Sex and the movies are forever intertwined — and most of us wouldn’t have it any other way. Sex is a part of life, and movies should reflect life, right? Not necessarily. A Utah company called Cleanflix built a healthy business selling edited — read sanitized — versions of mainstream films to the religiously observant Mormon population. (Another unforeseen consequence of the mass adoption of digital technology.) Andrew James and Josh Ligairi’s evenhanded documentary, Cleanflix, considers the various moral issues raised by this practice, along with such legal niceties as copyright violation. The fascinating underlying thread is the urge to engage with the dominant culture on one’s own terms, a dilemma familiar to anyone who tried to ignore Survivor at its frenzied peak. It’s a mystery, though, what a viewer takes away from a movie that’s been shorn of crucial scenes without concern for their thematic or aesthetic importance. If the butcher boys see fit to snip and trim Shame, let’s hope they have the grace to lose the “e,” also.
Jan. 15-17, 2012