Cinema: Spiritual Disease

In Mike Nichols' musical The Apple Tree, the biggest laugh came when the naked Adam bit the apple—and instantly snatched a towel to his loins. In a sense, all of Director Nichols' work, from Virginia Woolf to The Graduate and Catch-22, has included the same scene: knowledge precedes shame. On the surface, Nichols' new film, Carnal Knowledge, is an unfettered sexual farce. But the subtext carries the chill of fastidious puritanism: sex is dirty; touch it and you get a disease.

Here the disease is not venereal but spiritual. Its scarlet lettermen are types...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!