10. Strangers by the lake (2014)
Critics Consensus: Sexy, smart, and darkly humorous, Stranger by the Lake offers rewarding viewing for adult filmgoers in search of thought-provoking drama.
Synopsis: Frank (Pierre Deladonchamps) spends his summer days hopelessly searching for companionship at a popular cruising spot on the shores of… [More] They both become the primary suspects but they choose to ignore the dangers and instead continue to engage in their passionate and potentially lethal relationship. STRANGER BY THE LAKE is an erotic thriller that tests the lengths and limits of sexual desire. (c) Strand
Starring: Pierre Deladonchamps, Christophe Paou, Patrick d’Assumçao, Jérôme Chappatte.
9. THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY(2015)
Critics Consensus: Stylish, sensual, and smart, The Duke of Burgundy proves that erotic cinema can have genuine substance.
Synopsis: provocative ritual that ends with Evelyn’s punishment and pleasure. As Cynthia yearns for a more conventional relationship, Evelyn’s obsession with erotica quickly becomes an addiction that may push the relationship to a breaking point. (C) Sundance Selects
Starring: Chiara D’Anna, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Eugenia Caruso, Fatma Mohamed.
8. THE LAST SEDUCTION (1994)
Critics Consensus: Like Body Heat, The Last Seduction updates film noir techniques for a modern era, imbuing this erotic film with ’90s snark.
Synopsis: Bridget Gregory seems to have it all: beauty, intelligence and a marriage to Clay, a wealthy physician. But everything isn’t enough for Bridget, who persuades her husband to make dirty deals on prescription drugs and then runs with the profit. Now incognito in a mid-American small town, Bridget draws a naive local, Mike Swale, into a smolderingaffair. Passion, greed and revenge forge a desperate triangle between the three as Bridget draws her unknowing victims deeper intoher web of deadly deceit.
Starring: Linda Fiorentino, Peter Berg, Bill Pullman, J.T. Walsh
7. BLUE VELVET (1986)
Critics Consensus: If audiences walk away from this subversive, surreal shocker not fully understanding the story, they might also walk away with a deeper perception of the potential of film storytelling.
Synopsis: Director David Lynch crafted this hallucinogenic mystery-thriller that probes beneath the cheerful surface of suburban America to discover sadomasochistic violence, corruption, drug abuse, crime and perversion. Kyle Maclachlan stars as Jeffrey Beaumont, a square-jawed young man who returns to his picture-perfect small town when his father suffers a stroke. Walking through a field near his home, Jeff discovers a severed human ear, which he immediately brings to the police. Their disinterest sparks Jeff’s curiosity, and he is soon drawn into a dangerous drama that’s being played out by a lounge singer, Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) and the ether-addicted Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). The sociopathic Booth has kidnapped Dorothy’s young son and is using the child as a bargaining chip to repeatedly beat, humiliate and rape Dorothy. Though he’s drawn to the virginal, wholesome Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), Jeff is also aroused by Dorothy and in trying to aid her, he discovers his dark side. As the film nears its conclusion, our hero learns that many more indivduals are tacitly involved with Frank, including a suave, lip-synching singer, Ben (Dean Stockwell), who is minding the kidnapped boy. Director Lynch explored many similar themes of the “disease” lying just under the surface of the small town, all-American faade in his later television series Twin Peaks (1990-91). ~ Karl Williams, Rovi
Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Isabella Rossellini, Laura Dern
6. HANDMAIDEN (AH-GA-SSI) (2016)
Critics Consensus: The Handmaiden uses a Victorian crime novel as the loose inspiration for another visually sumptuous and absorbingly idiosyncratic outing from director Park Chan-wook.
Synopsis:From PARK Chan-wook, the celebrated director of OLDBOY, LADY VENGEANCE, THIRST and STOKER, comes a ravishing new crime drama inspired by the novel ‘FINGERSMITH’ by British author Sarah Waters. Having transposed the story to 1930s-era colonial Korea and Japan, Park presents a gripping and sensual tale of a young Japanese Lady living on a secluded estate, and a Korean woman who is hired to serve as her new handmaiden, but who is secretly involved in a conman’s plot to defraud her of her large inheritance. Powered by remarkable performances from KIM Min-hee (RIGHT NOW, WRONG THEN) as Lady Hideko, HA Jung-woo (THE CHASER) as the conman who calls himself the Count and sensational debut actress KIM Tae-ri as the maid Sookee, THE HANDMAIDEN borrows the most dynamic elements of its source material and combines it with PARK Chan-wook’s singular vision and energy to create an unforgettable viewing experience.
Starring: Min-hee Kim, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-Woong, Kim Hae-suk
5. WEEKEND (2011)
Critics Consensus: It may be a chamber piece but Weekend’s revelations on modern sexuality expand far beyond the modest setting.
Synopsis: Weekend follows Russell (newcomer Tom Cullen, Best Actor winner at Nashville), who, after randomly picking up artist Glen (Chris New) at a nightclub on a Friday night, unexpectedly spends most of the next 48 hours with him in bedrooms and bars, telling stories and having sex, while developing a connection that will resonate throughout their lives. This affecting and naturalistic romance is beautifully realized, earning comparisons to Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise in its exploration of how two people can come together only briefly, yet impact each other in a profound way. — (C) Sundance Selects
Starring: Tom Cullen, Chris New, Jonathan Race, Laura Freeman.
4. EXOTICA (1994)
Critics Consensus: Exotica simmers with sex and obsession, while successfully doubling as an extreme character study.
Synopsis: The action in this film revolves largely around the Exotica strip club, a faux-tropical hothouse where young female dancers cater to their customers’ sexual and psychological needs. As the film hypnotically unfolds, the relationship between troubled taxman Francis and young stripper Christina is slowly explored.
Starring: Bruce Greenwood, Mia Kirshner, Don McKellar, Arsinée Khanjian.
3. BODY HEAT (1981)
Critics Consensus: Classic film noir gets a steamy, ’80s update with Body Heat
Synopsis: Lawrence Kasdan’s first directorial effort is a throwback to the early days of film noir. The scene is a beastly hot Florida coastal town, where naive attorney Ned (William Hurt) is entranced by the alluring Matty (Kathleen Turner in her film debut). Ned is manipulated into killing Matty’s much older husband (Richard Crenna), the plan being that Ned’s knowledge of legal matters will enable both conspirators to escape scott-free. This might have been the case, had not Matty been infinitely craftier than the cloddish Ned. Just when it seems as though the film has run out of plot twists, we’re handed yet another surprise.
Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense
Starring: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna, Ted Danson
2. SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE (1989)
Critics Consensus: In his feature directorial debut, Steven Soderbergh demonstrates a mastery of his craft well beyond his years, pulling together an outstanding cast and an intelligent script for a nuanced, mature film about neurosis and human sexuality.
Synopsis: Steven Soderbergh kickstarted the independent film movement of the 1990s with this landmark drama about the tangled relationships among four people and a video camera. John (Peter Gallagher) is an unscrupulous, self-centered yuppie lawyer with a beautiful wife named Ann (Andie MacDowell). Ann feels secure and well provided-for in their relationship, but she has almost no interest in sex; she tells her therapist that she’s more concerned about waste disposal. John, however, is still quite interested in sex and is having an affair with Ann’s sister Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo), whose personality is fire to Ann’s ice; sex is the one area in which she’s been able to best her more successful sister, and she relishes her ability to seduce Ann’s husband. Into this dysfunctional picture comes Graham (James Spader), a college friend of John’s whom he hasn’t seen in nine years. Graham has decided that talking about sex is more interesting than actually having sex, so he meets women and asks them discuss their desires and fantasies as he tapes them with a camcorder. A sensation at the Sundance Film Festival, the film made that festival a synonym for a new brand of low-budget indie dramas about contemporary life and relationships. Together with Quentin Tarantino’s very different Pulp Fiction (1994), sex, lies, and videotape was one of the most influential movies for independent filmmaking of the 1990s. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity)
Starring: James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher, Laura San Giacomo
1. LA BELLE NOISEUSE (1991)
Critics Consensus: A sensual and hypnotic masterpiece, La Belle Noiseuse luxuriates in its four-hour run time while holding audience attention.
Synopsis: In 1991, the master French director Jacques Rivette released one of his most acclaimed works- the four-hour La Belle noiseuse It was a fascinating and unconventional examination of the creative process, about an artist named Edouard Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli) who reaches the age of 60, and finds new inspiration in a young model (Emmanuelle Beart), much to the quiet indignation of his wife Liz (Jane Birkin). Two years later, Rivette was asked to edit the original 240-minute drama down into a feature-length version that would be more palatable for mainstream audiences. The result was Divertimento (its full title La Belle noiseuse – Divertimento). Released to U.S. cinemas in September 1993, it received much less enthusiastic notices from critics, a fair number of whom (see the Roger Ebert and Vincent Canby assessments) implored viewers to stick with the original. Unsurprisingly, the recut version reduces many of the long, ethereally beautiful sequences that show Frenhofer hard at work on his canvas; instead, it places a much greater emphasis on the emotional toll that Frenhofer’s artistic obsessions and infidelities take on the women in his life. The movie also features a different framing sequence, and incorporates takes unused in the original cut. In the eyes of many, the alterations basically maimed the picture, and Divertimento – unlike its parent film – soon faded into total obscurity.
Starring: Michel Piccoli, Jane Birkin, Emmanuelle Béart, Marianne Denicourt.
This list is subjected to corrections, if you have any other suggestions, drop it in the comment box.