“Non, the kiss is not over with.” Those were the hopeful words of Franck Riester, France’s culture minister, as he announced that film production was returning to the country – and with it the on-screen kiss (don’t worry, actors will be tested first). And let’s be honest, who could envision a French film – or any film for that matter – without a bit of raunch?
Indeed, some media outlets have been declaring the end of romance on the big and small screens at a time when cinematic chemistry has been keeping many of us sane while we have lacked close contact ourselves. One of the shows that captured attention during lockdown was Normal People (pictured), an adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel. And surely we can admit that the incredibly frequent steamy scenes were among the reasons for its success. And for something a bit less charming, just look at one of the most popular films on Netflix in recent weeks: some have described 365 Days (or 365 DNI in its original Polish title) as soft porn. Perhaps it is but it’s still a runaway hit – and we can expect a sequel soon.
I’ve often worried about the end of affection or sex on the big screen. Over the past few decades, films have become a bit anodyne; too many wizards, monsters, superheroes and bland couples. But perhaps my fears were misplaced: audiences seem to be tiring of the fantasy world and TV networks are once again producing racier and more daring series. The French, of course, have always offered films portraying intimacy in a magical way – and I, for one, am glad that they will continue to do so.