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Category:    Home > Reviews > Special Interest > Nudity > Naked In The 21st Century – A Journey Through Naturalism

Naked In The 21st Century – A Journey Through Naturalism

(Special Interest)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Main Program: C+



What happened to the Nudist movement?  Did it suddenly disappear in the 1980s?  Did more sexually explicit materials marginalize it or make it irrelevant?  Is it just being ignored?  Is it practical?  Well, Naked In The 21st Century – A Journey Through Naturalism (2005) announces that the movement is alive and well and even on the Internet!  This 46 minutes program tries to be a crash course on the movement and even tries to squeeze in a history of such films since landmarks like the 1932 Michael Midland’s This Nude World and the 1954 Max Nosseck hit The Garden Of Eden, which became the focus of a landmark court case in which its nudity was considered too obscene somehow.  The challengers lost and the film continued to play, opening up the gates for more nudity and sex in films and other media since.  Actor R.G. Armstrong even showed up.


However, the program should have spent more time with that and other reasons for the movement versus the many moments of bad acting that try to show the viewer how fun, natural and easy being a nudist is.  It is also lopsided as you can tell men made this, with much more female nudity than male, though there is full frontal in both cases.  The problem with that in this particular case is that it somewhat contradicts what is being said.  The films led to exploitation films and the hardcore sex films of the 1970s, but this show acts like nudist films have been made for decades and sustained enough production to be its own consistent category.


With that said, especially with so much contradictory information in the media about sex and the body, the thesis of this work is so self-contained that it is almost funny often without trying.  The media shows us sexual images, yet the ideology is sexually oppressing with items like AIDS used as an excuse for further scare tactics.  They say if more people were open about their bodies, there would be less perversion and the like, but does the Las Vegas-style of sex and nudity we see now prove that anything can be overdone?  Besides the idea of certain things being left to the imagination, is it a bit much to be naked/nude while snowmobiling in the cold winter or climbing a rock or mountain without proper gear?  For men in particular, is there not a problem with their nude full frontal smacking into the front of said mountain by accident?  Well, some of it is naďve because the idea of being a nudist takes some denial, but the nudist movement remains one of the few survivors of the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s.  Naked In The 21st Century – A Journey Through Naturalism will not start any new trends, but shows that one is hanging on.  That leaves one last question.  How much in “the gutter’ is the mainstream thinking on nudity and the body?  The producers should consider that one as well next time.


The 1.33 X 1 image is varied, mixing semi-pro NTSC analog video with film footage and stills.  It is a bit choppy and certainly soft in most cases.  The PCM 2.0 16bit/48kHz sound is stereo at best and has no surround information.  Extras include five deleted scenes, the original promo trailer and two short featurettes.  They add little to this, but at least the DVD tackles a subject usually ignored, so that’s a plus.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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