“Maybe you’ve seen her: a girl-child in a heavily soiled nightdress, creepy-crawling on her belly through a garden of toadstools in the yard beside an old dark house. She is ‘The Sixties’–in all its promise and eventual deformity–coming into being, coming up from underneath.”
— the opening paragraph of “A Child’s Garden of Flies: Jill Banner’s Deadly Spider Baby”, an essay by CHUCK STEPHENS about B-movie actress Jill Banner, best known for Jack Hill’s 1964 creep-fest “Spider Baby” (written for the magazine “Film Comment” [Jan/Feb 1915, Volume 51, Number 1])
Writer and essayist Chuck Stephens is a Contributing Editor to Film Comment magazine, former West Coast Editor of Filmmaker, and has written for the Village Voice, Cinema Scope, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Interview, and numerous publications around the world. He is also a longtime contributor to Criterion.com projects, and has authored numerous essays for laser discs and DVDs in The Criterion Collection.
“… In D.H. Lawrence sexual freedom has the feel of a dramatic or tragic result. A short time later, in Henry Miller’s work, sex is surrounded by lyrical euphoria. Thirty years later, with the work of Philip Roth, sex is simply a given, taken for granted, achieved, commonplace, inevitably codified; neither dramatic, nor tragic, nor lyrical.
But in the days of Tolstoy, it was love that stretched over the vast terrain; from first encounter to the brink of coitus, that was a frontier not to be crossed. There were no musings about just how long it was since Kerenin and Anna had stopped making love; no euphoric lyricism about Anna and Vronsky’s trysts: Was he good at bringing her to climax? Did they make love in the dark, in bed, or was it on the carpet with all the lights on? Did it last three minutes or three hours? Was there romantic whispers in Anna’s delicate earlobes, or course obscenities? Did they scream in carnal passion, or breathed in the silence, occasionally letting a small gasp escape as pleasure overtook them?
We don’t know a thing about it. For Tolstoy this carnal passion was buried within the life and breath of love.”
— MILAN KUNDERA, author and essayist… Taken from his essay “Love In Accelerated History”
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