Hi! Welcome to my message board! Use it to contact me or others or to post questions and share ideas and experiences. The topic should always be related to nudism / naturism. Feel free to respond to posts from others in a respectful way if you have something helpful or meaningful to contribute. Let's keep it light, lively, and most of all, fun! Thanks!
Thanks for this. I didn't realize how sexualized the movie was!
I would say that Act Naturally is not a good choice for families to watch with their children nor would it be helpful for those people who are uncomfortable with the sexual attractions that the young women experience as they learn about nudist life.
It may help answer some very basic questions about what it is like to visit a nudist resort through the eyes of two young single women who have all the usual textile tendency to regard all nudity as sexually-charged, even when it is nothing of the kind. But it also is quite honest in its depiction of romantic attraction between two of the characters in the movie.
Nudists fall in love and have physical attraction whether clothed or naked; it's just that nudity isn't always a sexually-charged situation for us, quite often it is nothing of the kind.
I cannot issue a blanket recommendation of the movie.
Some people could feel really awkward and embarrassed watching it. And the language is a bit coarse at times for my upbringing.
It might help some of the people some of the time.
Predictably, the lead characters learn and grow through the events that transpire and you can decide for yourself if it helps explain who we are to the textile world.
It's light comedy, at times a bit bawdy. No great work of cinematography or profound drama, but were any of you expecting that?
Thanks for posting the link, Minnesota.
I watched the movie long enough ago that I've forgotten many details, and I haven't (yet) clicked the link to watch it again, but I was surprised by the comments from BareHare and Ramblinman about the movie being sexualized.
If the movie didn't have nudity in it, would the movie even get an "R" rating?
Lots of blockbuster mainstream Hollywood movies are FAR more sexualized, not only in the erotic context of what body parts they show and how they are shown, but also in their themes. While mainstream movies may not show as much nudity, they use revealing clothing and careful positioning of props and camera angles to hide "private parts," which makes many mainstream movies much more sexually charged than this one.
This movie seems tame compared to much of what Hollywood markets as romantic movies, and lots of action movies, mysteries, or horror films have sexual undercurrents. Even James Bond movies are more sexual than "Act Naturally."
But yeah, Ramblinman is right when he says this:
There are some pretty good family-oriented nudist documentaries - produced by actual nudist resorts - out there; but they're pretty hard to find due to "under-age nudity" censorship. Seeing and hearing other children talk about nudism is going to be more meaningful for kids; which is why most of the nudist movies out there are going to be unhelpful to them.
Nice to see this available somewhere it can be watched legitimately for free. Last I checked it was available for "free" on Amazon Prime, but that requires an expensive subscription and isn't an option for many. (It can also be purchased as a DVD/BluRay from Amazon, but that's also not a convenient option for many, especially as disc players are becoming less common in households.)
Like others here, I have mixed feelings about Act Naturally. On the one hand, it's one of the few films out there (especially in the modern era) that even attempts to portray nudism/naturism in an accurate light, and in that capacity, it's a rarity. There is certainly a lot to like about the movie: its cinematography is pretty good (in some respects anyway) for such a low budget (outside of the soundtrack, whose lyrics IMHO could use some serious help in a few places - although I think that was a dubious stylistic choice than a budgetary one :-) ), and it does give a semi-accurate portrait of what real nudism is like on an experiential level, which is good for combating stereotypes. But it leans into a lot of crass, sexual humor and language that sadly compromises a lot of what it accomplishes. It's mostly the non-nudist characters who are the dirty-minded ones, but some of it creeps into the nudists as well.
Ironically, the film shows most parts of the body but avoids showing "below the waist" - presumably for the comfort of non-nudist audiences, which would be an understandable concession for the sake of outreach if not for the fact that it breaks this rule exactly once - and graphically - to make the punchline of a joke about a non-nudist character's dirty-minded reaction to the situation. That's one of many moments that compromise the "outreach value" of the film outside of a narrow audience. It seems that the movie's creators were not themselves nudists going into the project (although that probably changed as a result of it), and the film's purpose is first and foremost as a comedy for non-nudist audiences, even though they try to balance that with a degree of respect.
The movie's creators seemed to understand nudism (and its moral ethos) well enough, but it's obvious that they're very secular, sexually-fixated people in real life, and that shows through in their work. Even though the nudist characters display a more mature/enlightened view of the body than the non-nudist visitors, all the characters are part of the same young, liberal, secular millennial moral monoculture. The film is clearly targeted at an audience that lives in a "bubble" where that kind of worldview is near-universal. In many respects, it feels like a project written for a university film festival (albeit one that turned out better than most). So while it's a valuable rarity in terms of nudist films that give the subject a fair presentation, it's not exactly something I'd be comfortable showing to my parents (or to most skeptical Christians) to help them understand nudism better. It'd be more likely to scare them off and confirm their worst fears. :-)
The "Naked Wanderings" blog (probably familiar to many here) has a nice list of films that portray nudism in a significant way, for better or worse. Act Naturally is first on their list but there are several others on the page worth a look.
The one I liked best was actually not mentioned in the article itself but in one of the comments below (some of which are more on-target than others). It's a 1984 British film called Educating Julie, a story about a young grad student who is assigned to study "Nudity in the '80s" to write a sociology thesis. Initially mortified, she ends up tackling the subject with an innocent yet courageous enthusiasm that ends up surprising (and putting to shame) her boyfriend. She discovers the world of naturism after being disgusted with the "sexy"/pornographic side of cultural nudity and deciding that she doesn't want to be stuck doing her thesis on that. The film is told in a "quasi-documentary" style as it follows her collecting experiences and interviews for her thesis, but it flows smoothly as a proper story in its own right. I found it quite heartwarming and, frankly, a breath of fresh air compared to Act Naturally. Although the film wasn't told from a Christian perspective, I think the reason I liked the main character so much is that she exemplified a kind of humble yet strength-filled innocence - a person "without guile", as Scripture puts it - that I think is actually more relatable to Christians than to most nonbelievers (who tend to disbelieve that such characters can in fact be real).
A nice aspect of the film is that none of its leads are what you would call "beauty models". The protagonist is quite lovely, but in a refreshingly natural way that doesn't seem "fake" or unrealistic, and reflects the inside as well as the outside. It shows how so much of true beauty ultimately comes down to our personality and countenance rather than the impersonal parts of the body.
Educating Julie was also very low-budget (it was evidently shot on videotape instead of real film, which hurts the picture quality substantially), but it fits nicely with the "student documentary" story, and ultimately, it's the substance that carries it. It's a bit dated (for instance, it visits the now-infamous Cap d'Adge, back when it apparently hadn't quite gone to pot yet), and some of the British subtext may be tricky for American audiences to pick up on. (I gather, for instance, that the boyfriend character doesn't come off nearly as much of a boorish ass to British audiences as he did to me, which would make his story arc less incongruous.) But it was everything Act Naturally wasn't: an accurate, nuanced film about nudism that I wouldn't be ashamed to share with my parents to help them understand the subject better. And, unlike Act Naturally, it has no shame about showing all parts of the body where situationally appropriate, which, in conjunction with the wholesome innocence of the story and main character, makes for a wonderfully effective portrayal of the subject.
Sadly, Educating Julie is next to impossible to find a "legitimate" copy of. It seems to have gone "out of print" in Britain (I couldn't find it on disc or streaming), and doesn't seem to have ever been published in the U.S. It may have only ever been released on cassette. Copies of it pop up periodically on YouTube, but they eventually get taken down because they're technically pirated. Since I didn't want to sign in to YouTube to get past the age-restriction "wall" (ironically, the film was rated for "ages 12 and up" in Britain, but because it contains uncensored nudity, YouTube requires an over-18 sign-in) - I'm not quite ready to let Google in on my nudist life - I ended up finding an offline recording of it on the Pirate Bay (a solution I would not recommend to those without the tech savvy to guard against computer viruses and ISP snooping; the one copy I found there turned out to be clean, but safely confirming that involves non-trivial know-how). I normally wouldn't download a pirate copy of a movie I don't legally own, but in this case, with it being clearly "out of print", I made an exception. The movie's creators were clearly themselves naturists who made it as a "labor of love" to spread the cause, so I'd happily support them if I could, but I think they'd be happy enough to see their film continue to spread nearly 30 years later, even though their studio evidently doesn't care to invest in printing DVDs for a controversy-inviting low-budget '80s film that can't be remastered due to never having a film original.
This copy on YouTube is currently still standing and appears to be the real thing (although it does require you to sign in with a Google/YouTube account with a registered age over 18):
Another good naturist film on the "Naked Wanderings" list linked above is Barefoot to the Neck, a 2009 German comedy (Barfuß bis zum Hals or Barfuss bis zum Hals in the original German; in searches it usually comes up as the latter). In many respects (including story-wise), this is kind of like a German take on Act Naturally, but I would agree with the "Naked Wanderings" authors that it's quite a bit better, both as a story and as a portrayal of nudism that won't scare off skeptics too much. The big difference, of course, is that the film is entirely in German. :-) I don't know if official English subtitles were made for it; I found a set of (apparently) unofficial ones online that were enough for me to muddle through, but they're very rough (it looks like the work of Google Translate, possibly downstream of one of the non-English, non-German official subtitle languages on the film's DVD release). I had to watch it several times to pick up on many of the nuances, as - being a comedy - it contains a lot of irony that is difficult to translate (especially for an overly-literal machine translation). But after a couple rewatches, you can pick up a lot from context and the story actually turns out to be quite funny and charming with serious depth.
The most interesting thing about Barefoot to the Neck is actually not the nudism itself but what it says implicitly about how ordinary (non-nudist) Germans view nudity. Much ink has been spilled here and elsewhere about how uniquely accepting Germans tend to be of incidental nudity, and this film offers an interesting perspective on that. The main "point" of the film isn't even about nudism at all - the "real story" is about the culture clash of East vs. West Germany after the reunification. This wasn't a low-budget "independent" film; it was a major TV movie made by a mainstream studio with mainstream (and apparently well-known) German actors, who evidently weren't bothered by the need to fully expose themselves for the role. It seems that this film was aired on regular German TV stations and is considered family-friendly at a roughly PG-13 level (there are a few kids in it in minor roles alongside adults, some nude and some not, and no one bats an eye). Although some of the non-nudist characters are (at least initially) quite opposed to nudism in principle, they clearly aren't offended by nudity in quite the same way Americans are. They don't seem to be bothered by seeing it so much as the idea that people are degrading/humiliating themselves by not following society's clothing standards. I suspect that even the "conservative" main non-nudist character would scarcely bat an eye at being nude in a co-ed sauna of the sort fashionable in Germany. Mainstream Germans' views of nudity are clearly very context-dependent, and I wish I understood the language more to pick up on this better, because the subtitles leave a lot of this unclear.
The plot of the film is similar to Act Naturally in broad strokes: a wealthy 40-something Bavarian businessman from Munich (who's in the business of making and selling fancy clothes, because of course :-) ) buys a large tract of mostly-wooded rural land in Brandenberg on the cheap thanks to the troubled economy of the former East German states. He's bought it to hunt on, knowing that there's a "sport club"/campground on part of the site but not realizing it is FKK (nudist). Hilarity ensues when the businessman goes on a hunting trip and stays at the campground with his 18-year-old daughter, with whom he's trying to repair a strained relationship. The nudists, fearing the worst about this "conservative" (in the European sense more than the American) textile tycoon and his intentions for their site, decide to hide the fact that they're nudists and pretend to be an ordinary campground, something that proves difficult for the long-term residents. I won't spoil the rest but it's quite funny (especially on re-watchings once you can fill in some of the contextual gaps left by the bad subtitles) and heartwarming.
Alas, this too is very hard to find in America, though it's not out-of-print like Educating Julie. I couldn't find a copy on YouTube, but it is available on the German version of Amazon Prime streaming (so you might be able to watch it with an American Prime account using a VPN - maybe), and on DVD/BluRay from German Amazon (which can deliver to the U.S.); but it's region-locked, so you'll need a European disc player or some technical know-how to watch it in the U.S. I ended up getting this one from the pirates as well, since it's evident the publisher isn't even interested in selling it in America and taking my money. Perhaps I would've had better luck with the subtitles if I had a real DVD. It's a good enough film that it makes me want to start learning German on Duolingo so I can understand it better. ;-)
"Educating Julie" is right here on YouTube:
I could write a whole dissertation on why I feel it's the best nudist movie ever made - in spite of its many flaws and outdated-ness. The plot is actually realistic, many of the actors are actual nudists; and the nudity is "honestly" depicted. Some might say that you do not need to see "full frontal nudity" to get the point across; but I feel that in the "real" nudist world, there are no "strategic angles" or "partial shots." When the actress Gail Ward decides to be openly naked amongst other nudists; you feel you're right there with her as she explores social nudity.
Here's a bit of trivia about the movie. The movie producer(s) actually put out an ad for actual nudists to play the part of "Julie." But they couldn't find any nudists who could act. Gail Ward was not a nudist; but could act and was comfortable being filmed naked. So as she explores nudism; it is actually her first time "deep diving" into the nudist world. And it comes across as authentic. You don't get that a lot in more recent nudist movies.
Hi, Beach Bunny wrote
Those parents I know who successfully introduced their families to social nudity mostly did it by swimming or suntanning nude in the privacy of their home.
There's a story by someone who calls himself Sonclothed who wrote above how he got his family into nudism when he was a teenager. It's quite interesting. Below is the link.
Hi. Haven't posted here before. So, we'll see how this goes.
I have a movie recommendation that can be related to this discussion.
It is PATRICK by Tim Mielants. It is a European film with subtitles.
While Act Naturally and Educating Julie are primarily showcases for Nudism that have a plot line. Patrick is primarily a mystery movie that happens to be set in a nudist campground. It provides a different experience with some interesting aspects worth mentioning here.
One, just as nudists are generally ordinary people in every other way, this is pretty much an ordinary movie in every other way. Yes, the nudity is a device, but much about the film could stand on its own in another setting. One is provided a window into nudists and nudist community life (personalities and politics included), but it is provided as context and pretty much resembles what one might find in a textile setting. Two, while a non-nudist might initially be wide-eyed at the abundant nudity, after a few minutes a viewer can't help but settle into the normalcy of it. It is just there and no big deal. The interesting thing about this response is that it is comparable to what most first timers experience when they take the plunge.
I would say the film is family friendly, but there is a sex scene in it. As far as such scenes go though, this one fits with what is common to many R rated movies today.
The movie is not widely available in the U.S. but can be streamed for a few dollars on Alamo On Demand.
Here is a preview:
Perhaps the best open-minded exploration of nudism I've seen is a short documentary by a group of UK film students, entitled simply 'Student Naturism Project'. From memory, the assignment was to explore a minority lifestyle choice or something along those lines.
The group of five(?) university students explore the idea of naturism, test out getting nude with each other, visit a landed club to interview some of the residents, visit a nude beach and then reflect on their experience of a lifestyle previously unknown to them. I've never watched 'Educating Julie', but I imagine it's a similar idea. I don't think they concluded as ready to convert to nudism, but they all came out richer for the experience.
It would be the ideal sort of film to show someone to introduce them to the idea in a fairly non-threatening way.
Unfortunately it has been taken down from Vimeo due to a copyrights conflict, so I'm not sure how to even watch it any more.
I've watched 'Act Naturally' and I suppose it's primarily a comedy, less about a serious introduction to nudism as a lifestyle choice.
For me, it was watching 'My Daughter the Teenage Nudist' that made me realise my long-held belief that "nudists are swingers" was in fact not true (I'd read a magazine article many years ago in which the writer had come to that conclusion based on her experience at a club she had visited - unfortunately it must have been the wrong sort of club), and made me venture out to try social nudism at a local landed club. I'm glad I did :)
From memory, 'Diary of a Teenage Nudist' is also a good documentary, fronted by a teenager who was raised as a nudist but left the lifestyle, then exploring how to reconnect with her nudist roots for herself on her own terms.
I tried to keep up with production progress when they made the film. The production team put out a statement that they had to cut back on the full frontal nudity because by union rules actors get paid extra for nudity by the minute that it is in the film and full frontal is a higher rate than breasts or butts.
I don't want to sound anti-union; but this is where it goes overboard IMHO. It makes it very difficult making a movie that honestly depicts nudists because of all the "red tape" around full-frontal nudity. Only a big budget can afford these clauses; and not too many "indy" productions are going to be able to afford it.
But think of all the money a film set in a nudist camp would save on wardrobe compared to historic fiction set in Victorian times!:grinning: