*** This Post Contains Possible Spoilers****
Saltburn has been a massive hit, but it certainly has people divided on how to feel about certain scenes in this movie. As a queer person, I could say, I was much less shook about some of the scenes than most, but still, other scenes certainly had some impact, and I can't stop thinking about them! I couldn't help but dive into the world of bold storytelling, mesmerizing cinematography, and, of course, the much-discussed "Vampire/Period Sex Scene", and why it echoes Revol Cares’ mission of period positivity and breaking taboos!
One of the biggest themes throughout the movie as said by the director, Emerald Fennell, is beauty. The mansion that was chosen as the setting in Saltburn was specifically chosen because of it's grand beauty, but with certain unsettling or casual details, like hats on priceless statues, which prompts the viewer to feel disquieted, a sort of foreshadowing of what's to come.
Speaking of disquieting beauty, one could say that the “Vampire/Period Sex scene” is visually captivating in its cinematography, but is controversial in content to some. In this scene from Saltburn, Oliver wholeheartedly embraces period intimacy as he goes down on Venetia during her period. The depiction is refreshingly positive, despite Oliver's manipulative nature, breaking taboos around period sex, with both characters proudly wearing their shared experience, evident in the empowering visuals of blood-stained nightgowns and Oliver's approving grin. Fennell Explained to TIME that it was an "effective" scene because it was, "Telling Venetia that her body, rather than something disgusting, is in fact beautiful and arousing."
Fennell goes on further to explain, "Menstrual blood still is something that people are squeamish about, but I think actually, it's an incredibly effective sex scene because he’s worshiping her body, and everything that her body produces, and that's not something that anyone has ever done for her before."
At Revol Cares, we champion period positivity and inclusivity. Saltburn not only challenged societal norms around sex and periods, but also subtly highlighted sexuality in a devil-may-care way. A nod to the progressive storytelling we hold dear. Not to mention, we believe everyone should be comfortable about and able to speak freely about periods, including cis men.
As I reflect on Saltburn, I can clearly see that doing things that no one has done before comes with its share of applause and critique. Similarly, the mission at Revol Cares is constantly learning, growing, and debunking myths surrounding periods, as well as working on providing even more size and gender-inclusive styles this year. This movie ultimately teaches us that story-telling is a powerful tool, by portraying period sex, in a weird way, in a more positive light.
To finish this all off, here’s another quote from Fennell, who told People, “I'm interested in how it makes you feel. Did you feel something you've never felt before in a movie? And if that's the case, then the movie is effective, and it's worked, and that's what we wanted to do.”
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