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Which clippings match 'Taboo Subjects' keyword pg.1 of 1
15 JUNE 2014

The peculiar case of the Icelandic Phallological Museum

"Paris has the Louvre. London has the Tate Modern, and New York the Metropolitan Museum. But Husavik, Iceland–a diminutive village on the fringe of the Arctic Circle–boasts the world's only museum devoted exclusively to painstakingly preserved male genitalia. Founded and curated by Sigurður 'Siggi' Hjartarson, the Icelandic Phallological Museum houses four decades worth of mammalian members, from a petite field mouse to the colossal sperm whale, and every 'thing' in between. But, lamentably, Siggi's collection lacks the holy grail of phallic phantasmagoria: a human specimen. Siggi's world changes dramatically when he receives generous offers from an elderly Icelandic Casanova and an eccentric American. However, as the competition for eternal penile preservation heats up between the two men, Siggi soon discovers that this process is more complicated than it initially appeared. In their debut feature film, Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math follow Siggi on his dogged, often emotional quest to complete his exhibition in a peculiar, yet startlingly relatable, story of self–fulfillment and the value of personal legacies (both big and small)."

Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math (2012). "The Final Member" [documentary film, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2318701/]

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TAGS

2012anatomyarctic circle • Ari Karlsson • Asbjorn Bjorgvinsson • bodycabinet of curiosities • Casanova • collections • collector • documentary film • documentary subject • Douglas Mason • Drafthouse Films • eccentric • eccentric collection • Fantastic Fest • genitalia • genitals • Hannes Blondal • Helgi Heoinsson • human donor • human specimen • Husavik • Iceland • Icelandic Phallological Museum • intriguing objects • Jonah Bekhor • male genitalia • mammalian penis • mammals • Marci Bowers • Mitchell Morris • museumNorth American • organ donor • Pall Arason • Paula-Jo Husack • penis • penis museum • penis size • personal collections • personal legacies • Petur Halldoresson • phallic • phallic phantasmagoria • Reynir Hjartarson • Sigurour Hjartarson • Sin Hastings • specimentaboo subjects • taxidermist • Terry Gunnel • The Final Member (2012) • Tom Mitchell • Zach Math

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 APRIL 2012

The Family: warts-and-all portrait of working-class 1970s Britain

"Modelled on the 13–part observational series, An American Family (US, d. Craig Gilbert, 1972), producer Paul Watson's 12–part The Family (BBC, 1974) is credited with creating the concept of the 'fly–on–the–wall' documentary in Britain. Regardless, Watson's cinema verité–style, warts–and–all portrait of the working–class Wilkins family certainly popularised an 'observational' style still seen as the defining characteristic of British documentary some twenty–five years later.

The Family follows the daily lives of Terry and Margaret Wilkins, their children and their partners, as they all struggle to live together in a small flat in Reading. The series sets out to reveal to viewers the reality of family life in Britain as never shown before. "No TV family ever has dirty pots and pans," says Margaret in episode one, and the Wilkins demonstrate a remarkable candour in their on–camera conversations with one another.

Watson and his small crew spent two months with the Wilkins prior to filming. After this the team filmed the family eighteen hours a day for three months. The result was an extraordinary portrait of family life: honest, hilarious and painful, an instant classic the impact and influence of which (on both fiction and non–fiction television) it would be difficult to overestimate.

The Family divided critics and viewers alike, and the Wilkins were villified by the tabloid press for all manner of imagined transgressions: their 'acting' for the camera or their 'real' behaviour in front of it, their use of bad language and public airing of previously taboo subjects. Watson explained that he "wanted to make a film about the kind of people who never got on to television," and clearly the sight of a powerful and opinionated woman like Margaret Wilkins, or the challenge of daughter Heather to the casual racism of 1970s middle–England, was shocking to a certain section of the British public (Mary Whitehouse was among those who called for the series to be banned, lest this 'representative' family be seen as a model to imitate)."

(Joe Sieder, BFI Screenonline)

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TAGS

1970s1974 • acting for the camera • An American FamilyBBCBritainBritish documentary • candour • casual racismcinema veritecultural signalsdirect cinemadocumentaryfamilyfamily lifefly-on-the-wallFranc Roddam • honest • Margaret Wilkins • Mary Whitehouse • non-fiction televisionobservational seriesobservational style • on-camera conversations • Paul Watsonportraitportrait of a familyportrait of family life • Reading (city) • real behaviourreality television • small flat • social changesocial classsocial constructionismsocial realitysocial stratificationsocietysocio-economictaboo subjectstelevisiontelevision documentarytelevision series • Terry Wilkins • The FamilyThe Family (television)TVUK • warts-and-all • working class

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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