised as traitors.)

    We see several loosely connected boys' pranks, held together by one boy's hesitant search for a first girlfriend.  She turns out to be a bit older, taller, and more experienced than him.  There are four brief nude scenes: lots of boys in the shower room, a side view of a girl, another girl's breasts, and a couple getting dressed.  It's all quite discreet.

    The film is in French, with hard-to-read English subtitles.

    Teenagers (2011) is one of the most powerful movies so far in the 21st century.  Though too quiet for some people's taste, it has won many awards.  It explores a novel idea: What if someone actually followed the teachings of Jesus?  Lucas is a young man with the mind of a child.  He writes songs about love and religious harmony—and he doesn't like to wear clothes.  Muslim extremists send a boy to assassinate him.  But Lucas treats the boy with such kindness for many days, that the two of them enter heaven together.

    From there, Lucas is sent back in time as a nude teen angel to help another boy who is going through a period of bitterness.

    The last third of this long movie switches to the present, when yet another boy, inspired by the example of Lucas, is able to save a teen gang leader from suicide.  This is heavy stuff.

    We see no violence—just quiet conversation.  But all of the characters speak in such rapid French that you cannot read all of the English subtitles the first time through.  It helps that each voice is printed in a different color.  Though it includes nude teen boys and a few sympathetic hugs, this is not a sexual movie.

    Because of its importance, the film-makers have put the last third, called Alexis, on YouTube for free.  It keeps some of the nudity, but for the full impact, you need to see the whole movie.  Yet for a film this good, it's surprisingly hard to find.  CVMC has it.

    Adriaan Litzroth of the Netherlands did his painting of nude guardian angels a decade or two before this movie came out, but the spirit is similar.

    So here we have three movies about nude boys—two of them excellent.

Sports Movies Without Jockstraps (Mar. 2020)

    The Greek word, "gymnasium" means "place of nakedness."  We seem to have forgotten that.

For the whole family:

    No Bikini (2007) is a charming little eight-and-a-half-minute Canadian film.  A seven-year-old girl removes her ill-fitting bikini top and passes for a long-haired boy through six weeks of summer swim lessons.  (They have curtained changing stalls, and apparently are not required to shower.)  Thinking that boys should be brave, she overcomes her fear of the high dive, and takes the top medal in her class.  This is a movie about self-empowerment.

    You can buy this on a disc called Festival Shorts Collection, but it contains other films not appropriate for children.  You might better watch this short one online.

For teens and older:

    Cold Showers (2005) is a movie about a poor French boy who serves as captain of his high school judo team.  He is so poor that he has to take cold showers at home to save on electricity.  Yet he attends a fancy school, where his mother works as a night shift janitor.  With her key, he can sneak into the gym for extra workouts on the exercise machines.  Sometimes, he brings his long-time girlfriend, and they play around in the pool or ice-skating rink.  (Don't confuse her with his older sister, who looks similar.)

    [The Bulletin refused to print the next paragraph.]

    He is asked to help train a rich boy.  Once or twice, they even share his willing girlfriend.  (Contrary to rumor, in no way is this a gay film.)

    We see full locker room nudity, and a less revealing love scene.  We also see athletes slipping off their shorts to qualify during weigh-in—a practice very common until recently, when cell-phone cameras appeared everywhere.  And at home, the high school senior steps out of the shower without bothering to cover himself around his mother (though we only see him above the waist there).

    Like a bulemic, the boy struggles to lose a significant amount of weight, so he can wrestle in a lighter category.  This abuse of his body makes him question the whole purpose of sports.

    The home disc was issued with subtitles in various languages, but all versions have become expensive.  You can now see it on the Internet for free.

    No movie about Greece has ever shown properly undressed athletes.  The closest we can come to ancient Greek nudity is Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia (1936), where a statue of the ancient Discus Thrower springs to life as an athlete seen only in silhouette.  Incidentally, the historic torch relay race happened during the Panathenaic Festival in Athens, and was never part of the ancient or modern Olympics until 1936, when Riefenstahl popularized it in this movie.

    This was the controversial Nazi Berlin Olympics, presided over by Adolf Hitler.  There, black American racer, Jesse Owens, famously blew a hole in Hitler's white superiority theories.

    The second part of the long film follows Finnish athletes from skinny-dipping in the pond to the sauna and back.  There is nothing here that small children can not watch.  But without a plot, they would probably get bored.

    The black-and-white movie was edited in German, British, and American versions.  You want the German version, because it includes more male and female nudity (including a brief view of Riefenstahl, herself, dancing).  About the only narration is athletes' names and their countries.  Once you figure out that "oosa" is USA, the rest is easy.

    Though there are several purported documentary films on the ancient Greek Olympics, zero of them show nudity.  There is one other possibility.  For 22 years, Tallahassee Naturally sponsored the College Greek Athletic Meet.  This was not the usual silliness of fat nudists tossing eggs or running with garbage can lids.  Rather, it was the world's only authentically nude re-enactment of the ancient Greek pentathlon.  In the only departure from ancient practice, male and female students competed on the same day.  Very amateur home movies have been edited to tell the story of a single day.  The early photography is poor, but it's all we have.  College Greek Athletic Meet (2017) has never been distributed, yet can be viewed at the American Nudist Research Library.  Small children could watch, but would soon run out of patience.

    Earlier articles in this series have mentioned the nude locker room scenes in non-sport movies such as Steel Magnolias (male), The Invisible Kid (female), Just One of the Guys (male), Sixteen Candles (female), and Flirting (male).  More such scenes are yet to come.

Some Movies About Uncommon Families (April 2020)

    Families come in many varieties.  And they sometimes find themselves in unusual situations.  We look at five such movies.

For the whole family:

    The World of Ludovic (1993) is an uncommon Belgian movie (made for television) about the neglected latchkey children of affluent career parents.  A 12-year-old boy and girl find each other—and the first real affection in their lives.  At that age, she is the taller, but has no breasts yet.  Way too young for anything sexual, they do engage in some hugging and kissing while nude or partially so.  It seems to be just an innocent desire for some physical closeness with anybody.  While adults are bewildered, her younger brother understands and helps them.

    Be aware that the movie also contains a female documentary photographer of unclear motives, and examples of frustrated self-mutilation.  It raises questions of what is normal behavior, and what is not.  Answers don't come easily.  Some family discussion may be needed afterward.

    The characters speak Dutch and French—with English subtitles.

    Let me give only passing mention to Boy Takes Girl (1982), sometimes called Boy Meets Girl.  When an Israeli husband-and-wife doctor team go to help refugees, they leave their 10-year-old daughter to stay in a kibbutz.  She is told that young boys and girls are expected to shower together, but we never actually see it.

    The title refers to choosing partners for a folk dance.  All of the children worry too much about boyfriends and girlfriends.  At one point, they act out a scene from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Dubbed into English, it's a pleasant family movie, but not nude.

For teens and older:

    I Love You Rosa (1972) wrestles with an old Jewish law (Deuteronomy 25: 5-10) that if a man dies childless, his brother should marry the widow and raise up children.  But what if the widow is 20 and the brother is only 12?  Obviously, some years will have to pass if this is going to work out.

    To complicate things, the boy's family doesn't want him, so the kindly widow, Rosa, ends up raising him as the child she never had.  He naively believes that someday they will marry.  The more realistic widow does not see how parental love can turn to romantic love.  Moreover, she wants to choose freely, and not be compelled by custom.

    We are spared the awkwardness of gradual transition by some years of separation, during which they can each get their heads around a changed relationship.  And we know from the beginning that Rosa will eventually become widowed a second time, and outlive her younger husband by many years.

    There is not much nudity in this film.  At one point, she bathes the boy, but he covers his genitals.  We see breasts on a couple of occasions.  The men wear towels in the steam room.  Still, it is a great and beautiful movie exploring different kinds of love.

    I suppose I should mention Confetti (2006).  They gathered the most famous British comedians and turned them loose for an improv session that is supposed to be funny.  Except it's not.  Three couples are selected for a most outlandish wedding contest.  One pair wants a nude wedding.  Unlike the others, their ceremony is quiet and dignified—while spectators watch with their mouths gaping open.

    We see some ordinary life at a nudist park, and that is supposed to pass for humor.  (There's more in the lengthy out-takes that they decided not to use.  And, surprisingly, we see more male nudity than female.)  At the end, the newlywed couple decide they are "over" nudism, and will from now on be nude only in front of a spouse.  What a horrible message.

    Actually, that happens in three of four possible endings.  If you pre-set it to the "Michael & Joanna" ending, they remain nudists, and the bride's originally shocked mother becomes a nudist too.  That helps, and almost saves this goofy film.

    And finally a movie of interest mainly to parents.  Snap Decision (2001) documents the horror that can unfold when photographs of innocent family nudity are taken to be developed.  Though digital photography has eliminated the need for outside surveillance at that point, the threat from overzealous officials has not gone away.

    We see small children without shirts.  The youngest girl appears nude only from the back.  But that doesn't stop policemen with dirty minds.  A loving mother tries frantically to keep such warped people from robbing her children's innocence.  It's a cautionary tale.

    In all of these movies, love binds people together.  And where there is love, we find family.

Northern Childhood (May 2020)

    This time, we consider four wondrous Scandinavian family movies, and a Canadian film that spans a whole lifetime.

For the whole family:

    Svampe (1990) is a Norwegian movie about a nine-year-old boy, nicknamed Svampe—which means mushroom.  I don't know why.  It's summer vacation, and his busy parents have no time for him.  So he lives much of his days in a fantasy land where he drives a train, goes on an adventure with a timid wizard, and rescues a lady in distress.

    In real life, we twice see him get out of bed nude—once in front of his mother.  It's a charming film intended for children.  You can watch it free—with English subtitles—on the Internet.

    Also from Norway, Sommerjubel (1986) is sometimes translated as Joy of Summer or Summer Rejoice.  This short 43-minute film shows two brothers (age 8 and 10) and two neighbor girls at the beginning of their summer vacation.  They begin by skinny-dipping a couple of times.  A romance develops between the boys' father and their teacher.  Otherwise, not a lot happens.

    The producers of this movie had fun playing around with sound effects.  It is available on the Internet in the original Norwegian; you can find it with English subtitles at CVMC.  It is a pleasant enough family movie without deep significance.

    Similar in tone and filmed the same year, The Children of Noisy Village is an autobiographical movie about the Swedish childhood of Astrid Lindgren, the author behind such wonderful children's books and movies as Ronja Rovardottar and You're Out of Your Mind, Maggie.  Yet this one is hardly known.  You can find it on tape, though it has never been put on disc.

    It's also summer vacation, and we see daily life in rural Sweden early in the twentieth century—including a too-brief skinny-dip.  One of the little girls narrates.  Originally filmed in Swedish, the movie has been dubbed into English.  (That term is too often misused.  It means that other actors redid the speaking parts in another language—so the lips occasionally move out of synch.)  That explains why some of the boys seem to have voices too deep for their age.

    There's not a lot of plot here either.  The atmosphere is sort of a Swedish Little House on the Prairie.  (That American book includes a visit to an Indian reservation, where the native children skinny-dip and ride their ponies bareback and bare-butt.  Bet you didn't see that in the television version.)  A sequel follows the same Swedish children into fall and winter, but without any more nudity.

    The Brothers Lionheart (1977), based on another book by Astrid Lindgren, is a serious family movie that comes to grips with children facing death.  We see a boy dying of tuberculosis before his tenth birthday.  His loving brother (aged about 18) comforts him with assurances of a fairy-tale afterlife, where he will be healthy enough to swim, enjoy campfires, and even fight dragons.

    Surprisingly, they both end up in that magical land, where everybody wears medieval clothes (which the brothers briefly take off to dry while fishing).  That's all of the nudity—though posed to reveal nothing.

    But all is not well in that pleasant land.  A band of evil soldiers has taken over part of it, and the young brothers join the underground resistance.  Yet when the time for war comes, the elder brother has the courage to declare himself a pacifist and refuses to participate.  He does, however, fight the artificial-looking dragon.

    The movie does not quite explain why people who have already died need to fear death again.  But the inseparable brothers overcome that fear a second time.

For teens and older:

    Map of the Human Heart (1992) is a fine Canadian film.  It follows a half-Eskimo boy from about age 10 through late middle-age, and his enduring love of a French-Cree girl.  They meet again in England during World War II.  Frankly, the war violence in this movie is pretty intense.

    We see the boy being bathed, and there is a discreet and beautiful love scene atop a blimp.  When he shows her x-ray to his benefactor, the man quips, "She's got no clothes on."  This is a case of an impossible love triangle, and yet we like all three.

    Originally running more than four hours, the film was cut down to less than half that length, leaving some gaps.  Still, it is a sweeping, heartfelt movie with moments of joy.  It has been issued with many different cover pictures.

    Though a few of these movies get into serious topics, all five are enjoyable to watch.

Lovable Rapscallions (June 2020)

    Not all movies have heroes.  Here are some that star mischievous and daring young people who make you smile.

For the whole family:

    In Gotcha (1991), a charming 12-year-old boy from an Italian family plays way too many practical jokes on other people.  You should see him wreck havoc in a supermarket—all without being discovered.  He finally receives his comeuppance when he gets locked outside, wearing only a towel—then loses the towel.  At one point, he escapes discovery by imitating a nude statue.  (Cameras avoided anything frontal.)

    Of course, this is all based on the assumption that people should find nudity embarrassing.  Still, the short 25-minute movie is a delight.

    This rare Australian film can be seen for free in two parts on YouTube.  It should not be confused with an earlier spy movie of the same name.

    And how can we fail to mention America's favorite dysfunctional family?  The Simpsons Movie (2007) has a famous nude scene (scene 5) that lasts only a couple of minutes.  Naked Bart glides by on his skateboard, with the visual devices for hiding his genitals becoming more and more contrived.  Finally, we see only what had been hidden before.  Such in-your-face humor delights children and adults alike.  In fact, some of the humor and cultural references will pass right over the heads of children, so I recommend this silly cartoon for the whole family.  It has been issued under a variety of covers.

For teens and older:

    On a more serious level, The Reivers (1969) dramatizes William Faulkner's last novel, finished just before his death.  (Reivers is an old Scottish word meaning robbers.)  This is a gentle tale of childhood, and one wild weekend during which the 11-year-old boy learns more of the adult world than his parents would have preferred.  These adventures include "borrowing" the family car, horse racing, a nasty southern sheriff, racial injustice, a house of ill repute, and the power of loving forgiveness—quite an education.  The best part comes at the end, when the boy has a heart-to-heart talk with his wise grandfather.

    As in the original Tom Sawyer and Pollyanna, the boys' skinny-dip scene comes during the opening credits to set the mood of wholesome small-town America at the beginning of the twentieth century.  This time, black and white boys splash together.  Swimming has nothing to do with the plot, though on a later occasion,  the main characters do bathe in a stream to clean up.

    Scout Toujours (1985) or Scout Always is not a warm and fuzzy French version of Follow Me Boys.  Rather, we have another poor inexperienced sap trying to lead the Boy Scout troop from Hell.  They crippled their last leader.  But, after many mishaps, our unlikely hero wins their respect by his actions in an emergency.

    We see the assistant scoutmaster showering, and catch a brief glimpse of a young woman sunbathing.  But the boys always wear swimsuits, or jump in the water fully uniformed.  It's an odd combination.

    This movie is hard to find with English subtitles; CVMC and dvd.com have it.

    Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) is an edgy teen movie that wrestles with tough topics like teen pregnancy, abortion, and marijuana.  Yet the characters delight.  The author of the book disguised himself as a high school senior, and went back to school to listen to how teenagers talk.  He caught it dead-on.  That part is not in the movie.

    We see a bit of female nudity, and bare breasts on a couple of occasions.  But movie raters made them remove the one male nude scene.  Men and boys still go into raptures over the glimpse of actress Phebe Cates' breasts—not realizing she had just finished filming a more natural movie, Paradise, where she was fully nude much of the time.

    It was one of the first high school movies from a teen viewpoint.  Lots of others followed, but this one remains a cult classic.

    On a different topic, Anarchy TV (1998) is the nuttiest movie I ever hope to see.  With psychedelic visual effects, it stars the children of Frank Zappa (who do not get nude).  A minister manages to buy a struggling public access TV station, and he fires all of the young people there (including his daughter).  Striking a blow for public access to information, the fired workers take over the station by force, and appeal for public support.  Nobody cares—until they take off their clothes and start doing nude aerobics on television.

    The nudity is purely non-sexual.  This film is worth seeing once.  Don't miss the great quotations spliced into the end credits.

    The daring young people in most of these movies will capture your heart.

Journeys of Discovery (July 2020)

    Journeys of discovery can happen anywhere.  In two of today's three movies, they happen in Australia.

For the whole family:

    I was misled.  I watched Standing Up (2013) after reading a plot outline that a bunch of American campers stripped an insecure twelve-year-old boy and girl and left them stranded on an island.  The outline then claimed that they made the best of the situation, surviving nude and confident for a few days, becoming the envy of all the other campers.  Now that would have been a movie worth gathering the children around to watch.  Unfortunately, it was never made.

    Instead, the two campers are nude for a couple of minutes at the beginning, while the camera never, ever dips below his waist or her shoulders.  He swims a mile, towing a girl who can't swim, and without even losing the towel wrapped around his waist.  She drags her blanket through all that water, and it mysteriously dries enough to keep her warm the rest of the night.  They steal a few changes of clothing, and survive by petty thievery and deception.  They do grow confident in their abilities, but never in their own bodies.

    Based on a popular book called The Goats, it's an entertaining movie, but a wasted opportunity—an example of how scared 21st-century American film makers are running.  Yet it may be worth watching just to discuss what could have been.

For teens and older:

    Let us instead look to a real classic that also began as a children's book: Walkabout (1971).  Basically, an Australian aboriginal boy guides two lost white children across the desert.  But director Nicholas Roeg added new depth, juxtaposing contrasts between simple natural living, and the frenzied pointlessness of civilization.

    In the book, the 13-year-old girl and her 7-year-old brother come from South Carolina, and go down in a plane crash.  They bring with them all the racial prejudices of the late-1950s American South  The 13-or-14-year-old black boy is on his walkabout, a coming-of-age test of his abilities in wilderness survival.  The girl is too young to wear a bra; sexual thoughts never cross anyone's mind.  The tensions are instead about the girl losing her hang-ups concerning race and clothing.

    In the movie, the lost children are Australians whose father cracked under the strains of his job, leaving them in the outback.  The two teenagers have advanced in age to about 16—awkwardly aware of their own sexuality, though the girl is certainly not ready to marry.

    The aborigine boy is totally nude throughout the book.  The little white boy discards the last of his clothes after the third day.  The girl strips only for brief bathing—until her dress falls apart on the eleventh day, and she also feels confident going nude after that.  The film instead conforms to cinema-goers' expectations by reversing those proportionate times: the black guide wears a loincloth, except for brief swimming.  Yet we see long lingering shots of the girl swimming nude.  (Those scenes were eliminated for showing in American theatres, but restored in the home version.)  All clothes remain intact to the end, with only one button detatched but carefully saved.

    In the book, the aborigine dies on first exposure to the common cold.  In the movie, he completes his test of manhood, and is now ready to settle down.  To the girl, his mating dance seems like weird new behavior, and this misunderstanding leads to a tragic end.  (She was perhaps right to hesitate; the handsome young actor grew into an ugly-looking man.  You can see him years later as the tracker in Rabbit-Proof Fence.)

    But there's more.  We catch a glimpse, a few years after these events, of the young married woman settled into the same boring apartment where her parents lived—thinking back wistfully to those youthful days of free skinny-dipping in desert oasis pools.

    If you want lots more nude aboriginal men on a journey, you could try Ten Canoes (2006).  It's a story within a story.  On the surface level, we have the unseen narrator, who tells of a time in the past when several men went on a goose-hunting expedition.  This level is filmed in black and white, with hard-to-read English captions.  To make a point about brothers and their wives, one of those hunters tells an even earlier story that is filmed in color.  We keep shifting back and forth between these stories.

    This all happens in a swampy part of Australia, very different from the deserts of Walkabout.  It's a good film, but moves along too slowly for the impatience of most teenagers.

    So, what do people discover during these journeys?  A little geography, but mostly they discover their own inner resources.

Futuristic Movies  (August 2020)

    Today, we consider movies set in the future.  Unfortunately, all four of these movie-makers envisioned a future bleaker than the world we enjoy today.

For the whole family:

    Unexpected Encounters (1995) is a piece of science fiction from the Czech Republic.  Space travelers from Earth are exploring a supposedly uninhabited planet, when they meet a nude seven-year-old boy (sole survivor of a spaceship crash six years earlier).  He has been raised by invisible intelligent beings—so smart that they teach him to speak Czech within a few hours.

    Though this was a movie made for television, the boy is nude through much of the film, with no attempt to hide body parts.  It was based on a Russian novel called Space Mowgli, also known as The Kid.  The novel clearly states the boy was nude—but uglier than the cute kid in the movie.  There was a now-lost Russian television version in 1987—no mention of how they handled the nudity in that one.

    This is a low-budget film without special effects.  It emphasizes the human story.  Some of the crew would like to adopt the boy and give him a family, but he has been programed to become ill if around humans for very long.  The disc comes with English subtitles.

For teens and older:

    Dark Enemy (1984) is a British post-apocalyptic film.  In an isolated valley, accumulated radiation has killed off most of the adults.  Children must do the farming (as well as taking time out for skinny-dipping).  They are warned to never venture into the dangerous zones outside the valley.

    During a leadership contest, three boys do travel outside, and discover thriving farms.  One boy also learns that the outside world was and is infected with greed—which brought on the destruction of nuclear war.  So should they be content to stay in their peaceful valley, or should they go out to explore the greed-infested world?

    There is nothing in this movie that small children could not watch, but I think teenagers would better understand it.

    "Never trust anyone over 30."  That Hippie slogan takes a sinister turn in Logan's Run (1976).  In a 23nd-century world, people live lives of mindless pleasures until age 30.  (It's filmed in a shopping mall.)  Then they are killed off to make room for others.  The official propaganda is that the better ones will be reborn.  People who don't fall for that want to believe in a paradise called Sanctuary.  Both stories prove false.

    One couple escape to an abandoned Washington DC, and discover the possibility of growing old together.

    We catch a few brief glimpses of naked people, but never anything male and frontal.  They cut one long scene of a couple posing nude for an ice sculpture, so they could get a PG rating (though the movie still has way too much violence and sanitized killing.)  As usually happens, the TV series that followed avoided any nudity.

    Even more extreme, Nine meals from Chaos (2018) gets its title from a famous saying that, after three days without food, civilization would break down.  This is yet another post-apocalyptic film where, ten years after disaster has wiped out most people and animals, wandering bands of children scavenge for worms and frogs.  They are hunted by adults who have turned cannibal and want them for food.  This is definitely not a movie for little kids.  Teenagers can handle it, though they may lose patience with the slow pace.

    We see frequent brutality.  What saves this film is the thoughtful voice-over commentary, reminding us that, "The wearing of clothes in humans had, in fact, little to do with shame and nakedness, which humans don't naturally have—but rather with practicality and comfort.  Vanity sometimes has a part in it.  But with none to speak of, these children wear what was left in abandoned houses—for comfort's sake."  You will probably find yourself disagreeing with some of the narrator's other conclusions.

    Twice, the children go skinny-dipping.  But afterward, the boys put on shorts, and the girls wear dresses.  The boys also have shorter hair and the girls wear their hair long, so they have not completely abandoned the conventions.  I should clarify that one boy finds a native guinea pig, and, in a last vestige of civilized behavior, tries to keep it as a pet while other children are starving.

    Filmed largely after dark and with only a hint of color, a somber mood prevails.  This movie from Argentina is multi-lingual.  The narrator speaks English; the children speak Spanish (with English subtitles available).  On my disc, the menu and cover notes are in German.

    Perhaps the moral of all these movies is to treasure the world we have, and enjoy it naturally.

Two Short Topics: Japan and East Africa  (Sept. 2020)

    This time we consider, not one, but two topics: movies from Japan and movies about eastern Africa.  The only thing these two topics have in common is that they are both short enough to fit on the same page.


    Sexual nudity has long been a part of Japanese films.  Non-sexual nudity is harder to find.  All three of these movies are in Japanese with English subtitles.

For the whole family:

    The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) is a cartoon version of a Japanese folk tale.  A woodcutter and his wife discover an extraterrestrial girl and raise her.  She would be happy as an ordinary little girl, but her foster-parents recognize her as a princess, so she is besieged by suitors.

    We see nude and semi-nude babies, plus breast-feeding--including a nipple.  These ordinary scenes of everyday life would never appear in an American cartoon.  And unlike American cartoons, this one does not have a happy ending.

    If you know Japanese art, you will recognize styles from the Heian period (early 1100s), and that raises this cartoon into a work of art.

For teens and older:

    Tree Without Leaves (1986) is a classic Japanese black-and-white movie.  A selfish old man reminisces about the indulgent mother who spoiled him.  We watch a family fall into financial ruin, eventually losing their house.

    And we see several eastern customs: the father never showing emotion in adversity, nude family bathing, bare breasts on a couple of occasions, and the surprising custom of a mother kissing a little boy's penis.  (Actually, that was once common throughout southeast Asia.)  There is nothing here that small children could not watch, but few will have the patience for this slow-moving psychological drama.

    In contrast, teenagers are old enough to understand mild sex scenes.  But because too many outsiders confuse nudity with sex, I have generally avoided mentioning movies where sex is important in the plot.  In The Pillow Book (1996), nudity and sex cannot easily be separated.

    A Japanese pillow book is a diary; the most famous one was written by Lady Sei Shonagon around 1000 C.E.  But in China, where parents feel too embarrassed to discuss such matters with their children, a pillow book is an illustrated sex manual handed to brides and grooms on their wedding day.  Be clear that the movie follows the cleaner Japanese definition.

    A young woman feels a passion for writing, but only gets inspired when painting the words on men's bodies.  She falls in love with one of them, who happens to be bisexual.  Over time, we see several nude men, and occasionally the woman.  Don't expect to understand all of this beautiful movie the first time through.


    At other times, we have discussed movies from South Africa, west Africa, and north Africa.  Now we look at movies set in the eastern part of the continent.

For the whole family:

    Visit to a Chief's Son (1974) is a good family movie about the 13-year-old son of an anthropologist visiting a Masai tribe in Kenya.  He makes friends with a slightly older native boy, and they take a several-day hike through the wilderness.  We see lots of animal footage spliced in.  At one point, the boys skinny-dip with hippopotami.

    The cameramen were careful not to film anything frontal or the tribal women's breasts.  (I passed through the Masai area just four years before this, so I know how overdressed these movie women are.)

    Long out of print, this movie can now be watched on Amazon or bought at CVMC.

For teens and older:

    Nowhere in Africa (2001) follows a German Jewish girl from age 5 through 14, as the family flees to Kenya during the Nazi years.  The marriage is a fragile one; only the daughter adjusts easily to African life.

    We see the girl bathing as a child, and later when she tries a little top-freedom in her early teens.  Her mother also briefly tries it, and a few native women are bare-breasted (but not very noticeable).  A short mother-daughter bathtub scene was edited out.  Be aware that husband and wife engage in a couple of passionate bedroom scenes.

    The movie is in German, Swahili, and English, with easy-to-read English subtitles where necessary.

    Two topics: five good movies.

American 1950s/French Classic Films (Oct. 2020)

    Again we have two short topics: American life in the 1950s, and some classic French films.  They have nothing in common, except they can both fit on the same page.


For the whole family:

    Three Wishes (1995) is a movie about magical happenings.  Or maybe not.  We never know for sure.  The year is 1955 in the American suburbs, where everybody tries to be the same.  But that is not easy for a young widow with two sons.  Enter a bearded Beatnik hitchhiker who brews sun tea, teaches the Little League team to meditate, and sunbathes nude in the back yard.  A decade or more before his time, he definitely does not fit in.

    Yet he helps each of the main characters to look into themselves and find their own strengths.  This is a heart-warming movie.  My disc comes with an informative commentary by the director; that is worth watching too.

For teens and older:

    The Last Picture Show (1971) takes us back to 1952 in a windswept empty town in Texas, where people lead empty lives.  Now the movie theatre is closing.  To keep the period look, the movie was shot in black-and-white.

    The memorable part of this movie is teenage skinny-dipping in a private pool.  You want the Director's Cut (also known as Special Edition) because it includes 7 minutes missing from the theatrical release.

    We grow to care about these people.  You can find out whatever happened to them 32 years later in Texasville (1991); they didn't all turn out as expected.  But that sequel was done without nudity.


    Now, we consider two French movies based on books by Marcel Pagnol.

For the whole family:

    My Father's Glory (1990) dramatizes the first volume of Pagnol's autobiography.  He wrote of vacationing in the mountains with his family.  The title refers to his schoolmaster father's hunting expedition.  You will need to explain that people used to hunt and eat small birds (four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie).

    Among the joys of childhood, we see the hero (about 12) and his younger brother showering with a garden hose.  On another occasion, he and a mountain boy come in drenched from the rain.  His mother and aunt strip the two boys so they can dry by the fire, then they scamper up the stairs.  It's all very natural.

    This is a delightful movie for the whole family, but it's in French, so viewers must read the English subtitles.  Children who do not understand where babies come from will miss part of the humor.

    The sequel, My Mother's Castle, was done without nudity.

For teens and older:

    Manon of the Spring (1987) started out as a 1952 movie, directed by Pagnol, himself.  (The critics have not mentioned nudity in that early version.)  When the film flopped, the author expanded the story into two novels about small farmers.  Jean de Florette tells of the girl's hard-working, but victimized father.  The lovable scoundrels who cause all the trouble reap a terrible vengeance in the second novel, Manon of the Spring.

    After the author's death, another director filmed the two books.  Though the first enjoyable movie contains no nudity, you must watch it to understand the girl's motivation in the second.

    At one point, we glimpse the eighteen-year-old shepherdess bathing in a pool and dancing nude in the mountains.  This film also is in French, with English subtitles.

    The movie ends with the awful majesty of a Greek tragedy, where people's own ignorant actions bring about their downfall.

    Finally, we turn to a movie that takes place in England and France.  St. Ives (1998), sometimes called All for Love and set in the last year of the Napoleonic wars, is a rollicking adventure studded with witty comments.  Robert Louis Stevenson wrote the unfinished novel.  We follow a young French soldier and a Scottish soldier in their pursuit of two remarkable women, aunt and niece.

    There are two brief nude scenes—the first one romantic.  The second gives us full-frontal male nudity, as imprisoned soldiers bathe.

    Despite the use of famous music composed half a century after Napoleon's time, the movie is a delight.  It should not be confused with an ugly crime film of the same name.  Also be aware that there was a 1949 version of this movie—with none of the charm or wit, or nudity.

    And so we have two topics, and five delightful movies.

If I Knew Then What I Know Now (Nov. 2020)

    The Bulletin chose not to print the first half of this article.

    I know about a lot more movies than I did when I started this column.  Once in a while, I discovered a gem after I had already written on that topic.  The plan now is to reissue all of the movie reviews in book form.  When I do, I can put these late discoveries where I wish they had gone:

For the whole family:

    Years after writing about beach boy movies, I finally got to see the rare Sandy Hill (c.1968) by Lyric Films International.  Azov Films had reissued it on disc around 2010.  But that company got into trouble for also offering European movies that authorities considered child pornography.  They shut down the company, and then went after their customer list.  Some customers committed suicide.  No one dared admit to owning even the most innocent movie that had once been touched by Azov.

    Yet this home video shows the older boys from The Genesis Children splashing in a shallow river (near Sandy Hill, Texas) back when they were about age 12.  Some teenage boys gradually join them, and it's a regular naked day at the old swimming hole.  We hear splashing, laughter, and synthesizer music, though no one speaks a word.  It's just like hundreds of amateurish movies filmed at nudist resorts.  And like most of the others, it has no plot whatever.  But there is enough action and horseplay to raise it above the average.

    Only someone who thinks human bodies are evil (especially male bodies of any age) could find anything immoral in this film.  So gather the kindergartners, bring on the babes-in-arms.  This half-hour movie is completely harmless for people of all ages.  The problem is finding a copy.  What on earth was the fuss about?

    There were other rare films in this series: Boat and Beach Trip, Boyhood Scrapbook, Danish Boys' Camp, European Trip, The Explorers, How to Make Friends, Peter and the Desert Riders, Spring Break, Summer Freedom, Swim Party.  There were also nudist magazines: Coq d'Or, Lyric's American Boys, Naked Boyhood, Naked Teens, Sun Children.  None of our nudist libraries have any of these things.  If you have one, a copy would make a much-appreciated donation to the American Nudist Research Library.

    Mondo (1995) follows a homeless boy, about age 10, who is looking for someone to adopt him.  The boy—perhaps a Gypsy—suddenly appears on the streets of Nice, France.  (His name, Mondo, means "world").  The boy's big smile wins him lots of adult friends.  Yet he instinctively avoids police and other authorities.  Ironically, the young actor playing this role was deported for not having the proper papers.

    At one point, the boy strips down to gather oranges that have drifted near shore.  There's not much talking in this movie, and that's in French with English subtitles.  But it is a charming film for the whole family, and can be seen in two parts on the Internet.

For teens and older:

    By now, the majority of people have come to agree that the Vietnam War and the Iraq War were bad ideas.  If you are still holding out, you probably won't like 1969 (which was made in 1988).  One brother goes off to war.  The other brother and the girl next door become increasingly involved in the peace movement.  In a sad and moving way, the events in this film bring all sides together.  It's a little time capsule of what life was like during that contentious year.

    Halfway through, a couple of college guys meet a group of naked hippies eating dinner together.  It's all very dignified.  While this contributes one step in liberating the boys' minds, it happens too early in their experience for them to try nudity.  That topic never comes up again.

    Years after writing about Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet, I saw the Communist East German film, Sieben Sommersprossen (1978), which translates as Seven Freckles.  It is reassuring to know that teenagers are pretty much the same, regardless of their government.  We see a sixteen-year-old couple who had been close friends as children, now meeting again and falling in love at a summer camp.  For a glorious five minutes, they swim and relax nude.  As usual in the movies, someone steals their clothes.

    Among other activities, the young people are rehearsing a performance of Romeo and Juliet.  The movements of the actors closely follow those of the Zeffirelli film.  It's a charming little movie.  Just be sure you get a copy with English subtitles.  There are several on the Internet.

    Here are four great movies that should not be missed (though I did miss them the first time through.)  There are more.  To be continued.

Foreign Movies Too Good to Miss  (Dec. 2020)

    I discovered these movies late.  When I reprint these columns in book form, I will put them where I wish they had gone.

For the whole family:

    When I wrote about South American jungle tribes, I could find no movies with full nudity suitable for children.  Now I have—sort of.  In Taina 2 (2004), all of the native children wear loincloths—even when swimming.  It's the boy from the city who gets nude while drying his clothes, though we don't see much.

    This is the sequel to a popular children's film with boys and girls shirtless in loincloths.  The directors re-used their successful plot about a jungle girl stopping animal poachers.  But they had a problem: their famous young actress was starting to grow breasts, so they put her in a dress this time and brought in a younger girl to be her assistant.  Then they tried to spice it up with a moment of mild nudity.

    The result is an amusing kids' movie—though adults will have a hard time believing a village of children and their pets, with never a parent in sight.  There's lots of cute animal photography.

    The movie comes in Portugese, with captions available.  Be aware that there is now a cartoon series that shows the girl younger, traditionally bare-chested, but wearing a mini-skirt.

    El Rey de los Gorilas (1977) is a Mexican attempt at the Tarzan story (without actually using his name).  The nude baby walks around for a few minutes.  We next see him at age 12, when he for some odd reason wraps leaves around his middle before he has ever seen another human.  Then he steals the loincloth of a native boy, and for several minutes we watch the nude black boy and clothed white boy.  (That is another odd movie convention.)  Jane never appears nude.  A whole generation passes, then we see their son skinny-dipping at about age 12, but he too wears a loincloth on land.  This lesser movie is available online with English subtitles.  Don't spend money on it.

    "Chillar" is Hindi slang for insignificant small coins.  Chillar Party (2011) shows us a modern gang of middle-class little boys who befriend a poor boy and his dog.  When a politician threatens to take away the dog, they lead a protest march that swells to hundreds of boys stripped down to their underpants for dramatic effect.

    One boy does not normally wear underwear.  When asked why, he tells his father, "Because it's cool....  You should try it out too."  We briefly see him dancing nude, but the picture is so heavily pixilated that you cannot tell his front side from his backside.  For the protest march, he makes the ultimate sacrifice of wearing his father's too-large underpants.

    This is more than a feel-good film for kids.  It is also a solemn reminder to parents to live the fine principles they have forgotten.

    This charming movie runs a bit long, with a beginning school scene and end-credit dancing that don't seem to be part of the story.  Filmed in Hindi, the English subtitles are tricky to turn on.  It is now available on YouTube.

For teens and older:

    Scream of the Ants (2006) follows a young Iranian couple on their honeymoon through India.  For her, it is a spiritual journey; he has many doubts.

    The movie touches on Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, and Islamic beliefs.  Its title comes from the Jain teaching that we should be careful to not harm even insects.

    Because of the nudity, this film would never be shown in Iran.  Besides occasional toddlers in the streets, we see a nursing baby, two nude young women, lots of holy men bathing in the Ganges, and a group of young schoolboys diving in after them--all normal scenes in India.  The naked holy men even made it to the cover.

    More for adults than teens, this slow movie was filmed in English and Persian.  Make sure your copy has subtitles; you can follow the plot without them, but will miss much of the philosophical discussion.  Iranmovies.com has it.

    And here is a foreign treatment of an American story:  Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn on two levels.  Far more than just a children's book, it follows a boy with unschooled eyes as he drifts through the middle of America, observing its foibles and contradictions.  The 1973 Russian Sovsem Propashchij translates as Hopelessly Lost.  It is propaganda, emphasizing the dark underbelly of 19th-century American society.  The actor is too young, and appears more as victim than plucky hero.

    We do see him briefly skinny-dipping at a distance.  But we get close nude views of the two old scoundrels who hitch a ride on his raft.  Besides skipping much of the plot, Twain's humor has been drained out.  This joyless film is probably worth watching once.

Still More Late Discoveries (Jan. 2021)

    Here is a third batch of movies I discovered only after I had written about their topics.

For the whole family:

    When writing about Greek mythology, I wish I had given passing mention to a West German curiosity called The Golden Thing (1972).  A group of boys age 12-14 star in Jason's search for the Golden Fleece.  (They left out Atalanta, the only female among the Argonauts.)  The problem is that the film moves too slowly to hold the attention of children.  And some things are not explained; it helps to know the plot beforehand.

    There is disappointingly little nudity for ancient Greece—a breast here, a butt there—men and boys wear wrap-around skirts that would have puzzled any ancient Greek.  The boys keep their weird skirts on even when diving into the sea.  Not one of the great movies, and in German with English subtitles, it probably is worth seeing once.

    Strange Holiday (1969)—also called Boys of Lost Island—is a hokey B-grade Australian film about a group of schoolboys surviving on a tropical island.  It should not be confused with a similarly named 1945 American anti-Nazi film.  Science fiction writer Jules Verne wrote this story way back in 1888.  The producers modernized it with search planes and lanterns that inexplicably last for months.  They got rid of the racism, but kept the guns.  Because the boys do everything right and set up an orderly community, the producers thought of this as an upbeat response to the recent dark movie, Lord of the Flies.

    There are ten boys aged about 10 to 14.  Surprisingly, they elect one of the shorter squeaky-voiced boys as their leader.  When a second shipwreck occurs, they have to fight off a bunch of pirates.  Stereotypes abound—such as a female shipwreck survivor whose only concern is fixing her makeup and hairdo.

    The skinny-dip scene lasts less than 20 seconds, and we see only butts and shoulders.  Otherwise, the boys keep all of their clothes on during the day, and sleep in their trousers for months.  Only children might believe this nonsense.

For Teens and Older:

    The idea of kids run amok without the structure of rules shows up in other movies.  Demi-Tarif (2003) is boring--nothing but three abandoned kids playing--once in a while nude from the back or side (nothing frontal).  They steal a lot.  It is available on the Internet in its original French.

    I have found two mystery movies that I didn't know about before.  The Prize (1963), contains a chase through a lecture hall full of nudists.  All we see is bare shoulders.  The action-packed movie about the kidnaping of a Nobel Prize winner is quite good, but has little appeal for young people.

    Let me also briefly mention the film, MovieVoyeur.com (2000), though I can't find copies for sale.  A female detective comes from California to small-town Florida to claim the body of her murdered brother.  She understands why he was a window-peeper who filmed his neighbors' unclothed moments.  So she doesn't believe the sheriff's explanation of what happened.  The sheriff's office (where nearly half of the action takes place) is actually the American Nudist Research Library.  If you have been there, you will recognize the room and the Nudist Hall of Fame plaques on the wall.  The library has a copy of the film to watch there.  Library members can borrow it.

    And I wrote an article about how the movies handle invisibility.  The Invisible Boy (2014) should not be confused with a 1957 movie of the same name.  This one is about a 13-year old Italian boy who gets severely bullied in school.  After trying on a rented Halloween costume, he turns invisible--but only when naked.  He uses his new power to get back at the bullies.  He also visits the girls' locker room, only to have the invisibility wear off, so he gets caught there without clothes.

    Then the adopted boy meets his biological father, who explains that his invisibility has nothing to do with the costume,  but the inherited abilities of his maturing body.  He must now learn how to turn his invisible powers on and off.  To avoid any more embarrassing accidents, his father gives him a black super-hero outfit that turns invisible with him.  There goes all the fun out of the movie.  From then on, it's just another spy thriller.

    The movie is in Italian.  Long hard to find with English subtitles, it is now available for free on the Internet.  Be sure to sit through the end credits for a few production shots showing how they reversed green screen technology to make the hero invisible.  But, having gotten rid of any continuing reason for nudity, the more brutal sequel fared poorly in 2018.

    When this series of movie reviews is reprinted in book form, these movies will be moved to where their topics are covered.

Miscellaneous Movies (Feb. 2021)

    I have run out of paired movies on related themes.  Today's examples have nothing in common except nudity.

For the whole family:

    What happens when a cute but mischievous five-year-old boy sprouts wings?  This delightful fantasy plays out in Tobi (1978).  Conventional people want to think of him as an angel.  His worried mother realizes he is becoming attuned to the birds.

    The boy is nude through much of the film.  There is one funny scene when he hides among all the little girl mannequins in a store.  In the end, the boy flies out of his clothes to join the freedom of his feathered friends.  This witty and thoughtful Spanish movie is available with English subtitles.

    Mrkacek Ciko (1982) is a Czech children's adventure.  A pampered boy raised in Mexico returns with his diplomat parents to Czechoslovakia (still one country under Russian control).  When he finds himself behind in school, he develops a nervous tic.  Other kids call him Chico the Blinker.

    But he makes friends with a daredevil neighbor boy.  They tag along when other children go to a Young Pioneers wilderness survival camp.  We briefly see backsides of boys and girls skinny-dipping separately.  Hiding in the woods, our two young heroes catch enough food to feed both the boys' and the girls' camps, and they capture a wild bird poacher.  The other kids welcome them to the group.

    This movie is OK—but nothing special.  You can see it free on the Internet in Czech (and understand most of it), or you can buy it with English subtitles.

For teens and older:

    Could We Maybe (1976) shows us a 15-year-old boy from the years when boys wore long hair.  He leads a pointless life until he and a girl he never met before get taken as hostages during a bank robbery.  For the first time in his life, he sees some fatherly guidance and a sensible girl.  After escaping, they decide to prolong their vacation from bad home life.

    Despite the suggestive title, some crude banter, a boy's locker room scene, and female breasts on a couple of occasions, this is a movie without visible sex or violence.  Not great but OK, it is in Danish; make sure your copy has English subtitles.

    Beautiful Dreamers (1990) has nothing to do with the Stephen Foster song (except that the music box plays it).  Rather, this movie is about the poet Walt Whitman and his lesser-known contribution to kindly treatment of the mentally ill.  We also see him singing music from Italian opera.

    As he proclaims in his poems, Whitman does go skinny-dipping—to be joined by the doctor and his wife.  But while the cameras show female nudity, they keep male genitals hidden.  Whitman would have scoffed at such squeamishness.  Still, it's a good portrait of this rough-and-tumble poet whom students will have studied in school.

Probably of more interest to adults:

    For another movie about low mental development, try Patrick (2019), a Belgian mystery set in a run-down nudist campground.  The story focuses on a slow-witted man with a single purpose: to find his missing hammer.  This is more about how to accept a person with disabilities—and the developing understanding is beautiful.

    Realistically, we see lots of overweight and aging campers--male and female--but no families with children.  In fact, no one under 35 ever gets nude.  Here we have a slow-moving film with a an actual plot, that accepts nudity as a natural part of life. 

    There is one sex scene.  Partly in English, the film also has English subtitles.  You can rent it on the Internet.

    Despite its sensational title, Hot Hot Hot (2011) is tame enough and silly enough that the whole family could watch—though why anyone under 40 would want to, I don't know.  It's about a 40-year-old man who has never had a  girlfriend.  Then he gets transferred to working in a mostly nude Belgian spa.  The approach is definitely sexist, with lots of female breasts on display, but never ever any male genitals.  In a gentle way, our unlikely hero does discover his own humanity.  I watched it free on the Internet, but it doesn't seem to be there now.

    So here we have a smorgasbord of pretty good movies on a variety of subjects.  Enjoy.

Rare Movies Suddenly Available (Mar. 2021)

    About a year ago, a nudist friend told me he was finding rare movies at a new web site called DVDBay.  I looked and saw mostly recent gay stuff—nothing of interest to me.  I did check to see if they had about a dozen rare titles I had long been seeking.  Nope.

    A couple of months ago, while cleaning out old e-mails, I ran across my friend's note and checked the site again.  Four of the 12 titles are there now—plus a few other promising movies I had never heard of.  Such a rapidly growing source deserves to be checked from time to time.  So here are some fine movies that were not available a year ago:

For the whole family:

    I knew that The Littlest Viking contained two nude scenes, each lasting a second or two.  Big deal.  I didn't realize those scenes had been shortened from the already brief episodes in the Norwegian original Sigurd Drakedreper (1989).  The title means Sigurd the Dragonslayer.  The 12-year-old son of a Viking chief was named after a legendary hero, but the boy believes in peace.  So does the slightly older chief's son from the rival band.  The Norwegian version is now also available free online.

    When producers dubbed the film into English, they substituted deeper teenage voices for both boys.  That often happens in dubbing, but in this case, it works.  It makes the boys' decisions look like mature thought, instead of childish weakness.  In both versions, the boy sleeps in a nightgown—600 years before they were invented.  So which version is better?  I have mixed feelings.

    Little Red Flowers (2006) is a most unusual Chinese film about a four-year-old boy who gets dumped in a highly regimented state kindergarten.  He does not conform easily.  That is the whole plot, and frankly I found it boring after a while.  Other people love this movie because the cameras show everything from a child's angle.

    At that age, there is much emphasis on toilet training, with absolutely no privacy.  So we see a surprising amount of nudity and semi-nudity.  (Though the Chinese never developed a nude art tradition, paintings from many centuries show that small children often went without pants.)

For teens and older:

    Alla Alskar Alice (2002) translates as Everybody Loves Alice.  we meet a Swedish girl whose parents are splitting apart.  There is a lot of loud arguing.  She teams up with the son of the other woman in trying to keep their families intact.  The situation, parental love, and humor remind me of The Parent Game.

    Early on, we see three mischievous girls peeping into the boys' shower room.  At their age, the girls are starting to develop breasts, but the boys show no signs of maturing yet.  Unfortunately, that brief scene has nothing to do with the rest of the movie.

    My disc had subtitle problems; the company has been very slow to respond.

    [The Bulletin refused to print the next paragraph.]

    Bible! (1974) might more accurately be called Sex Scenes from the Bible.  It begins with the most beautiful Adam and Eve story I have ever seen.  Unfortunately, the movie then switches to a silly David and Bathsheba episode, a seductive Samson and Delilah (slightly out of order), then a too-brief Mary and the angel Gabriel.  Magnificent classical music plays, with rarely a word ever spoken.  I recommend shutting it off after the first 19 minutes, and you won't miss much.

    Senza Buccia (1979) is a rare B-grade Italian flick, now available with dubbing into English.  The title is rarely translated as Skin Deep, to avoid confusion with another film of that name.

    A late-teen brother and sister are staying at their mother's empty villa on the sea with his girlfriend and a helper boy.  They meet a young Norwegian nudist couple, and decide to all try nudism through most of the movie.  The arrival of a clothed 32-year-old female house guest does not dampen their enthusiasm.  Most are seeking love, and not finding it.  Yet the movie brims over with the joy of active living.

    So all of these rare films are suddenly available.  Because several Internet distributors of movies with nudity have disappeared without warning in recent years, I suggest that you grab them quickly.

A Visit to a Nudist Resort--Apr. 2021

    Over the years, several movies have attempted to capture this experience—few with any success.  Earlier, we assessed the old classics made for nudists; here we bring that discussion up to date.

For the whole family:

    La Fonte des Neiges (France, 2009) translates as Thawing Out.  A twelve-year-old boy is dragged by his mother to a nudist park.  He reacts by bundling in layers of winter clothes—until he meets a girl who gradually gets him out of his shell.  (At that age, she is maturing physically much earlier than he is.)  But even more humiliating than nudity, he realizes that he has fallen for a girl.  What could be worse for a twelve-year-old?

    This delightful movie lasts only 28 minutes.  Unfortunately, about the only place to see it with English subtitles is on a disc (for rent or purchase) from CVMC that includes a dozen short films from European children's television.  Refreshingly, three of them contain much nudity.  Others deal with such heavy topics as suicide, that I personally would not show to children.  Strong parental guidance is needed here.  Most (but not all) of the films have English subtitles.

    The other films in the collection are mediocre by comparison.  In Naakt (or Naked, Netherlands 2006), a mother takes her younger son to a sauna.  If you've never seen naked people before, this might be exciting.

    A separate short film, Little Peter's Big Adventure (2014) is the poorest excuse for a nude beach movie I have ever seen.  Though cameras try to stay above the waists or below the knees, we frequently see that the three boys never actually get out of their shorts, and everyone in the background is fully clothed.  The discussion turns mildly interesting when one boy has to wait at a bus stop, supposedly with only a backpack on his lap (though we can't really tell).  The movie demonstrates how cowardly even European movie-makers have become, when it comes to innocent child nudity.  The original German title is Peterchen auf Rügen.  Don't waste your time or money on it.

For teens and older:

    The Spy Who Caught a Cold (1995) is a 10-minute film of slight interest.  A mother takes her 10-year-old daughter to an English nude beach with cabins.  The girl spies on her mother and the new boyfriend her mother has picked up.  This begins to awaken her own curiosity.  That's all of the plot.

    I have already reviewed Nudist Beach (2011), another short British production that is supposed to be funny, but isn't.

    Nor can I recommend the Serbian Lepota Poroka (1986), where a traditional young couple go to work in a nudist resort.  Though we don't actually see it, the producers assumed that any nudist resort is a place of sexual hanky-panky.  (English subtitles are hard to find.)

    On the other hand, Analog Roam (2002) is an 11-minute black-and-white delight.  On a split screen, we follow a young man and a young woman as they each strip down for a solitary walk in the woods—and then get lost.  We see some wilderness areas within the grounds of nudist clubs in the American northwest.

    Act Naturally (2013) is a full-length movie with a real plot and interesting characters.  We have not seen the likes of this since Educating Julie (1984)—nearly 30 years of waiting for another great naturist movie.  Unfortunately, copies are hard to find, but you can watch it on Amazon.

    Two half-sisters of very different personalities learn that they have inherited a place in Arizona, not realizing it is a nudist resort.  (It was actualy filmed at Olive Dell Ranch in California.)  The film has a ring of authenticity, dealing honestly with such issues as scars and staring.  It is a delight.

    And now a movie I have not yet seen, but I am looking forward to its release later this summer: the sequel, Act Super Naturally.  (It has already been shown to two trial audiences, and one suspicious web site is supposedly offering it for free.)

    J. P. Riley, the director, tells me that this second movie is about the older sister, Charlie, struggling to find her leadership style during the resort's first major event since she took the reins.  It's the Memorial Day Weekend Nude Olympic Bash—which happens to coincide with gay staff member, Corey’s Vegas wedding—and all hell breaks lose.  Watch for it.

    So no, great nudist movies are not a thing of the past; a glorious few are still being produced.

That's All, Folks--May 2021

    This is the final column in my movie review series in The Bulletin.  But have no fear; the plan is to republish all of these columns—along with my other naturist essays—as a book.  It will probably appear a year or so from now.

    Seven years ago, AANR Executive Director Jim Smock put out a call for serious writers on topics of lasting interest.  I suggested a series on movies that nudists could watch with their children or grandchildren.  I knew of enough to fill maybe a dozen articles.  Well, I have learned some things since then.  269 movies and 70 columns later, I have run out of good movies to recommend.

    For more than 20 years, I wrote the nude art column in Naturally magazine.  As planned, those columns were republished in book form: Art Follows Nature: A Worldwide History of the Nude.  I later agreed to write the movie review column—not realizing it would take me another 7 years.  The difference between the two series is that, with art, I knew what I was talking about.  With movies, about all I have to offer is the enthusiasm of fresh discovery.

    I am an unlikely movie critic.  I came to film late in life.  I don't know one movie star from another, and have no interest in Hollywood gossip.  But I am interested in cultural activities nudists can do together with their children or grandchildren.

    Several people have made lists of movies with nude children in them.  That is very different from movies with nudity (of any age) that are fit for children to watch.  I have rejected many for violence, or people undressing only for sex.

    The last third of the twentieth century was a golden age of naturist-friendly family-friendly movies.  There were three reasons for that.  First, the 1960s liberated society and abolished old movie censorship rules.  Film-makers, especially in Europe, began to show skinny-dipping as a normal part of any kid's life.

    Second, after losing audience to television for a few decades, movie producers in the 1980s discovered the teen market.  Teen movies differed from family movies in that they could include an awareness of mild sexuality.  Suddenly, there was an explosion of teen movies—about two for every one nudist-friendly family movie.

    The third reason was the invention of home videos (cassette tapes during that time).  Instead of sitting in a dark crowded room fretting over what their neighbors thought, viewers could relax with their families in the privacy of their homes.  This column has been about home viewing.  Since movie income no longer depended solely on blockbuster attendance during a one-week run at the local theatre, film-makers could write for a smaller audience spread over a long time.

    But by 2000, a raging paranoia about child pornography began in the United States, then swept the globe.  People confused any innocent nudity with pornography.  Movie-makers got scared.  Self-censorship has proven as effective as the old Hays Code.  Numbers of new family films with appropriate nudity have abruptly regressed back to about where we were in the 1950s.

    At the same time, DVD discs replaced videotapes.  Some of the classics got censored during conversion; others still have not been converted at all.

    Now comes a third technological development: some people predict that home movie collections will quickly grow obsolete, as more and more choices become watchable on the Internet.  So far, that works only if you want to see what everybody else wants to see (and are willing to accept somebody else's ideas about censorship).

    Some people don't like black-and-white films.  That's too bad; I chose movies because they were good.  They came at a time when most were filmed in color, but a few good ones were not.

    Some people don't like movies with subtitles.  That's really too bad, because Europeans made far more family-friendly naturist-friendly films than Americans did.

    Some people may have wondered why I kept writing about old movies instead of offering news about current ones.  The great age of naturist-friendly family-friendly movies has been over for a couple of decades.  There are not likely to be many more until society changes again.  So this is a good time to write down what exists now.  There is hope, though, that more of the foreign classics from the golden era will become available in English translation and universal formats.

    My thanks to the many people who have told me they enjoy reading these columns.  And thanks to those who recommended movies I had never heard of.  If you would like to be notified when the book version is ready, drop a note to paullevalley@peoplepc.com. 

    Learning about and sharing these films has been great fun.  But as Porky Pig famously said, "That's all, folks."

A few more columns 3 years later:

Even More Movies About Boys--April 2024

    There have always been more non-sexual movies about nude boys than about nude girls.  Here are some that I have discovered only recently:

For the whole family:

    Adventures with a Naked Boy (1964) is a humorous 20-minute Czechoslovakian film that comes without subtitles.  Nor does it need them.  A young boy has lost his clothes while swimming, and does not have money for the streetcar fare back home.  A kind man pays it for him.  At first, passengers are amused, but some people can't keep their mouths shut.  When the kind man, in exasperation, takes off his shirt to cover the boy, the same people also complain about that.  Eventually a huge fistfight breaks out, but other men and women feel attracted to the nude idea, and line up to board the streetcar in a minimum of underwear.

    This black-and-white film comes in a collection called Mr. Bunny and Other Comedy Shorts.  The even better No Bikini is included on the same disc.

    Premier Amour (2013) translates as First Love and lasts only eight minutes, so there is not much of a story.  It shows a boy, about 12 and shorter than his classmates, whose friends jokingly pull off his swim suit and shove him naked into the girls' locker room.  (He keeps one hand cupped over his genitals so nobody actually sees anything.)  He tries to hide in the pool.  The girl who sits next to him in class recognizes the problem and brings him his swimsuit.  That's it.  This charming little film is in French with English subtitles.

    A word of warning: Don't waste time or money on a 9-minute Canadian film called Changing Rooms (2005).  It spreads fake paranoia about boys using men's locker rooms.  The message is that the only thing worse than naked men is old fat naked men.  Actually, everybody wears underwear, even in the shower, and the boy goes swimming in an outfit that reaches down to his knees.  Maybe it's supposed to be a spoof, but to me, this film is pushing too many bad ideas.

For teens and older:

    Simon Says Goodbye to His Foreskin (2015) wrestles with the Jewish tradition of circumcision—and does it in a humorous way.  Twelve-year-old Simon's fanatically religious father and free-thinking mother argue over whether he should undergo the surgery before his bar mitzva.  Meanwhile, the boy falls in puppy love with his new female rabbi.

    We see long hairstyles of the seventies, along with modern computers.  We don't see much actual nudity—some ancient art and a few tribal boys—but it is a movie well worth watching.  Everyone speaks German, with hard-to-read English subtitles.

    I'm with the Band (1979) was episode 6 of the one-season television series, Freaks and Geeks.  With an hour to fill, each episode had two plots, and kept switching between them.  Though filmed in California, it was supposed to portray a high school in the Detroit suburbs in 1980.  The part that interests us focuses on a late-maturing freshman boy who was afraid to take a shower after gym class.  This is particularly odd because boys in most suburban Detroit schools were still swimming nude during their gym classes just a year or two before this.  The announcement of a "new" policy of showering after gym is chronologically inaccurate.

    Because this is American television, we never do see anyone nude below the waist.  When our unlikely hero goes scrambling supposedly naked through the school, a big blue dot hides the fact that he actually wore a swimsuit during filming.  But all ends well, and he gains confidence when the cheerleaders consider him a brave hero for streaking the school.

    On a similar theme, Stikk (2007) is a little 19-minute Norwegian film.  The least developed boy in the eighth grade showers at school, when a girl sneaks in and films him.  She humiliates him by sharing the footage with all of their classmates.  A tough new boy shows him how to get revenge.  Eventually, they all learn how to be merciful, but the boy never learns to be proud of his body—which is a disappointment.  The final chapter is missing.

    In the shower scenes, all have their backs turned to the camera, and we only catch a brief glimpse of a penis.  This movie, in Norwegian with English subtitles, can be found online, or is available with other fine naturist movies in a collection called La Fonte des Neiges and Other Shorts.

    Confessions of a Late Bloomer (2005, currently unavailable) contains not even implied nudity, but is a much better little film on delayed male puberty.

    I have often had to explain to boys that puberty is a passing phase; in a couple of years, all will be equally masculine, and nobody will be able to tell who arrived early and who arrived late.  It will never matter again.  Furthermore,  some men mature before others; some men go bald before others; some men die before others.  We each have our own body clock.  Being first is not always a good thing.

Contact the author: paullevalley@peoplepc.com

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