Michael Winterbottom has defended his sexually explicit film NINE SONGS from controversy at the Cannes Film Festival.

The movie - about a couple living in London - has been described as the most sexually-explicit British film ever after its debut at the French festival.

However, the 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE director believes the shock over the unsimulated sex scenes - which feature oral intercourse and ejaculation - simply proves that the film industry is too "prudish".

He says, "I'd been thinking for a while about the fact that most cinematic love stories miss out on the physical relationship, and if it's indicated at all everyone knows it's fake.

"Books deal explicitly with sex, as they do with any other subject. Cinema has been extremely conservative and prudish.

"I wanted to go to the opposite extreme and show a relationship only through sex. Part of the point of making the film was to say, 'What's wrong with showing sex?'"

Lead star KIEREN O'BRIEN adds, "There's no film like this, it's so graphic. Michael only does extraordinary stuff. What he wanted to do was explore an intimate relationship and tell it predominantly through love-making, showing how sex changes throughout a relationship."

Despite suggestions the film will never get passed by the BRITISH BOARD OF FILM CLASSIFICATION, a spokesperson says, "It would not be out of the question to pass a film with unsimulated sex scenes. We will have to view the film and then make our decision."

19/05/2004 13:45