Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Erotic: I think not

The other night I was watching the re-incarnation of 120 Minutes on VH1 Classic, and, while I was complaining about it being videos that I already knew and probably didn't come on the original, the video for Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game." As a malleable mind, this song got me really, really into him and his music. As I reflect back, it is still a beautiful song, one that became well known due to its racy video featuring the directorial work of Herb Ritts and Helena Christensen, one of the world's great supermodels (I actually like her print work, and, from the spread in last fall's W where they compiled all of the great models of the last 25 years or so together, she's still in quite good form. I'm not just a perv; I do actually know something about fashion).

As I watched this infamous video, I noticed something that stood out to me in a bad way: it's not actually a sexy video. Yes, Ms. Christensen is naked, but is a nude woman all it takes for something to be sexy and erotic? The song is about how the protagonist finds the girl to be very attractive, but knows that their love is doomed to fail. She plays with his heart, she leads him on. He sees her and thinks that he stands a chance, only to realize that he doesn't.

The video plays this out. Christensen's heart is detached from her body, which is there in the scene being embraced by the passionate embrace from the interested and concerned Isaak. Her eyes shift and stare off into the distance, her body is limpid and unengaged. Her whole physical presence displays a displeasure with her current situation as well as maintaining herself as an unattainable ideal for Isaak, which pans out from the lyrics. Even though it could have been fun at the beginning, this love was not what she wanted from the situation. Isaak is, on the other hand, exactly where he wants to be: holding the woman who clouds his minds and fills his dreams. While his love for her was true, hers for him was not and the video holds this line true. But, with this in mind, how does this video become erotic? Is it the concept of fantasy, that one can be either person and imagine themselves in that situation. If you like the lads, you could be in Christensen's place and engaged in sexual relations with Isaak or vice versa? I guess that this is the only way that this video can hold a sex appeal because watching two people with no passion for each other is not really erotic. The video is beautiful, and I still love it. But, the video is no longer erotic, sexual, or anything of the sort to me.