The Ten Best Sex Scenes

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The Independent Culture

The sex scene in this film perfectly reflects the black humour of the whole film. Joaquin Phoenix is trying to get over his mad ex-girlfriend, and picks up a waitress whom he takes home for sex. The scene climaxes with his crazy ex walking in and shooting his conquest in the back.

1 CLAY PIGEONS
David Dobkin, 1998

The sex scene in this film perfectly reflects the black humour of the whole film. Joaquin Phoenix is trying to get over his mad ex-girlfriend, and picks up a waitress whom he takes home for sex. The scene climaxes with his crazy ex walking in and shooting his conquest in the back.

2 DON'T LOOK NOW
Nicolas Roeg, 1973

The sex scene between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie is a classic and oozes sexiness - Roeg's cutting of the scene is beautiful.

3 PERFORMANCE
Donald Cammell, Nicolas Roeg, 1970

I recreated the sex scene under the covers between Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg in a pop promo with Courtney Love, and she started crying.

4 INTIMACY
Patrice Chéreau, 2001

This film is so strange, with its French art-house pretensions, and its setting in a London pub. The scene is when the guy gets a blow job, as it seems so blatant in the middle of an arty film.

5 BAISE-MOI
Coralie, Virginie Despentes, 2000

The whole film is sexy, with Karen Lancaume and Raffaëla Anderson going on the rampage. The scene when they take two guys they've picked up back to the hotel and look across at each other during sex really turned me on.

6 THE PLAYER
Robert Altman, 1992

The sex scene between Tim Robbins and Greta Scacchi is so cleverly done, the way you don't actually see any nudity, only their faces - it just adds to the sexual tension. And I have got a bit of a soft spot for Greta Scacchi...

7 AMELIE
Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001

This is probably my favourite sex scene in a film. It's the bit when Audrey Tautou contemplates how many people are having orgasms at any one point, followed by the shots of various people in the throes of a climax. It's so incredible. I have recreated that in a pop promo, too.

8 THE HUNGER
Tony Scott, 1983

The opening sequence is amazing, with Susan Sarandon performing her experiments on monkeys, cutting to David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve picking up a couple of swingers in a club and taking them back to their house where they kill them in a sexual act. As you can tell, I'm fascinated by the juxtaposition of life and death in these murderous sex scenes.

9 LOOKING FOR MR GOODBAR
Richard Brooks, 1977

Diane Keaton is great in this film, as a successful teacher of deaf children during the day who, after a short and unhappy affair, starts to spend her nights cruising bars. Her craving first for sex, but later also for drugs, leads into increasingly demeaning and dangerous situations, and the final scene sees her being killed during sex.

10 GET CARTER
Mike Hodges, 1971

The scene in which Michael Caine indulges in phone sex with Britt Ekland is great, especially the way that his unresolved desperation after she puts the phone down leads to him sleeping with the old landlady. I love the bit when they wake up together to the sound of a kazoo band - hilarious!

Rankin will present his short film 'Perfect' at After Dark: Future Cinema, at the ICA in London (020-7930 3647), from 8pm on 16 June ( www.afterdark04.com)

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