Epic (300 mins) about the lives of two friends, a
landowner's son, Alfredo Berlinghieri (Paolo Pavesi, later Robert de
Niro) and a peasant's, Olmo Dalcò (Roberto Maccanti, later Gerard
Depardieu), both born on January 1, 1900 in Emilio, Italy
In an early scene in a silkworm farm,
Olmo (Maccanti) has taken his wet clothes off and retracts his
Alfredo (Pavesi): That must
hurt a lot.
Olmo: Why should it hurt?
Alfredo: The skin's all back.
Olmo: Let's see if yours is any
different. (Alfredo pulls out his.) Looks just like
a cocoon. Pull the skin back and look just like mine.
Alfredo: It won't go.
Olmo: Well pull harder.
Alfredo: Oh, it burns!
Olmo: Ah, it burns because
you're not courageous, and you're not a socialist!
Years later Alfredo (de Niro) hires a woman for
them both. As they undress, Olmo (Depardieu) pulls on his foreskin, and again as they both become
uncomfortable at the prospect of sexual activity together. In bed hey
are both naked with the woman between them, and both men have exposed glandes. De Niro is
In his voice-over, Bertolucci says an overarching
theme was the two men as two sides of the same coin. He wanted a
Russian and an America to play the leads, but the USSR would not
cooperate, so he made do with the French Depardieu. He saw the first
scene as adolescent exploration, and the second as being about the
unbridgable gap between the two men. The second scene may have no
connection with the first, and the men's circumcision status may have
been unimportant to him.
Grim dramas about the intersection between
HIV/AIDS, greed, poverty, money and blood. In a prologue and three
unconnected parts set in China, Canada and Africa; the prologue is a
flashforward to the middle of the third part. (There is a version in
which the three parts are intercut together.)
In the prologue, Bongile (Siv Mbelu) is one of a
group of Xhosa initiates in coastal South Africa (near a spectacular
waterfall) who are ritually circumcised as part of their rite of
passage to manhood. The actual circumcisions are heard but not shown.
We see the youths coat each other's bodies in mud, and lined up, the
circumcisor (Mbutuma Gubo) raises the knife, chops, and says "Now you
are a man" to which they respond "Now I am a man" as a blanket is put
over them. There are quick shots of the bloody knife and the pile of
foreskins. The voice-over (Olympia Dukakis) says how washing the mud
off afterward makes them feel as if they have grown a new skin.
In the third part, a novice nun (Choloe Sevigny)
says of a man who has raped a small child in the belief that having sex
with a virgin will cure him of AIDS, "I think he should be circumcised
below the belly button." There is a suggestion that poverty caused one
of the intitiates, Bongile's brother Huku (Anele Solwandle), to delay
his initiation until after he was old enough to have had sex, and so
his blood infected the others.
Circumcision is shown as the cause, not a
prevention of HIV infection.
with a theme about the jargon and uplifting twaddle of rehabilitation.
A young woman (Sandra Bullock) is spending 28 days
in a rehabilitation centre. While eating, a woman finds an eyelash she
lost and says
everyone must make a wish.
Jean-Baptiste): Custody of my children. Gerhardt (Alan Tudyk): Sobriety. Roshanda: Oh come on, baby, we all want
that. Gerhardt: My foreskin back. No one asked
before they took it; they just took it. They had no right to take it.
The others snicker.
Oliver (Mike O'Malley): Way to share,
Gerhardt, way to share.
The others laugh.
Gerhardt is a figure of fun. He is gay,
self-absorbed and confused. Earlier, at a therapy session he launched
into a monologue about a fork in the road and trailed off into talking
about ladles. Later, told he can look for a partner when he can keep a
plant alive, he talks to the plant, sketches it - everything except
water it - then blames the seller when it dies. The underlying message
is that only such a hopeless person could mind being circumcised.
Coming right after "We all want that" the line's message is that
Gerhard has picked something nobody (in his right
mind) could possibly want.
Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton) and his kid brother,
Danny (Edward Furlong), racist skinheads of Venice Beach, vandalise a
grocery story that has been taken over by Latinos and Koreans. They
terrorize the Latino employees, calling one "You fucking doggy dick!"
Pie 5/Presents: The Naked Mile
Just before the characters
run the mile of the title (a college tradition
after exams), Dwight Stifler (Steve Talley) gives a speech to
three other characters to encourage them. In the background,
Stifler! You uncircumcised twat!
Stifler: Jackson, you little-dicked
Clearly "uncircumcised" is meant as an insult. Since the literal
meaning of "twat"
is vulva, the expression is doubly insulting, but
American Werewolf in London
Two American students backpacking
across Europe, David Kessler (David Naughton) and
Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne), are attacked by a werewolf on the Welsh
moors. Jack is killed (but since this is about werewolves, that's not
the end of him) while David is wounded
and taken to a hospital in London. Nurse Alex Price (Jenny Agutter) is
looking in on David when
fellow nurse Susan Gallagher (Anne-Marie Davies) enters.
Susan: Is he all right?
Alex: Yes, I should think. He
called out just now.
Susan: He's American, you know.
Doctor Hirsch is gonna fetch one of them embassy fellas to see him.
Alex: His chart says he's from
Susan: Oh, I think he's a Jew.
Alex: What makes you say that?
Susan: I've had a look.
Really, Susan, that wasn't very proper. Besides, it's common practice
Dr. Hirsch (John Woodvine) (entering):
Nurse Gallagher, Nurse Price is quite right.
Nurse Price is not quite right. Her "now" and
Hirsch's agreement implicitly endorse circumcision by implying it is
"modern" - when in fact it became common more than 75 years earlier,
and had been largely abandoned in the UK, as any real doctor in London
(based on Fisher's
As a boy, Antwone lived with foster parents
(called Tate in the film) and was abused physically, emotionally and
sexually. As an adult, Antwone (Derek Luke) and his girlfriend Cheryl
(Joy Bryant) look at his birth and adoption records in an unsuccessful
attempt to find his real parents. The scene lasts just a few seconds
but by freeze-framing, it is possible to read:
... 1984 Mrs. Tate [states?] that child and brother like to urinate in wash baskets, [?] and bottles during the day. She added that bedwetting was no longer a problem.
I had Antwone take a physical and it was recommended circumcision on elective admission basis. He was admitted to University Hospital on [8/6/84?] and operated on [8/8/84?] and discharged on [8/9/84?].
He was well-prepared for this surgery, ...
This appears to be an instance of punitive
Antwone reads this poem in the film:
Who will cry for the little boy,
lost and all alone?
Who will cry for the little boy,
abandoned without his own?
Who will cry for the little boy?
He cried himself to sleep.
Who will cry for the little boy?
He never had for keeps.
Who will cry for the little boy?
He walked the burning sand.
Who will cry for the little boy?
The boy inside the man.
Who will cry for the little boy?
Who knows well hurt and pain.
Who will cry for the little boy?
He died and died again.
Who will cry for the little boy?
A good boy he tried to be.
Who will cry for the little boy,
who cries inside of me?
In the film, Antwone was born in 1976, making him
about eight years old in 1984. (In real life, he was born in 1959.)
of the Devil
YouTube video (14'30")
Synopsis: A Catholic priest (Ray Mcanally [pseud.?]) is led to a giant
intact penis in a cave in Iraq. Removing it awakens the gigantic Devil
(Arden Banks), but it is also the last part needed to (re?)assemble a
giant Robot Jesus under the Vatican. The last step, ordered (4:40) by
the Pope (Roger Conley), is His circumcision (by a remote controlled
giant Lego/drill-rig laser "circumtron"/Gomco clamp). The cut edge
activates Robot Jesus (Mike Stegall) with electrical discharges, and he
speaks in a heavy menacing voice. The Pope launches him like a missile
from Vatican Square and he flies to New York.
At a heavy metal concert, the crowd run from the Devil. Robot Jesus and
the Devil fight, and the crowd, including the priest, applaud Jesus,
but electricity from Jesus' penis (10:30) makes him kill some of the
crowd and start to destroy New York. The Devil sees the lightning
coming from Robot Jesus' penis (11:40) and restores his foreskin with a
touch. The priest says "It is He who performs
miracles," and the two giants part as friends, Robot Jesus flying into
a disturbance in space, the Devil wading into the sea. The priest, now
heavily pierced, waves goodbye to Satan.
Revolutionarily, circumcision makes Robot Jesus
evil, and the Devil cures him.
about the problematic relationship between a Muslim and his pregnant
There are several references to circumcision, all
meant to be funny.
A male-bonding episode between Ismaël (Roschdy
Zem, who co-authored and directed), his Jewish partner Milou (Pascal
Elbé, another co-author), and their non-denominational French friend
has some banter about doing it when he was 3½ ("It was fun; I had a
party") compared to eight days ("How cruel, you can't even remember
it"). The inconsequential milquetoast
pipes in "We don't do it!" but he is ignored.
The idea that any boy finds his circumcision "fun"
I Said So
about Daphne (Diane Keaton) trying to find a boyfriend for the youngest
of her three daughters, Milly (Mandy Moore).
Milly is at her new boyfriend's house. While he is
in bed in the
next room, she surruptitiously telephones her mother and sisters Mae
(Piper Perabo) and Maggie (Lauren Graham). Daphne puts her on speaker
Daphne: So, how's it going?
Milly: It's good, it's good...
the only thing is, I think he may have a
hotdog with a bun.
Daphne: Are you having a
Mae: No! Uncircumcised is back
Maggie: You know, that guy I
dated before Derrick, he had a - hmm - and I preferred it, because it
was so much more dramatic when it finally made its appearance. You were
like, WOW! (runs her
hands down the sides of her head, like a foreskin sliding back to
reveal the glans)
Daphne: Honey, just remember,
he's accomplished, he's considerate, and don't forget, you have one
breast smaller than the other.
The family is portrayed as not mincing words
speaking frankly about sexuality (Milly, in one scene, describing an
to her mother) yet
Milly is not certain about his status.
Maggie doesn't know, or won't use, the word
Daphne (ignoring Maggie's preference) implies
she thinks a foreskin
needs to be compensated for, and
is a disfigurement
The film has had sharply mixed reviews.
Mohammed Abdel-Karim (Wadie
Andrawis) is an Islamic patriarch in Southern California, Sahira (Ruth
Osuna) his medical student daugher. "Variety" (Jan 18, 2004) describes
the climax, involving female genital mutilation, as "blood-curdling".
Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) is an orphan adopted by
a famous figure-skating coach who is raising him to be a champion,
while Katie Von Waldenburg (Jenna Fischer) is the untalented younger
sister of a brother-sister figure skating team. They set her up to spy
on Jimmy and his skating partner but Jimmy and Katie become
romantically involved, so Katie admits she's been spying, and they are
soon telling each other the horrors of growing up in such a competitive
sport. Jimmy says his foster-father insisted he be circumcised "to
reduce wind resistence."
This might, and should, elicit horror, but also
might be taken as light relief, circumcision being "trivial" and the
reason given so ludicrous.
Nick Parker (Rutger Hauer), a blinded Vietnam vet,
uses his samurai fighting skills and concealed sword to rescue his old
Army buddy, Frank Devereaux.
Nick: Where is Frank Devereaux?
Cobb (Charles Cooper): F.O.
Errol Flynn! You know what that means? Fuck off!
(Nick swings his sword and shaves off
Cobb's bushy eyebrows. Cobb looks shocked.)
Nick: I also do circumcision.
Makes circumcision trivial (with an underlying
castration threat: "Next time it won't just be your eyebrows"), but
also implies it is a delicate task.
Story of love between two
sheep-herders in Wyoming, starring Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar and
Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack Twist (with Peter McRobbie as John Twist),
Directed by Ang Lee ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon").
The short story by Annie Proulx includes a scene where Ennis
remembers Jack telling him how his father punished him for uninating on
the toilet seat by urinating on him, and how Jack
learnt at that moment that he was circumcised, because his father was
not, shattering any possibility of a relationship. The scene is not in
I'm a Cheerleader
Comedy about a schoolgirl
(Natasha Lyonne) sent to a "cure" camp after she is suspected of being
In one class, Mary J. Brown (Cathy Moriarty) requires the inmates to
say what is the "root" of their homosexuality:
Dolph (Dante Basco): Too many
locker-room showers with the ? team.
Jimmy Bosely (Bernie Mac)
must get past an Irish guard. He asserts that he too is Irish, despite
being black. To prove it, he argues that his family is Irish because
they too have gone through "terrible shit" - potato famine,
unemployment...and ... circumcision. The guard, puzzled, and with
guarded sympathy asks: "Circumcision?"
Bernie later tells of twin boys in his family
being born and how they were to be circumcised.
(More detail needed. Circumcision is very rare in
The mentally-ill mother (Angelica Huston) of
Victor (Sam Rockwell), a sex-addicted historical village employee,
stole him as a baby, but her seeming nurse Paige (Kelly Macdonald)
convinces him that his mother fled Italy because she had stolen the
foreskin of Christ and used cells from it to impregnate
herself, so that he is the Second Coming.
Foreskin cells have no power to impregnate after
2000 years, but with holy relics, all bets are off.
"The story of a Hasidic comedian who has converted
What's striking is that the words of the title are
almost never uttered, compared to "Circumcise him".
/ La Circoncision / Tiyabu Biru
by Moussa Bathily, in the Sarakhole language
As an agrarian village prepares for their
traditional circumcision ceremony, the village elders realize that they
can no longer afford the sacrificial cattle, an integral part of the
festivities. Eavesdropping, a group of young boys find out about the
dire situation and decide to steal the cattle so the ritual can
continue. "Visually poetic, with an inspired documentary ambience,
Moussa Bathily’s lone feature film is nostalgic and penetrating."
Tyrone Wilson as Walter Little
"I want a cision..." (based on actual events):
Refreshingly different: man
is not circumcised, and resisting it is a token for
thinking for oneself.
A Slice of Life
Comedy in 10 minute episodes.
Gleb Kaminer migrates from Azerbijan to Israel, where the army requires
him to be circumcised. Pain is emphasised and the usual jokes
trotted out. The details of the operation are not shown, but his
(large) foreskin is seen flying through the air and landing in a basket
The point of this movie seems to be to show off
Gleb Kaminer's technical skill (he plays every role). He clearly has no experience of a
foreskin and the movie says nothing useful about circumcision.
Desserts, Light Fare
Two white South Beach,
Florida, gay men find they are involved with the same man. One
complains of "too many uncuts", describing them as "disgusting". The
In a film made almost entirely by people with
Spanish names, this may be to illustrate the men's shallowness.
(US release 1987)
In a scene filmed through the
wheels of a moving cannon carriage, three naked Jewish boys take an
outdoor bath in a Ukranian shtetl sometime in the early 1920s. The two
older boys appear to be circumcised, while the youngest one, born after
the Revolution, is not.
There is no suggestion that the third boy is any
less Jewish for being intact.
No direct reference, but two
reviewers independently comment:
A vessel in the shape of an uncircumcised
phallus penetrates Mother Earth and inseminates her core with
nuclear-tipped casings which explode in coordinated waves, thus
returning equilibrium to the planet.
The team jumps into their cigar-shaped ship,
appropriately titled the U.S.S. Massive Uncircumcised Cock, and so
begin their journey to the center of Mother Earth, where they will
penetrate her egg-like core to deposit a payload of nuclear-warhead
sperm, which will rock her body with coordinated waves of post-coital
delight and get her molten juices flowing again, thus saving the planet
from a particularly bad case of sexual frustration.
reviewers pan the movie, Ramsey calling it "astonishingly disastrous"
and Batz "so bad it hurts".)
Dad on the Run
Jonas's father-in-law tells him that in their
North African tradition, Jonas (Clément Sibony) must bury his son's
foreskin after the bris.
Jonas loses the handkerchief containing the foreskin, and in the rest
of the movie he and his best friend search for it around Paris. In the
last scene, after the foreskin has been found and buried, Jonas asks
his friend where his father buried his
The friend replies, "C'mon, not all Jewish families circumcise. My
family, for example, doesn't bother."
Dir: David Cronenberg from the novel by J G Ballard
(not the 2004 film of the same title, dir: Paul Haggis)
About people who are sexually turned on by car
crashes and the dangers involving them. In an early scene, James
Ballard (James Spader) and his wife Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger) are
having normal sex and talking about Vaughan (Elias Koteas) who has been
disfigured in a car accident. Both are attracted to him and talking
about him while having sex arouses them. Catherine casually asks "Is he
circumcised?" along with other sexual questions about Vaughan.
Ballard is English, Cronenberg Canadian, and he set
the film in Canada, so the question need not imply a preference on her
part, and the answer is not open-and-shut. One implication is that
James has seen Vaughan naked, suggesting a degree of intimacy between
Writer Harry Block (Woody
Allen) confuses his life with his writing. On one of his rare visits to
his son Hilly (Eric Lloyd), at a parents-at-school day, Hilly asks him,
"Dad, why doesn't my penis look like yours?" (It is not clear when he
might have seen it to notice.) Harry explains, "because your mother and
I never had you circumcised," but then embarasses an overhearing mother
(Mariel Hemingway) by expanding the topic to the naming of penises.
Hilly says he's going to name his penis "Dillinger", which Harry says
In one of his stories, a psychotherapist (Demi
Moore) who has had a son by Epstein, a former patient (Stanley Tucci),
Harry (voice over): "as if
she had experienced a divine revelation, suddenly became what Epstein
referred to, angrily, as 'Jewish with a vengeance'." Helen: I just rue the day that I
listened to you and didn't have him circumcised. Epstein: What are you, nuts? Helen: We could still do it. Epstein: No, no! He's too old. Helen: Now he's too
old. Epstein: My God, you're like a
born-again Christian, except you're a Jew.
She becomes so devout, she says a blessing before
giving him oral sex. Soon after, she has an affair with an Orthodox
On the basis of his stories, Harry's sister and
brother-in-law accuse him (with some truth) of being self-hating and
Circumcision is only a springboard off which
characters' attitude to Judaism
is bounced - implicitly reinforcing the myth that only Jews circumcise.
Docu-drama about the life of anti-FGC advocate
Waris Diri, played by Ethiopian model Liya Kebede.
"... German writer-director Sherry Hormann
includes a horrifying, graphic re-enactment of Dirie's genital
mutilation as a child, seen in a flashback.
... A love interest (Anthony Mackie) appears briefly, but potential
complications, given Dirie's traumatic history, are alluded to but not
... rather than examine what might have become of her if she hadn't
been so beautiful, the film opts for uplift ..."
It's not a smooth ride to the top of the modeling
world, however. One of the most poignant moments occurs when Dirie, not
yet comfortable with English, goes to the hospital for an infection
arising from her long-ago operation. A British doctor asks a Somali
male nurse to translate his instructions to her, but by subtitles we
see that the nurse berates her instead "for bringing shame on our
Desert Flower is an
entertaining film which manages to be more than just a tale of
empowerment. It's the story of one woman's triumph over adversity, yes;
but it's also a learning experience. One incredible fact: Although the
barbaric practice of female genital mutilation has been condemned by
the World Health Organzation and the United Nations, it's still
commonly performed on as many as 6,000 girls per day.
A lawyer, Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves), defends a
man who has slaughtenered a goat
in his apartment. He says other blood sacrifices are acceptable, such
Cross-examining a woman who claims to have had a
relationship with a man:
Lomax: Is he circumcised?
Witness: (pause) Uhh..
Lomax: Is he cut or not?
Lomax (forcefully): Do you understand
Lomax: So which is it?
Witness: (silence. Cries)
Her hesitation convinces Lomax that she is lying
about having slept with the man. The questioning assumes she is
familiar enough with both kinds to be able to tell the difference - by
no means likely in the US.
Bigelow: European Gigolo
(Raunchy comedy, widely panned)
Deuce (Rob Schneider) and his love interest, Eva, (Hanna Verboom) are
at an aquarium, Deuce leaves her alone and a man who was taunting Deuce
earlier makes lewd remarks to Eva to gross her out, telling her kinky
things he wants to do to her. After some sharp retorts and glares from
Eva, he says "My penis is uncircumcised."
This makes no sense in England and Europe where the
film is set and where almost every man is intact: it would be like
saying "I have ten toes." To US audiences, however, it is intended as
another gross remark. Message: "Intact penises are inherently
A comedy set in Southern France.
In a museum, Freddy Benson (Steve Martin) takes a
quick peek at a nude male statue. He goes "Eeew!" presumably because
the statue's penis is intact.
He would go "Eeew!" a great deal in Italy, Greece
Written and directed by
Quentin Lee, not to be confused with Drift (Netherlands, 2001) directed
by Michiel van Jaarsveld.
Ryan (Reggie T. Lee) is on the phone with
his recent ex, Joel (Greyson Dayne). when he is paged by Leo (Jonathon
Roessler), a 20-year-old they'd recently met at a party. He ends the
call with Joel and phones Leo.
Leo: Hey. What's up?
Ryan: What are you doing?
Leo: Oh, I was just masturbating.
Ryan: Do you want me to call you back?
Leo: No, I just came.
Leo: I don't know. I was just incredibly
Ryan: So, how do you masturbate?
Leo: Nothing kinky. You know- Just my
Ryan: Do you use lubricant?
Leo: No, I'm not circumcised. How 'bout
Leo (laughing): Umm
... This is an incredibly weird conversation.
Ryan: You started it.
Leo: I was just telling you what I was
Ryan (laughing): I
was just curious.
A boy called "Smut" carries
out little rituals with road kills, indicating his troubled state of
mind. He is told by a neighbourhood girl that circumcision is
desirable. He asks his father Madgett what it looks like. Madgett, in
bed, pulls back the bedclothes and says "see, nothing special" (or
words to that effect). (In a generation, circumcision has gone from
commonplace to rare.) Smut circumcises himself, further indicating his
morbid state of mind.
(Director Peter Greenaway has a particular interest
in morbid states of mind.)
George Khan, a strict Muslim
Pakistani (Om Puri) is married to an Englishwoman, Ella (Linda
Bassett), in Salford, Manchester. It is 1971. Their six sons and
daughter, taking part in a Catholic procession, take a detour to
prevent him from seeing them. His eldest son - who proves to be gay -
flees from an arranged wedding. His youngest son, Sajid (Jordan
Routledge), who always wears a parka with a concealing hood (like Kenny
in South Park),
easily wins a pissing contest behind the mosque, but his competitors
see his intact penis and call a Mullah, who inspects him and complains
to his father. George takes him home in shame:
Ella: What the bloody 'ell's
'e done now? George: Done? I tell you what he bloody
done, missus. 'E makes a bloody show of me. All the bloody family
always makes a bloody show of me. I go to that mosque long time. Now
how I looking Mullah in the bloody face? 'Cause your son got bloody
tickle-tackle. Ella: What y' goin' on about, y' big
daft git, what bleedin' tickle-tackle? George: Mullah sees. All the bloody
children in the mosque seeing. Ella: Well they must be seein' things,
George, because they were all done, all six of them.
Auntie Annie (Leslie Nicol): She's right, George. George: You're not believe me? You're
bloody looking! Ella: Sajid, come 'ere. Sajid (backing away):
Get stoofed! Ella: Ay ay, language! I'll stuff you in
a minute, you cheeky little bleeder, now get 'ere an get 'em off!
(Sajid whimpers.) Annie: Come on Saj, let me 'ave a look.
I've wiped your shitty arse before now. (She looks). Oo, 'e's right,
y'know Ella, it's still there!
mother mistaken about her nine-year-old son strains credulity.] George: You sees, is all you bloody
fault! Annie: 's nowt to worry about, George,
you can still get 'im done. Ella: I know who I should've got done. (Annie
snickers) George: No bloody funny, you sees. It's
got be fixed! This thing has to be cutting!
(Sajid runs away) Ey! Come 'ere you bastard!
... Saleem: (secretly an art
student, drawing an intact penis to show his brothers and sister)
We draw 'em all the time at college. ... protects the end of the penis.
... Maneer (the religious one):
Foreskins are dirty. Saleem: They wouldn't be there if they
were dirty. Meenah: Why do they cut it off? Tariq: It lessens
the feeling in y' knob. Maneer: No it doesn't. Tariq: 'Ow would you know? You've
'aven't used yours yet. Maneer: Yes I 'ave.
.... George (calling through a hole
in the outside toilet door to Sajid): You can't 'ave this
thing, my son. It no belong to you. Not our religion, see. No worry
about it. (Cajoling) I buy you nice watch. Ella: Oh why bother with all this now at
'is age, George? George: Your son goin' bloody 'ell with
this thing. But we fixes. Ella: 'E's not goin' to 'ell. George: I tell you, missus, it's my
'ouse, an I bloody control it. (They argue.)
... Ella (through the hole):
Oh, come on Saj. 'S only a little
operation. It won't hurt ...
(The word "hurt" echos as the black hole expands to fill the
screen. It contracts as we pull back from Sajid's hood to reveal Sajid
in his jacket on a hospital trolley, being wheeled away screaming. Cut
to a closeup of Sajid's fly being zipped up. Sajid, now on a hospital
... George: Is everything all right?
Tickle-tackle all gone? Doctor: The circumcision was absolutely
fine. [No question about
the medical ethics of
performing unnecessary surgery on a non-consenting patient.] George: You Indian? Doctor: I'm sorry? Ella (whispers):
George! George: Bastard Indian! ... Sajid (producing
a watch) This is very special watch. It tells the time in ...
Arabic. (Sajid turns away.)
(Sajid has been brought home.) Annie: How's little one doing? Ella: 'S all right. Just a bit sore. Annie: Where's old Bothered-Balls? 'E
'appy now? Ella: Yeah. 'E bought him a new dressing
gown, and a watch. Annie: Hmph. Not much of a swap, but
it's better than nowt, I suppose. Ella: Annie, do you think I'm a good
mother? Annie: No, I think you're a friggin'
awful mother. Ella: Would you've put one of your lads
through all this at 'is age? Annie: Well you 'ad no choice, love. Ella: I did. I could've put me foot down
and said "No." Annie: And given yourself a load of
bleedin' grief. It's 'is religion, Ella. And its theirs, you know that.
You knew that when you got married.
In the climactic fight between George and his
family, Sajid's hood gets torn off. That symbolic circumcision is more
of a coming of age than his literal one.
The overall impression is that circumcision is an
evil, but only one among many examples of George's self-centredness and
Out 4: Drama Camp
Romantic gay comedy: lovers
Casey (Daniel Skelton) and Zack (Chris Salvadore) go to a drama camp
where sex is forbidden and their failing relationship is threatened by
another man, Benji (Aaron Milo).
Zack sniffs Benji's underpants, which makes him
want to masturbate and rub himself with them. They have been
contaminated with poison oak, making him itch all over (50:04). When his friends, though
puzzled about how it happened, commiserate, he says:
Zack: It's like my whole body
is a circumcision wound.
is very painful" but the scene is played for comedy, and the reference
is more gratuitous.
"The true story of Solomon
The film opens with the Bris
of a German baby, shown in some detail. The baby, Solomon, cries weakly when he is cut. In
voiceover, he (Marco Hoffschneider - intact in real life, he wore a
circumcised prosthesis for the nude scene) says he can remember his own
circumcision. On the eve of his Bar Mitzvah, his family flee the Nazis
and emigrate to Poland.
Separated from them, he becomes an unwilling
Russian and Polish interpreter for the German army, as Josef "Jupp"
Peters. He has to conceal his circumcision from the soldiers of his
unit. When he sees hanged Jews, he asks himself, "How could they be so
kind to me and treat the Jews so horribly? What set us apart? A simple
foreskin?" A friend makes a pass at him while he is off-guard in a bath
and discovers his secret, but tells him not all Germans are the same
and is killed soon after.
He is sent to a Hitler Youth boarding school deep
within the Reich. On the train, a woman has sex with him, but before
she exposes him an officer orders her to put the lights out. At the
school he checks the locks on the toilet doors and is relieved to learn
they wear trunks when showering.
He falls in love with a German girl and, inspired
by her poloneck sweater, attempts to restore
his foreskin with string,
but develops a painful infection. Sex with her would expose him, and
she turns to a rival. He has a nightmare in which his family rejects
him and he is told Hitler is Jewish too: "That's why he covers it with
After many close shaves he is saved from the
Russians when he is recognised by a Jewish friend in a concentration
camp they are liberating. They urinate together in the rain as he
embraces his Jewish identity. He emigrates to Palestine and in
voiceover says when he had sons, he "barely hesitated" to circumcise
them. (The real Solomon Perel appears in the last scene.)
The film strongly reinforces the theme that all
and only Jewish males are cicumcised.
Seven women, six of them
lesbian, gather for a reunion following the bris of the son of two
of them, Victoria (Monica Bell) and Katie (Stacy Nelkin). The mohel (Harvey
Fierstein) jokes "Shall we take a bit off the top?" All the women
gather round to watch and the scene fades. (Baby
is circumcised. He seems unaffected afterwards. He also
seems well over eight days old.) Though conventional family structures
are challenged, circumcision is not.
Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) leaves her
9-year-old son, Walter, at home. When she returns he is gone. Months
later, the LA Police Department - riddled with corruption, cronyism and
violence - try to foist off another boy on her as Walter. They make a
big thing of it, with newspaper headlines, pictures of the returning
boy, etc. She spots the switch immediately, but they insist she take
him home on a trial basis.
(Christine comes into the hall and
stops in front of the bathroom door. Knocks.)
CHRISTINE: I found you a pair
of pajamas. I
bought them for Walter but he didn't like the fabric, so -
(She hears him fall and pushes the door
open. Inside the bathroom, she helps "Walter" stand, discreetly turned
away from us.
CHRISTINE: Are you all right?
"WALTER": I fell. Stupid tub.
CHRISTINE: Did you hurt
yourself? Let me see -
(She looks down, stops suddenly, reacting
to something we don't see.
Looks slowly looks up to his face.)
You're circumcised.... Get out. (She takes his hand and
marches him out of the bathroom.)
CHRISTINE (to police
He's four inches shorter than Walter. Boys his age don't shrink. If
anything, he should be taller.
Maybe your measurements are off. Look, I'm sure there's a reasonable
explanation for -
He's circumcised. Walter wasn't.
(Jones glances back, uncomfortable about
with a woman in public view. He lowers his voice.)
JONES: Mrs. Collins...your son
for four months. For at least part of that in the company of an as-yet
unidentified drifter. Who knows what such a disturbed individual
might have done? He could have had him ... circumcised ... might have -
CHRISTINE: Made him smaller?
Captain, please -
They send a doctor over to examine the boy.
CHRISTINE: What about the
DR. TARR: Very likely his
abductor thought it appropriate. After all, circumcision is
hygienically sound. Must have been quite traumatic at the time. No
wonder he's submerged the memory.
These two scenes, with their two contradictory
reasons for circumcising, are apparently there to indicate how
desparate the authorities are to explain away the anomaly; but they are
rather like the contradictory
reasons given for circumcising babies today. (As the doctor
indicates, non-religious circumcision was on its way into fashion in
Los Angeles in 1928.)
Two hookers in Minnesota are
asked to describe the two wanted men they had sex with.
McDormand): I want you tell me what these fellas looked like. Hooker (Larissa Kokernot): Well, the
little guy [Steve Buscemi as "Carl Showalter"], he
was kinda funny-lookin'. Detective: In what way?
[Showalter has buck teeth, slicked-back hair and a pencil
moustache.] Hooker: I dunno. Just funny-lookin'. Detective: Can you be any more specific? Hooker: I can't really say. (inspiration:)
He wasn't circumcised. Detective: Was he funny-lookin' apart
from that? Hooker: Ya. [Much is made of
the Minnesotan "Ya".] Detective: So. You were havin' sex with
the little fella then? Hooker: Anh-huh. Detective: Is there anything else you
can tell me about 'im? Hooker: Nah. Like I say, he was
funny-looking. More than most people even.
This sets up a later scene:
Officer Olsen (Cliff Rakerd):
Well, what'd this guy look like, anyways? Mr Mohra (Bain Boehlke): Ohh, he's a
little guy, kinda funny-lookin'. Olsen: Aha. In what way? Mohra: Ohh, just a general kinda way.
...where the joke is on us for expecting Mohra to know or say anything
about Showalter's circumcision status.
On the positive side, we are invited to consider
the hookers ignorant for thinking intactness is "funny-lookin'". The
underlying message is that circumcision is too trivial for intelligent
people to consider.
Chip (Jason Bateman) is paraplegic - or in some
versions, pretending to be. Tom (Zach Braff) married Chip's former
girlfriend, but thinks Chip is trying to steal her back. When Chip
wheels into a locker room naked, Tom stares and looks shocked. Chip
says it's okay to stare - "He likes it."
Later, a woman who works with both tells Tom that
Chip is great in bed. Chip and Tom argue and Tom accuses Chip of
wanting to "bang my wife with that giant uncircumcised anteater!"
Clearly for Tom, "uncircumcised" is a term of abuse
(and a grudge he has been holding against Chip). This undefined
"wrongness" of intactness is part of the way the
circumcision meme is transmitted.
and Loathing in Las Vegas
Dramatisation of part of the life of writer Hunter
"Raoul Duke" (Thompson, played by Johnny Dep) and
his Samoan lawyer Dr Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) go to Las Vegas. Dr Gonzo
picks up a young girl, but Duke convinces him to get rid of her before
they get in trouble and end up in court with Gonzo accused of violating
the virgin girl with his "uncircumcised member".
Almost all Samoans are in fact circumcised. The
implication is that illegal sex is worse if the penis is not
circumcised, and perhaps that to be intact is to be morally suspect.
The reference is somewhat tongue in cheek, because Thompson/Duke is not
bothered by the "uncircumcised" member, but having a jibe at the
American way of viewing it.
Comedy about Mel Coplin (Ben Stiller), his wife
Nancy (Patricia Arquette) and their incompetent caseworker (Téa Leoni)
searching for Mel's birth-parents so they can name their four-month-old
son. Along the way they meet Paul (Josh Brolin) who is trying to
convince his partner to adopt a child.
Since Paul is gay, the question could arise,
"Which father?" The film touches on many issues, apparently to seem
trendy, but doesn't engage with any of them.
drama based on "Northern Lights", the first of Philip Pullman's "His
Dark Materials" trilogy.
In a parallel universe, everyone has a daemon
(soul, in the form of an animal). To separate a human from their daemon
causes acute pain. Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards) is taken to
Bolvangar in the Arctic, where the evil and powerful Magisterium
performs "intercision" on children, cutting them apart from their
daemons and devastating their personalities. In the ultimate operating
theatre, cold and sterile, the child and their daemon are put in a
cage, a mesh wall is lowered between them, then a sheet of white light
slowly comes down the wall. The Magisterium is still perfecting the
process of intercision, but the evil Marisa Coulter (Nicole Kidman)
says "It's just a little cut". Lyra is saved at the last second from
From the screenwriter/director's commentary:
As in the book, there's something quite off about
the way that people act at Bolvangar. They're not quite aware of the
fact that they're doing something terrible. In fact they're quite proud
of themselves and proud of their station, and they're also
condescending towards chldren. ... And here comes a hateful lie from
the male nurse: "But this is the way that you grow up" and the idea
here is that this intercision process that they're inflicting on
children is something that they see as good for them, and if only they
could perfect the process they would be saving the children from
something terrible, which is the infection of Dust [Original Sin].
Austin Powers (Mike Myers)
laments that his father (Michael Caine) has never been present at key
moments of his life, such as his ordination as Man of Mystery in front
of his school.
When I was first baptized,
When I was criticized,
When I was ostracized,
When I was Jazzercised -
Steak 'n' kidney pies -
When I was modernized,
When I was circumcised,
Daddy wasn't there.
makes little more sense sense in context, but the impression is of a
list of unpleasant experiences.
Boy of the Terraces
coming-of-age film set in Tunisia.
Noura (Selim Boughedir), 12 years old, is lying on
his bed while his little brother, aged about three, is being
circumcised. The sequence jumps from one boy to the other. The little
boy is crying as he is put on a table and circumcised. His older
brother lies clutching his crotch in agony as he hears his brother's
In Lithuania, in 1944, a Nazi soldier, Vladis
Grutas (Rhys Ifans)
and his men have captured a peasant.
Vladis: Are you a gypsy?
Peasant : No, sir.
Vladis (Sniffing him
as a dog would): Are you a Jew?
Peasant: No, sir.
Vladis: Why don't you show us
your dick? (Vladis and his men laugh loudly, but they are
distracted by a loud explosion)
In Lithuania in 1944, none but a Jew would be
circumcised, but the point of the scene is to show Vladis' contempt.
and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo
The girlfriend of one of the boys is off in
Amsterdam and the other taunts him that she is "probably having it off
with some European guys" and that "she probably has a couple of
uncircumcised dicks in front of her face right now".
Though of Korean and Indian origin, their
thought-patterns are thoroughly U.S. They do not, however, suggest that
the girlfriend finds foreskins disgusting.
SYNOPSIS: Harry (BRYCE JOHNSON of WB’s "Popular" & MTV’s
"Undressed"), aged 23, is a former boy band idol who is watching his
younger brother Max (COLE WILLIAMS of ABC’s "8 Simple Rules…For Dating
My Teenage Daughter"), aged 16, follow in his footsteps. Harry escorts
Max on a long-promised camping adventure to the San Gabriel mountains
above Los Angeles but things quickly turn serious as the boys discuss
Harry’s contradictory relationship with their family. Max’s longing to
connect with Harry both physically and emotionally grows even more,
wanting to bring stability to Harry’s life. In an effort to create a
type of alternative family for his brother, Max goads Harry to rekindle
his affections for his former girlfriend, Nikki (RAIN PHOENIX of "O"
and "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues"). Back from the weekend, Max realizes
that he must redefine his relationship with his brother, and that only
by setting boundaries can the boys grow into adulthood together.
On the camping trip, Harry complains bitterly of
having been circumcised at birth. Max sympathizes completely, but the
way the issue is brought up ("I don't know why Mom and Dad had this
done to me") suggests that at some time in the
seven years between the sons' births, the parents saw the light, and
Max is intact. Max also seems to conduct his life with more ease and
honesty, and this is written into the film as consistent with his being
more comfortable with his whole body.
A remarkable departure from the usual US pattern.
Gisèle (Fanny Ardant) converted to Judaism when
she married Alain (Gerard Depardieu), a secular Jew.
"She decides that only a trip to Israel will
inject meaning and renewal into their bourgeois lives. After a holiday
there, ... they pack up their apartment and move. ... Gisele takes to
their new home ... and falls for a young rabbi ... But by the time
Alain submits himself, at his wife's behest, to the mohel's knife --
yes, that would be for a circumcision -- all one can say is "oy."
...As he was never circumcised, the first step
is to be circumcised. He is horrified but eventually acquiesces. The
doctor pronounces that in 35 years he is the first adult on whom he has
removed the foreskin. [In
Israel, with many immigrants from communist regines, that is very
This is mildly anti-circumcision, if his
willingness to undergo it is an indication of his weakness.
about three friends who conspire to murder their awful bosses
Dale Arbus, a dental assistant (Charlie Day) is
sexuallly harassed by his boss Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer
Aniston). While they're working on an unconscious patient, she
purposely sprays the crotch of Dale's scrubs
with a dental water squirter. Dale jumps up from his stool in
shock and dismay.
Dr. Harris: Oooh, I
think we can make out the outline of our little friend
there. Shabbat shalom, somebody's circumcised.
This implies "Circumcision is Jewish", and
"Shabbat shalom" is a Sabbath greeting, not for working hours - but
such a person may be careless with facts.
Two American students, Paxton (Jay Hernandez) and
Josh (Derek Richardson), and an Icelandic friend, Oli (Eythor
Gudjonsson), are backpacking across Europe in search of women. Soon
after they arrive at a hostel, the three go to a sauna, where there are
two topless women. They whisper hellos, then there is a lull. Oli
breaks the silence:
Oli (jumps up):
I'm so happy I shaved my balls. (laughter) What? I
have the smoothest balls in Iceland. (takes off his towel,
stands up and shakes his genitals in Josh's face) Do you want
Josh: No, no,... You're not...
no... I'm good, I'm good. Put your anteater
away. It's totally creepy.
Natalya (Barbara Nedeljakova,
to Josh): You're not from Iceland, no?
f no, American. Yeah, unlike him I had my
foreskin removed at birth. Hygiene
and - am I talking? Ummhuh, I'm Josh.... (Natalya looks at him
in disbelief throughout.)
Apparently just another gratuitous swipe at
intactness, though Natalya's line makes it clear she is familiar with
Icelandic foreskins, and has no problem with Oli's.
Calling a foreskin an "anteater/elephant's trunk/Shar-pei" is just a
way of trying to make one's own discomfort seem objective. And that
discomfort ultimately derives from fear of facing one's own loss. If a
body part looks (a little) like some other natural object, what of it?
about a romance between a doctor in a run-down hospital and his
Ann Atkinson (Glenda Jackson) lists the operations
from which Dr. Charley Nichols (Walter Mattahu) makes money. One is
circumcison. Charley says, "Only for boys."
In 1978, it could be considered funny to refer to
female genital cutting because it was so obscure as to be unthinkable.
horror comedy: an ambitious band sell their soul to the devil
by sacrificing a virgin, but their plans go awry because Jennifer
(Megan Fox) is not a virgin and she comes back as a demon-possessed
Best friends Jennifer and Needy (Amanda Seyfried),
a nerdy virgin, go to a local
bar. There Ahmet (Aman Johal), is sitting alone.
Needy: Hey, there's Ahmet, the
exchange student from India.
Jennifer: I wonder if he's
circumcised. I've always wanted to try a sea
Needy: Eww. (giggles)
Perhaps the left end looks something like an intact penis (covered with
but equally the right end looks like a circumcised penis.
Ambivalent. Even though she's "always wanted to
try" one, "sea cucumber" suggests the rarity of, and the disdain
usually reserved for, the intact penis in the USA. Since Jennifer is
the sophisticated character, it may be her point of view we are
expected to support. From his turban, Ahmet is a Sikh,
so he is almost certainly intact, but Jennifer may not know this.
There is mention of circumcision of the native
people of the Amazon. (They do not practise it.)
Tom Leezak (Ashton Kutcher) is in the bath when
Father Robert (George Gaynes) walks in. The priest sits on the edge of
the bath, looks at Tom and asks "You're
not Catholic, are you?" Tom explains later that he's half Jewish,
the reason he is circumcised.
This reinforces the myth that "Only Jews
circumcise." In fact many boys have been circumcised "because he's Catholic".
In the opening sequence,
narrated by priest Brian Finn (Edward Norton), he and his friend Rabbi
Jacob Schram (Ben Stiller) have parallel problems "coming to grips with
the practical aspects of our jobs".
His robe catches fire and he strikes a parishioner
in the head with his incense burner, and has to put himself out by
sitting in the font, while Jake faints during a Bris. The two scenes
are intercut, but after the establishing longshot we see Jake's
reaction, the baby's trusting face and the mohel's hands reaching
for glittering instruments. We see Jake start to fall and hear a single
"snip" sound and the baby
crying. The following long shots show all but the mohel run to attend
The focus is entirely on the man - though his
reaction speaks volumes about the reality of the unseen circumcision.
That the scene is played for laughs is somewhat sick. Imagine if the
baby were a girl....
Killer Who Never Kills
Comedy/thriller about a compassionate trainee
assassin who fakes his victims' deaths for them.
"Wan & Lee only rarely gets their
audience to laugh. For example, one of Ouyang's targets is a creepy
surgeon who specializes in circumcision. Not only does Ouyang discover
that the guy keeps all the removed foreskins in a gallery of test
tubes, but our hero actually concedes to part company with his own in
the name of undercover surveillance. This sequence has the potential
for comedy gold, especially considering how events play out, but in Wan
& Lee's hands it barely raises more than a smile."
It's progress that the surgeon is "creepy", but as
usual, the loss is trivialised.
about the famous mid-20th century sex researcher, played by Liam Neeson.
Early in his career, Kinsey gives a talk about sex
to married and senior students at the University of Indiana,
illustrated with pictures of an erect penis that is clearly
circumcised, even though Kinsey himself was, and most of his students
would have been, intact at the time, before 1940.
Late in the film, his wife Mac (née Clara
Macmillan, played by Laura Linney) finds him sitting on the edge of the
bath reading letters from people with unhappy sexual histories. Drops
of blood are on the floor between his feet.
Mac: What's that blood? Kinsey: I punctured my foreskin. Mac: Why? Kinsey: People do all sorts of things to
themselves and I wanted to see what they were experiencing. I did not
find it particularly pleasurable.
apparently follows "Sex, the Measure of All Things: A Life of Alfred C.
Kinsey" (1998) by Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy.
But in "Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life" (1997), James H. Jones
puts it differently: "On one occasion when his inner demons plunged him
to new depths of despair, Kinsey climbed into a bathtub, unfolded the
blade of his pocketknife, and circumcised himself without the benefit
Romantic comedy about chalk-and-cheese Ben Stone
(Seth Rogan) and Allison Scott (Katherine Heigl) falling in love during
Alison's pregnancy after a one-night stand.
While awaiting the birth, Allison's sister Debbie
(Leslie Mann) asks her husband about Ben's long-bearded
friend, Martin (Martin Starr).
Debbie: "Is he Ben's rabbi?
Is he the one that cuts the penis?"
she mistakenly believes
If Ben is Jewish, the baby is Jewish;
the rabbi does it
soon after birth; and
(implicitly) only Jews circumcise
- all common enough mistakes.
Anthropologist James Krippendorf (Richard
Dreyfuss) has misused grant money, so he needs to fake some
anthropology. He uses his three kids, Shelley, Mickey, and Edmund, to
help him mock up a documentary on the "Shelmickedmu" tribe. They slap
together several tapes, by splicing actual footage of a tribe with
images of the four of them mucking about their backyard with makeup and
tribal-type clothing. In one scene the eldest son "circumcises" the
younger son with an axe. (One reviewer on the
Internet Movie Data Base calls this "the only thing worth
seeing in the movie." Another loved "all the social commentary
allusions to our own tribal way of living.")
Critic Daniel Barnes slammed the scene in detail
in The Barnesyard blog on November 14, 2005 (reprinted in The E Street review).
Krippendorf’s first order of business
involves faking a circumcision ritual by using his 4 year-old son as
bait, pretending to remove the foreskin with a stone machete. This
“comedic” sequence is extremely prolonged, atonal and disturbing, to
the point that I lamented my lack of a time machine, or any other
technology that would have allowed me to travel back and assassinate
D.W. Griffith for allowing this madness to happen. When Krippendorf
shows his grisly circumcision footage to the public, it causes a huge
sensation that has television network execs clamoring at his door for
more . It makes sense, because we all know how popular genital
mutilation is with the general public these days.
The moral seems to be that circumcision is
primitive and funny when other people do it.
on the 23rd Floor
US (TV), 2000
A group of TV comedy writers
is joking about Catholicism, the Pope, communion.
A Catholic Writer: Take
communion. It beats circumcision. A Jewish Writer: What would you know
about circumcision? [To the others:] Have you ever seen this guy in the
bathroom? He pees straight up.
he has the last laugh, he - and circumcision - wins the exchange, but
cutting a boy's genitals in case he "pees straight up" comes close to
being the silliest circumstition
It Be Io Sono Con Te
Story of Jesus from a woman's perspective, filmed
Includes close-up of a (probably simulated)
circumcision (omitting the tearing of the foreskin from the glans), at
2:47 in this clip. (NSFW)
Life of David Gale
David Gale (Kevin Spacey) is a philosophy
professor at the University of Texas, Austin, who knows a lot of
trivia. Berlin (Rhona Mitra) a failing graduate student, propositions
him, saying she'll "do anything for the grade." He leads her on a
little, then says, "The one thing you can do for the grade is - study."
Later, at a party, Berlin, who has been expelled,
Berlin: "Has anyone ever told
you that after you were circumcised they threw away the wrong part? David: Shmuck. Berlin: Excuse me? David: Schmuck. That's what they call
what is left over from circumcision, schmuck.
David shows off his knowledge of minutiae -
wrongly: schmuck is Yiddish for penis (from the
German for ornament). If Berlin were British like the actress who plays
her, she would not assume that Gale was circumcised. [This dialogue is
slightly different in Wikiquote]
Lost Embrace El Abrazo Partido
Argentina / France / Italy / Spain, 2004
Drama about Ariel Makaroff
(Daniel Hendler), a young Jewish man in Argentina whose father left him
and his mother to fight in Israel.
He views a video, transferred from film, showing
his own circumcision in some detail, and comments "I look like I'm
smiling, but I'm really crying." [Audience members are inclined to
laugh nervously at this.]
In the synagogue, his rabbi shows him his parents'
get (bill of divorcement) and he sees it
has been slashed.
Ariel: Is that intentional?
Rabbi: It's a symbol of the
marriage. It means no one can ever use it again.
Ariel: Ah! Like circumcision.
The rabbi does not reply.
The date of the divorce was earlier than Ariel's
birth, and when his father returns (with an arm missing), Ariel
exclaims, "You cut the wee-wee of a newborn knowing that you cannot