I watched the movie Nine the other day, starring some of my all-time favorite actors and actresses Kate Hudson, Marion Cottilard, Sophia Loren and of course Daniel Day-Lewis. Daniel plays Guido Contini, this seductionist movie maker who somewhere between creating movies and living the life of fame gets lost between reality and cinema (based on the true story of). I thought the film was highly intense, emotional, and displayed an interesting struggle of religion’s role on one’s humanity.
After the scenes of the mistresses, the women half naked dancing on stage and the poor wife who watches it all happen, a flashback of Guido’s childhood getting slashes from a priest for watching a woman do a striptease of sorts was the memory the movie chooses to go back to. At some point after the success of his career, Guido meets the Pope for spiritual guidance. He is unhappy, miserable even, with his life of mistresses and excess. The Pope tells him he is a huge fan of his movies.
More recently, I have been intrigued by the role religion plays on sexuality and vice versa. I thought this movie drew an interesting introspection into how religion can scare us away to choosing a life of fantasy over law, and yet how hyper-sexuality can take us away from the beauty a religious life can offer. How do we find the balance?
Awhile back I wrote about this type of struggle in regards to Jewish dating — this concept of shomer negiah, not touching the opposite sex at all until marriage, versus secular dating of one-night stands. You can read the piece “The Touch of Two Worlds” here. Neither side of the extreme seems to be what G-d intended, in my opinion, so how do we find that balance and what affect does that have on our sexual and religious outlook later on?
Nine made me think a lot about this. It made me think a lot in general. It’s creativity, and struggle, and finding oneself in the balance of the two, was fascinating.
Did you see the movie? What did you think?