Body image insights are not just skin deep
Naked on the Inside 10pm, SBS
THE Friday late- night doco on SBS has earned a reputation as a kinkfest, the sort of thing you can tell your open- mouthed mates about in the pub later. Morbidly obese women and the men who like to keep them that way. Life in brothels. And more bondage than you can shake a spiked stick at.
With a title such as Naked on the Inside you may be thinking that you’re set for an evening of pervy nuderama. However, although there are naked people in this documentary, sex isn’t the point.
Director Kim Farrant talks to five people from various parts of the world with different body issues, inviting them to paint a self- portrait and asking them to disrobe for the cameras. Sometimes you don’t see all that much of their bodies, but the process reveals far more about who they are and how people relate to their bodies.
All the subjects have bodies outside the norm. Rick Stray is a mother of two from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast who had a lumpectomy and then a mastectomy because of breast cancer. British- born Dave Tool is a dancer with no legs. Marcus Van is a woman living in Taiwan as a man. Shirley Sheffield and Carre Otis are the yin and yang of the US’s relationship with food.
After a lot of soul searching, most of them have come to terms with their bodies ( only Marcus is clearly uncomfortable about what is under his clothes) and how much it reflects who they are, which in turn invites the viewer to consider their own relationship with theirs.
It’s intimate viewing, thanks to Farrant’s unobtrusive interview style. When dealing with the bodies of the large, the scarred or deformed, it’s hard not to venture into freak- show territory, finding yourself guiltily wishing they’d hurry up and get their gear off so you can cop a squiz, but for the most part it’s a thoughtful meditation. Almost too thoughtful. While Naked on the Inside is interesting viewing, it does feel as if it’s trying to do too much. The story of each subject is almost worth a documentary of its own. On top of that there’s the portrait issue, which is only half addressed: we don’t see any work beyond that of Rick’s unfinished piece. And it’s clear from the press material that Farrant went on a journey of her own with her body image, so it’s hard not to wish we saw more of that as well.
Who would have thought a documentary called Naked on the Inside could leave you wanting to see more?
Thoughtful, unobstrusive style: Kim Farrant reflects on body images