Kissing scenes in movies can be controversial when they conflict with cultural sensibilities. Audience reactions to these films can vary depending on the eras they come from. Whenever these sequences have some shocking impacts on society, conservative groups and individuals may challenge their artistic, marketing, or even moral values as crucial topics of concern.
"The Kiss" (1896)
Produced during the early days of cinema, the William Heise movie "The Kiss," also known as "The May Irwin Kiss" and "The Rice-Irwin Kiss," became a notorious lip-lock moment on the big screen. This short featured an infamous scene where Broadway sensations May Irwin and John Rice reenacted the climactic part of their stage musical "The Widow Jones."
Known as one of the first films to be commercially shown in public, "The Kiss" upset many people during its late 1890s release. Causing a stir in newspaper editorials, many critics deeply expressed how they found the prolonged, magnified kissing scene a public scandal. Its release also resulted in some calls for police action.
"The Shining" (1980)
The Stanley Kubrick horror-thriller masterpiece "The Shining" featured a scene where the half-crazed Jack enters a bathroom door of a mysterious and odd-looking room, then sees a young, naked woman rising from the bath tub. This leads to a passionate kissing scene.
However, when he accidentally looks at the room's mirror, Jack sees her as a creepy and aged woman. Soon he realizes he is actually kissing a wrinkled, partially decomposed corpse. For many viewers, the way Kubrick mounted this particular scene provided a very effective, shocking moment on the big screen.
David Cronenberg's controversial film "Crash" presented many disturbing scenes that incorporated the bizarre fetish for wounds and car crashes. Its story showed the psychological nature of the adventures of people taking sexual pleasure from car accidents.
"Crash" features a scene where a man kisses and even makes love with his injured wife after deliberately causing a car crash. The story led to the discovery of an underground subculture of scarred and weirdly omnisexual victims of road accidents and how these characters eroticize and even reenact famous vehicular deaths. Generating immediate controversy during its release, a number of conservatives expressed their concerns against the movie's daring premise and graphic sexuality and violence.
"The Dreamers" (2004)
The Bernardo Bertolucci film "The Dreamers" contains a scene of a young woman making love with a young man on her apartment's kitchen floor. Meanwhile, her twin brother simply fries eggs on the nearby gas stove.
After the sexual act, her brother touches her thigh and his fingers get covered with blood from her broken hymen. The guy she had sex with also touches her blood, smears it onto her face, and the two of them passionately kiss.
Set in 1960s Paris during the tumultuous political landscape of those times, this film radically explored perversion, sexuality, and incest through a tale of three young cineastes drawn together way beyond their passion for movies.
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