Gentleman Reg released his great new album Jet Black this week and to mark the occasion we’ve solicited a movie memory from Toronto’s indie rock sweetheart. In case you’re just tuning in, Movie Memories is the recurring feature in which musicians tell us the scene of male nudity that left the greatest impression on their once-impressionable minds.
For this edition, Reg remembers Neil Jordan’s 1992 IRA thriller The Crying Game, notorious for its dramatic, gender-bending plot twist. “It definitely wasn’t the first time I’d scene male nudity in film,” he says. “But it was the one that had the most impact on me for sure.”
Find out why and watch the original (NSFW) clip after the jump!
RELATED: Download “You Can’t Get It Back” by Gentleman Reg
Jaye Davidson and Stephen Rea in The Crying Game.
In The Crying Game, Stephen Rea plays an IRA operative who moves to London and shacks up with the girlfriend of a British soldier he is responsible for killing. In a plot twist that was shocking to almost no one at the time because the media had so thoroughly spoiled it, he discovers the woman he loves has a little something else going on downstairs.
“You see a very close-up shot of a penis of a character who is a transwoman,” says Reg. “One thing that struck me about this film was that it did well on a mainstream level. It was the kind of film you could go see at the mall. So in that setting it was completely uncommon to see male nudity.
“Secondly, the shot of the penis was a huge revelation in terms of the plot, and for the character, who was assumed to be a woman up until that point. But here’s the thing that actually made the most impact on me: the lead male actor forms a relationship with this character even after learning she’s trans. It was the realization that even a masculine, middle-aged member of the IRA could potentially be open to other sexualities. And as a young person coming into my own sexuality, this was huge. It really made me question a lot of things. Like, if this guy is into a woman who has a penis, then maybe I’m gay!
“Years later, I remember the film being shown on television and watching it with my dad, who knew not of the ‘plot twist’. I distinctly remember leaving the room for that scene as I couldn’t bare to watch it next to my dad!”
BONUS! “The Crying Game” is also a song that Boy George covered for the film’s soundtrack. Watch Kylie Minogue perform her own cover version below!