Nebula Original

Taboo on Screen

Broey Deschanel
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Taboo on Screen investigates the many ways taboos are presented and received in popular filmmaking. It explores a variety of films that attempt to shed light on the shunned, fringe, and uglier aspects of the human condition — successfully or not.

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Episode 1

Should We Get Rid of Sex Scenes? (Part I)

Lately, sex scenes have been the subject of quite a bit of malaise online. Whether it’s because they’re uncomfortable, exploitative, or downright “unnecessary”—these scenes tend to cause quite a stir. But does that mean we should get rid of them altogether? This episode explores the online backlash to Sam Levinson’s controversial show, The Idol, as well as the decades–long disappearance of the sex scenes from mainstream film.
Episode 2

Should We Get Rid of Sex Scenes? (Part II)

The Me Too era pushed us to rethink our favourite sex scenes. And since then, Hollywood has course-corrected and introduced intimacy coordinators to encourage safer practices on set. So why it is we’re still icked out by sex on screen? This episode unpacks the great cultural forces that have led to this current sexless moment and asks: are sex scenes more necessary than we think? Honey, get the bolt cutters. It’s time to escape from horny jail!
Episode 3

Getting Away With Murder: The Twisted Films of Todd Solondz

If there was ever a filmmaker willing to “go there,” it’s Todd Solondz. But how is it that Todd Solondz is able to ostensibly “go there,” stooping to the lowest depths of humanity, and make us laugh while doing it? This episode explores the way Solondz uses dark humour to shock his audiences, comment on the human condition, and (almost) get away with it.
Episode 4

Pretty Babies: The Problem of Girlhood in Film

Everyone is always asking, “Will someone think of the children?” Yet this question never seems to benefit… actual children. In light of the recent moral panic over the 2020 Netflix film Cuties, we are once again debating whether depiction equals endorsement. Cuties is much like another highly controversial film, Pretty Baby, in the way it poses uncomfortable truths about the exploitation of young girls. In this episode, we discuss these two films, their mark on the culture, and if they’re worthy of redemption. If 2023 was “the year of the girl”, maybe these once maligned films are more important than ever.
Episode 5

John Waters and the Art of Obscenity

For as long as time itself, people have tried to separate art from obscenity. Yet John Waters had made it the goal of his career to do just the opposite. Waters and his unruly band of misfits he calls Dreamlanders practically invented shock humour. And their “bad taste trilogy” is every bit as grotesque, vile, offensive, and obscene, as it promises. In fact, Waters’ films are so completely and proudly devoid of morals that they sometimes verge on unforgivable. So why do we consider them art?
Episode 6

Cannibalism in Film: Revenge Tastes Sweet

Cannibalism. A word that makes us shiver in our boots. From Hannibal Lecter to Leatherface, we’re used to seeing cannibalism in horror movies. But one movie, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, brought cannibalism back to its Shakespearean origins. This exquisite 1989 arthouse film elevated our tastes, and pushed us to consider, who is not a cannibal?
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Broey Deschanel
Created by
Broey Deschanel

Maia, AKA Broey Deschanel, is a cultural critic from Toronto, Canada. She posts monthly film analysis videos, co-hosts a podcast called Rehash, and is currently writing a book about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. When Maia is not overthinking film, television, or “the culture,” she is spending time with her cat Moonie and gushing at Pingu memes on Instagram.

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