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James Franco, producer of the documentary film "kink," makes a point during an interview at the premiere of the film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Sundance heats up with a slew of sex-themed films
First Published Jan 25 2013 12:44 pm • Last Updated Jan 25 2013 08:18 pm

The Sundance Film Festival has never been sexier.

The annual independent-film showcase has featured a slew of sexually themed movies in its various categories this year. There are stories about women using sex to work through their mid-life crises, narrative and documentary examinations of pornography and its players, and coming-of-age stories in which sex plays a central role.

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Festival founder Robert Redford says the on-screen sex of today is often devoid of the romance that was essential in late 1960s, when he first started making movies.

So what has inspired the Sundance sexual revolution? Stars and filmmakers weigh in on their sexy fare.

— "When I got in the film business in the early ‘60s, it was a romantic time. Sex and romance were pretty well tied together; sexuality was pretty well expressed through romance. Times have changed, so now, 40, 50 years later, we see that sexual relations have moved to a place where it doesn’t feel like there’s so much romance involved. The romance is not part of the equation, because relations have changed, and they’ve changed because of changing times, and because of new technology. People are texting rather than dating and all that kind of stuff. So what we do, we just show what’s there." — Sundance founder Robert Redford.

— "It’s relevant because people just started having sex. So I think because of that, because everyone just started having sex, it’s extremely relevant right now." — Kristen Bell, star of dramatic contender "The Lifeguard."

— "Sex is trendy." — Actress Mamie Gummer, who co-stars in "The Lifeguard."

— "It’s provocative. ... Filmmakers, I think you want to take people out of their comfort zone, and I think sex does that when you talk about it." — Tony Danza, who appears in the premiere film "Don Jon’s Addiction."

— "I wanted to tell a story about how we work as human beings, and let’s face it, that’s what drives a lot of us. And what I was trying to get at with ‘Don Jon’s Addiction’ is, yeah, let’s talk about sex but let’s really talk about it and not just go through the same cliches that we always go through. ... Those of us (who) — and we all do — consume this media, whether it’s movies or porn or the news or, you know, the Bible, we consume these pieces of media and we form these rules for ourselves, these notions of how things are supposed to be. And to me, there’s nothing less sexy than trying to fit in what you think you’re supposed to be. What’s sexy is when you’re just being yourself and you’re connecting in the present." — Joseph Gordon-Levitt, director, writer and star of "Don Jon’s Addiction."

— "It’s funny isn’t it, because it’s this great taboo, really. And yet it’s something that is in all of our lives, if we’re lucky — some of us three or four times a day. Ugh, exhausting." — Matthew Goode, a star of the premiere "Stoker," which blends sex and violence.

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— "People’s acceptance of new representations of sex is — I think it’s a gradual thing that happens from all of these different kinds of outlets. Sundance is just one place, a nodal point in that trend." — James Franco, who produced the documentary "kink," produced and starred in "Interior. Leather Bar.," which explores leather-sex clubs and plays Hugh Hefner in "Lovelace."

— "I think there’s a sexual revolution going on, maybe. ... It’s kind of moving in that direction, I would like to think. I would love if America kind of appreciated sex the way Europeans do. I feel like it’s really not that big of a deal. There’s so much stigma attached to it. I think it’s better than violence. It’s better than making movies about guns and people shooting each other and blood and stuff. ... It’s a huge part of our culture. It’s a huge part of every day. We all do it! So why are we not talking about it and why are we not portraying that in movies? I know why, actually. There are a lot of reasons. But I personally think that we need to see more of it. I mean, it’s not that scary." — Amanda Seyfried, who plays pioneering porn star Linda Lovelace in the biopic "Lovelace."

— "Sex is a part of life, and to shy away from it would not be very truthful, especially if it’s a movie about Allen Ginsberg and the beat poets. I mean, to me it’s a part of becoming who you are as a person. The first time you have sex is a very important part of every person’s life, so I think when you’re making a movie about Allen Ginsberg becoming Allen Ginsberg, probably the first time he had sex is a very important, defining moment in his life." — Actor Dane DeHaan, who co-stars in dramatic contender "Kill Your Darlings."

— "If I track what might be the source of it now, it’s that the civil rights movement of our era has to do with sex and sexuality. And so there’s been this sort of repositioning of it as a central issue as opposed to a titillating side issue. It’s a core issue to do with what and who we are. And to speak of it as anything but that is to diminish our humanity, really. And once that is cracked open, it applies to absolutely everyone, which is why the movement that starts with a gay and lesbian movement is actually a movement that is everyone." — Robin Weigert, who plays a woman who becomes a prostitute as a way of working through a mid-life crisis brought on by a baseball to the head in the dramatic contender "Concussion."


AP Entertainment Writer Ryan Pearson and AP Movie Writer David Germain contributed to this report.

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