Comedy about a young Italian-Canadian
(Luke Kirby) coming out to his parents. They tell the
parents of his hunky cop lover, Nino (Peter Miller),
ending their affair. To prove his heterosexuality Nino
marries, and at the wedding, the priest (Michel Perron)
"I have known Nino all his life: I baptised him; I
gave him his first communion; and when he hit puberty
and started to have certain problems caused by his
rapidly increasing, um, size, it was I who advised him
to be circumcised."
6. Ethnic humor came canned and
clotted in the sitcom revels of "Mambo Italiano."
Cute Eye-talians pig on pasta, slap each other on
the side of the head, are freaked by gay offspring,
then turn PC as if by remote control. It came from
Canada (or hell) and has a Catholic priest telling a
circumcision joke at a wedding.
is just used as an embarassing personal detail to
illustrate the priest's crassness. There is of
course no problem caused by rapidly increasing, um,
size that necessitates circumcision.
Man of Steel
The infant Superman-to-be is again shown circumcised.
sequel to "Meet the Parents", in which the name in
the title is milked for far more than it was ever
Gaylord Focker (Ben Stiller) and his bride-to-be and
uptight inlaws (Robert DeNiro and Blythe Danner) meet
Gaylord's sexually liberated parents (Dustin Hoffman
and Barbara Streisand) for the first time and stay at
(A video was briefly available)
Over a very tense first meal Mrs Focker whips out her
scrapbook of Gaylord's childhood. She comes (0:36) to
a picture of a rabbi holding a baby and starts
describing Gaylord's bris.
The Fockers gleefully tell how the heater was broken
that winter and the mohel couldn't get "the turtle to
come out of its shell." As Gaylord protests, they
continue that that is why he ended up with a
"semi-circ ... a cross between an anteater and a..."
"...German army helmet."
His mother-in-law to be picks a little ring of
something out of the scrapbook and says "Don't say you
kept his umbilical cord?" Mrs Focker exclaims, "Of
course not, that's Greg's foreskin!" Gaylord tries to
wrest the book from them, but accidentally swats the
foreskin: it flies up and falls into the simmering
fondue that the family was eating.
with Mambo Italiano,
circumcision is presented only as something
embarassing and personal. The issue is talking about
it, not having done it, even badly. A baby's glans
is fused to his foreskin and can not be made to come
out without force. Incomplete circumcision can
result in phimosis
(because of the scar tissue) requiring further
treatment. Parents do not get to keep the foreskin
after a brit milah - nor would they want to.
- Lauren-Ann Spanopoulos on Facebook, July 27, 2013
mother of a very disguntled Australian gave him this
"keepsake", which he calls "vile".
The Mighty Ducks
Disney feel-good comedy about a lawyer, Gordon Bombay
(Emilio Estevez), haunted by a childhood (ice) hockey
failure, is sentenced for drunk driving to coaching a
peewee hockey team. (it has two sequels.)
Bombay has taped Goldberg (Shaun Weiss) to the goal
Goldberg: My mother is not gonna approve of
this, Coach! She wants me to live to be Bar
Gordon Bombay: This is your Bar
Mitzvah, Goldberg. Today, you become a man.
Goldberg: No. I think you've
got the ceremonies mixed up. This is more like a circumcision.
into position, violence about to be done to him:
he's right. But at least it's not pro-cutting.
A strong-willed woman (Fatoumata Coulibaly) from an
African village battles against, and takes great pains
to prevent, ritual female circumcision.
"Six girls from a rural village in Burkina Faso
escape from a 'purification' ceremony, the female
circumcision ritual that is still practiced in 34 of
the 58 nations in the African Union. Two head for the
city. The other four know of a woman in the village
who, some years earlier, had prevented her own
daughter from being cut. They run to her home, where
she is the second of three wives of a man whose
brother is a figure in the town's power structure. To
protect them, she pronounces a moolaadé, an
unbreakable spell of sanctuary that can only be
dissolved by her word, and which is marked simply by
stretching some colored strands of yarn across the
enclave's doorway. ... this remarkable motion picture
[is] beautifully filmed & amazingly acted, full of
agitprop theatrics & yet as tightly & deeply
scripted - I mean this literally - as any
Shakespearean tragedy. [It] won the Un Certain Regard
award [for 2004] at Cannes & was relegated to the
Planet Africa series at Turin...."
genital cutting is not mentioned, though in the Muslim
environment of the film it would be virtually
In the final scene, Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp)
is sharing a bubble bath with his wife Johanna
(Gwyneth Paltrow). He is inordinately proud of his
moustache but she hates it and has tried to persuade
him to shave it off. In the bath she pulls out a
straight razor. Seeing this, Mortdecai says, "Oh my
dear, you know I'm already circumcised".
remark is almost pointless (like many remarks in the
film). The idea she might use the razor to
circumcise him in the bath is beneath preposterous.
It is implied that the couple is Jewish, starting
with the frenchified version of "Mordechai" for a
name. At a banquet, a villain poisons a shellfish
buffet causing an outbreak of vomiting. Shortly after,
Mortdecai, and his wife are making an escape with
their vomiting driver Jock Strapp - yes, the humour is
of that level - (Paul Bettany) and
Mortdecai says, "At least we didn't eat the
film has been panned for its pointlessness, and the
circumcision reference is just another example.
Compliation/thriller/horror about a movie (called
"Movie 43") that if shown will cause the end of the
In the segment called "Truth or Dare", Donald
(Stephen Merchant) and Emily (Halle Berry) are on a
date together at a Mexican restaurant. Tired with
typical first dates, Emily challenges Donald to a game
of truth or dare. She dares him to grab a man's
buttocks, and he follows by daring her to blow out the
birthday candles on a blind boy's cake.
Emily: I am going to push the limits here
just a little bit. Are you circumcised?
Donald (embarassed, whispering): Am I
circumcised? That's personal... Circumcision has
never taken off where I'm from. It's not, you know,
the vogue. Um, I tend to associate it with Jewish
people and we don't have many Jewish people in
Europe any more because of... the trouble. So, ah,
no. But if you would need me to get circumcised, I'm
sure I... (trails off as they both chuckle.)
The game rapidly escalates to extremes, in which both
of them get plastic surgery and tattoos, and humiliate
is presented as an example of extreme behaviour -
when it's done to a consenting adult.
Mr. and Mrs. Iyer
A young Hindu woman, Meenakshi Iyer (Konkona
Sensharma), is travelling on a bus, entrusted to the
care of a young supposedly Hindu man, Raja (Rahul
Bose). The bus is attacked by Hindu estremists looking
for Muslims, who they identify by making them drop
their pants (revealing that they are circumcised) and
kill. Meenakshi identifies Raja as her husband and he
is spared, but it transpires that he is actually a
Muslim, creating conflict with her strict Brahmin
is only an identifier.
Mrs Goundo's Daughter
summary: Bridging two worlds, MRS GOUNDO'S DAUGHTER
tells the moving story of one Malian mother's fight
for asylum in the US to protect her two-year-old
daughter from female genital cutting. Expertly
interweaving scenes from Mali of girls preparing for
an excision ceremony and scenes from Philadelphia
where those who have survived the ceremony share
their stories, the film demonstrates precisely why
and how Mrs Goundo fights for her daughter and her
Recently widowed, well-to-do Laura
Henderson (Judi Dench) is at a loose end in
Depression-era London. On a whim she buys the derelict
Windmill theatre in the West End. Her lawyer friend
Leslie Pearkes (Ralph Nossek) suggests impresario Vivian
Van Damm (Bob Hoskins) to run it. When she arrives 20
minutes late for her appointment with him, he is on the
point of leaving.
Mrs Henderson: Who on earth are you? Pearkes: This is Vivian Van Damm Mrs Henderson: Don't be silly. That's not a
British name. Van Damm (irritated): In actual fact,
my father is a lawyer in Bishopsgate, although some
of his ancestors are from Holland. Mrs Henderson: Oh dear God, you're Jewish. Van Damm: As it happens, I'm not. Mrs Henderson: But of course you are, dear;
just look at yourself. But the show business is
filled with Jewish people, isn't it. One must make
To encourage the shy showgirls, all the production
team including Van Damm have taken their clothes off,
when Mrs Henderson bursts in on them. Seeing him, she
"Why Mr Van Damm! You are Jewish!"
Later, she sees a headline he has tossed aside,
"NAZIS ROUND UP DUTCH JEWS", and asks after his
family, building the positive side of their stormy
that all and only Jews are circumcised, though many
upper-class Englishmen of this period were too. The
exchanges are intended to illustrate her rudeness
and antisemitism, common in England at that time. It
is not clear how Mrs Henderson would know what a
circumcised penis looks like.
about espionage in the Hyderabad underworld.
Sammir Dattani plays a mukhbir (informer) who has to
assume various disguises - so many that you don’t know
his real identity. He poses as a Muslim and there is a
suggestion that he has undergone circumcision, because
a gang that only allows Muslim members will put him
through a lot of tests.
India only Muslims are circumcised. In fact of
course it would be very difficult to pass as Muslim
without also being fluent in Arabic, knowing a lot
of the Qu'ran, etc.
Two Israeli undercover men are assigned
to kill Palestinians responsible for the Munich
massacres. They get into an argument; one says, "He's
probably a spy - let's take his pants down and have a
look." (an insult, not seriously believed). The second
man responds furiously.
he had been Muslim, he would have been circumcised
Australia Moja Australia Israel, 2011
Ten-year-old Tadek (Jakub Wroblewski), a member of a
Polish gang that preys on Jews, is floored when his
mother admits she's a Holocaust survivor. So when she
prepares the family to relocate to Israel, she tells
the boy they're going to the exotic country he's
always dreamed of: Australia. Tadek['s] ease at
assimilating leaves him feeling both guilty and
confident. His prowess becomes crucial as the film
shifts its focus to Tadek's shame at being intact.
... Using male genitalia as a symbol for
the immigrant experience could fill volumes
for Freud, but it creates useless,
unsettling moments for audiences forced to
watch a gaggle of Israeli children trying to
catch Tadek with his pants down. It’s an
ill-considered plot twist from which Drozd’s
slapdash film never recovers.
(Perhaps the reviewer's own discomfort with the issue
colours his experienc.)
My wife is an Actress Ma femme est une actrice
Yvan (Yvan Attal, who also wrote and
directed) is a sports writer, jealous of his wife
Charlotte (Attal's real-life partner Charlotte
Gainsbourg)'s on-camera love scenes (with Terence
Stamp). His pregnant sister Nathalie (Noémie
Lvovsky) "more Jewish than your brother", browbeats her
gentile husband Vincent (Laurent Bateau):
Vincent (on the phone): Let's ask
your brother. Nathalie: There's no problem. If he's a boy,
he's circumcised. Vincent: Find out if he's a boy. Nathalie: What's the difference? Vincent: You'd circumcise a girl? There's
only a problem if it's a boy.
(In a doctor's office: we see an ultrasound
image of a baby.) Doctor: It's a boy. Vincent: Great! A little boy! Nathalie: Don't pretend. Doctor: For a dad, nothing like a girl. Nathalie: Dr Djaoui. You're Jewish. Vincent: What? Talk now? Nathalie: He's a doctor. Vincent: Let's talk to a goy doctor. Nathalie: That exists?
(Back home) Nathalie: So he'll feel Jewish and
inadequate? Vincent: Right, so let him decide to do it or
not. Nathalie: At a certain age, it's hard. Vincent: That'll be a measure of how Jewish
he feels. Nathalie: Could you do it now? Vincent: Why have my dick cut? Nathalie: To have one like your son. Vincent: I want him to have one like
me. Nathalie: Your son in your own image? Like
you're God? Vincent: Why shouldn't he? Nathalie: Get circumcised. (pause) I'm
serious. Vincent: On the way home from the game. (pause)
Pass me the phone, I'll make the appointment. (She
passes it.) What's it listed under? (He
dials.) Hello, yeah. Your sister's nuts!
In the main story, parallel tit-for-tattery: Charlotte
demands that if she is to be naked in a love scene, all
the cast and crew must also. Yvan walks onto the
soundstage with flowers, sees them all and faints. He
goes to drama classes and other students flirt with him.
(At Vincent and Nathalie's. Yvan is talking to
Nathalie when Vincent arrives.) Nathalie: Your son is Jewish because his mother
is. Vincent: For the Jews. Nathalie: For the goys too! Enough to send him
to the camps!
(Yvan and Nathalie are at dinner with their
parents. Nathalie answers the phone and leaves the
table.) Nathalie: In the US lots of non-Jews... So a
doctor can do it. (She returns to the table. Yvan
has been telling his parents that he and Charlotte
are living apart.) So how about me? Since your
son married an actress, it's like he's Mr Perfect.
I'm going to have a little boy. We argue every day
about one of the world's great problems [presumably
relations in general, not just circumcision],
and it's all him. Fuck the little people! Mother: The mouth on her! Yvan: Enough! Nathalie: When they gas six million
actresses, then we'll talk.
(Vincent and Nathalie are in bed. They begin to
make love. Nathalie goes down under the covers.
Vincent smiles blissfully.) Vincent: Pretty good foreskin, huh? Nathalie: Asshole! (She slaps him.)
(Vincent and Yvan are at a football game, ogling
woman spectators.) Yvan: Do it for her. It bothers you so much?
Vincent: I'm not Jewish, or religious. Yvan: So who cares? Vincent: It's a religious thing. She goes to
the Synagogue once a year. Yvan: It's sentimental. We all have to be
white, uncircumcised...? Vincent: We are all the same.
... Yvan: Just have your son circumcised.
Charlotte and Yvan are reconciled and Nathalie and
Vincent's son is born. Charlotte greets him by name,
(In the hospital) Vincent (to Yvan): We're
having him circumcised. ... I've never cut
myself so much. [?]
Nathalie: Just cut it off once and for all. (They
begin to argue and Yvan and Charlotte leave.)
circumcision is only a token for the conflict
between a husband and wife to counterpoint the
conflict between the main couple. The value of a
foreskin to its owner is not touched on.
In the song "Bliss of a Bris"
the mohel carries
a huge pair of shears and one cast member turns away
to vomit as the "baby" is circumcised.
The credits include:
No penises were injured during the cutting of
this film. www.nocirc.org
The Nativity Story
know the story...
A couple of wide-eyed boys witness the circumcision
of the baby John the Baptist. A little knife goes
beneath the bundled boy. There is a flick of the
wrist, the two boys give a startled jump and scurry
minimising and trivialising what
actually happens. Some reviewers call this "an
Nine Dead Gay Guys
UK "Bob & Ted's Excellent Adventure" meets "Father
Two down-and-out Irish youths in London batten on gay
men to get some money, using sex and/or theft. (The film
is perceptive about their own sexualities. Penis-size is
a theme, but none are shown.) The film deliberately
includes every stereotype - queens, a fat ferocious
lesbian, an ill-hung and hence desperate dwarf, four
well-hung blacks, a rich Orthodox Jew - and "Dick-cheese
Deepak" an Indian taxi-driver with a "foreskin problem".
It has not retracted in five years, and he has not had
oral sex for the same time. One youth gags, the other
solves the problem by filling his mouth with vodka, but
Deepak's reaction is so intense that he crashes the
taxi, becoming Dead Gay Guy #5.
readers should note that the existence of Deepak's
foreskin is not at issue, only its non-retractility.
a reluctant father. Has had generally poor reviews.
Rebecca Taylor (Julianne Moore) gives birth to a boy at
the same time as Gail Dwyer (Joan Cusak) gives birth to
a girl, in spite of the assistance of Dr Kosevich (Robin
Williams). Samuel Faulkner (Hugh Grant) and Marty Dwyer
(Tom Arnold), the fathers, encounter the doctor outside
the nursery. Samuel asks him if he has been drinking. He
replies that he has, and they should have a shot
together, "but first, I'm just going to circumcise your
son," and starts to go into the nursery.
Samuel: What? Marty: Shit! Samuel: Dr. Kosevich! (Samuel runs to stop
film makers imply the additional risk is the only
reason he should be stopped, perhaps not knowing
that British fathers now almost never have their
Nymphomanic Vol 1
nymphomaniac tells her story
Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is recounting all the
penises she slept with while she was promiscuous. The
camera shows dozens of faceless torsoes with penises
of various sizes, races and hair colours - all intact.
Joe says, "Then there were the weird circumcised
ones", and we see a half dozen of those.
a European point of view, cut penises are "weird".
film. Two young men are driving on a motorway, one
(Jakob Svensmark Møller) urgently needing a
comfort-stop. He is obsessive-compulsive, the other
(Jonathan Harboe Moreira) the reverse.
the circumcised man is "dirty", the intact one
"clean". (Hitler and John Lennon were not
circumcised. Anders Breivik, who knows?)
Onikola is the story of Kumbi (Funmi Fiberesima),
who has a firm resolve to not to be circumcised. She
sacrifices everything, including her love for Okiki
(Sunday Afolabi), and risks being rejected by her
people, most of all her mother, Abebi (Bunmi
Meanwhile, on the flip side is Omosewa (Ronke
Ojo), who is circumcised and suffers ridicule at the
hands of her husband. She however develops the
courage to express her feelings about a tradition
which challenges her sexuality.
"Actress, producer and media personality... Funmi
Fiberisima's first film as a producer.... Onikola
brings to light the harmful side effects of female
circumcision without flogging the viewers over the
head with the message. It is a very
entertaining-romantic movie as well as complete with
all the elements that bring it home as a unique and
entertaining movie. ...the movie weaves a blend of
iconic and traditional scenes with the compelling
story of love without losing sight of the issues at
comedy. A Jewish family struggle to come to terms
with their son's gaysness, and his Italian Catholic
boyfriend. When the gay couple adopts a child and it
makes headline news, their families come to defend
them and realize how much they love them.
the very last scene, the infant is baptised,
surrounded by relatives. The head of the Jewish
family (Saul Rubinek) yells "He must be
circumcised!". The head of the Catholic family
(Vincent Pastore) yells "No, he'll need every
inch!". Everyone laughs and walks away.
Baby is not circumcised.
An excellent reason.
Tina (Martha Plimpton) is an MC/barmaid at a gay
go-go club who describes the dancers' biographies and
statistics on a microphone for the patrons in lurid
detail. She refers to one of them as "uncut" - clearly
meaning it as a positive and desirable attribute.
The Perfumed Nightmare
In this autobiographical fantasy, the
narrator (Kidlat Tahimik), a boy growing up in the Philippines,
is circumcised with his friends, in accordance with
not for the squeamish.
Historical drama about Robert Cole (Adam Wright, then
Tom Payne) growing up to be a doctor in 11th century
England and Persia.
He is apprenticed to a barber/dentist/surgeon
(Stellan Skarsgård) who starts going blind and is
reluctantly persuaded to seek help from a renowned
As he enters the Jewish quarter, he says to Cole
suspiciously, "These people mutilate their children.
They cut off their cocks; they'll gouge my eyes out!"
They don't, and they do cure his cataracts (presumably
by "couching" - pushing the lens to the bottom of the
Jewish children ask Cole if he's a Christian, and
when he says Yes, they say, "Is it true you're not
even circumcised?" He replies, "Our God does not want
us to do so."
Later, Cole circumcises himself so he can pass as a
Jew to avoid getting killed in the Middle East - but
then Muslim zealots seize power. They use Cole's
anatomical drawings to show how the toleration of Jews
has led to religious crimes against Allah, therefore
all Jews in the city should be killed.
Cole yells "I am no Jew! The Jewish community does
not deserve your wrath. I am a Christian."
They pull down his robe and say "Looks like a Jew to
He is about to be killed when the moderate Shah
regains power and saves him.
He eventually prospers; circumcision is not mentioned
the 11th century, only Jews and Muslims practised
male genital cutting. The book of the film has
completely different circumcision references from
set in Vietnam.
All right, you cheese-dicks, welcome to the Nam.
I ain't getting greased, so you keep this sorry
cheese-dick off my ass!
Hey... cheese-dick, you're up.
Come on, get your dick-skin on that thing! Dig! You
ain't got all day! Dig! Dig!
"cheese-dick" is an all-purpose insult -
implication: "The foreskin is disgusting" - and none
of the lines refers to actual circumcision status.
I got my request in for a circumcision! I'm gonna
get my big ass outta here!
You gonna become a rabbi?
only Jews circumcise.
drama set in Hollywood
On the original Criterion DVD release, director
Robert Altman and writer Michael Tolkin give a running
commentary. In the scene where Griffin Mills (Tim
Robbins) is climbing, naked, from a mud bath, Tolkin
"A lot of people don't know this but when I wrote
the character, I wrote it for an uncircumcised man.
Unfortunately, Tim Robbins is circumcised, but he
wanted the role really badly so we had to get a
prosthetic foreskin built for him for this scene. Look
how fake it looks."
seems to have
the book or film requires the character to be intact.
While several other characters in the book with whom
Griffin is at odds have Jewish names, there is no
direct reference to Judaism, and of course to be
gentile in the USA does not guarantee intactness. The
unpleasant thought arises that Tolkin wanted Griffin
to be intact because he is an unsympathetic chracter.
Porky's II: The Next Day
The boys of Angel High are being harassed by the KKK,
among others, for casting Seminole boy John Henry
(Joseph Runningfox) as Romeo in their Shakespeare
They lure the Klansmen into the gym, surrounded by
Indians, where a Jewish teen, Brian (Scott Colomby)
"circumcises" them - shaves their heads with a "zimel"
and perhaps really circumcises them.
assumption is that only Jews circumcise or are
circumcised. An implication is that circumcision cures
them of their bigotry ... somehow.
A Price Above Rubies
Sonia Horowitz (Renee Zelweger) is a
Jewish mother who is questioning her husband's strict
Hasidism and has a baby son. At his bris,
she says, "It's like they're sacrificing him."
Her sister-in-law tells her, "Don't watch" and she
though it was about them or her.
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
comedy road-movie through the Australian outback.
Trumpet, younger partner of transsexual Bernadette (Terence Stamp), dies
in Sydney. At his funeral, a trumpet is on his coffin.
To take Bernadette's mind off her loss, drag-queen
Mitzi (Hugo Weaving) invites her to perform in Alice
Springs. (Priscilla is their bus.) In the outback,
Mitzi: I never heard Trumpet play Bernadette: Play? He didn't play, dear.
Trumpet didn't have a single musical bone in his body.
No, Trumpet had an unusually large foreskin. So large
that he could wrap the entire thing around a Monte
whole scene was cut from the US version of the film.
Australia website describes the Monte Carlo
biscuit (US: cookie) as "a coconut shortbread style
of biscuit sandwiched with a raspberry cream
filling". A Monte Carlo biscuit today is 6cm x 4.6cm
x 2.3cm (2.4" x 1.8" x 0.9").
film is remarkable in referring to the foreskin but not
circumcision. Circumcision was already declining in Australia when Trumpet
would have been born, so the existence of his foreskin
is not at issue, only its size. Even so, it would not
have to be as large as you might think, because the
foreskin is remarkably elastic.
The Producers US, 1967
Comedy about a Broadway producer (Zero Mostel) and an
accountant (Gene Wilder) who conspire to make money by
producing a flop, "Springtime for Hitler".
The crossdressing director (Christopher Hewett) is
called Roger De Bris.
(At a pinch, this could be a play on "debris", but
Mel Brooks wrote and directed.)
In contemporary Latino Los Angeles, an Anglo gay man
tells his friends about a recent sexual adventure with
a young Hispanic man:
"It was great. Eight inches...uncut!"
rare exception, perhaps because of its Latino
context, to the theme that "The foreskin is
Based on fact. Herb Stempel (John Turturro) has a successful
run as a frequently returning champion of a quiz
show. Network men want him off the show, sayng
audiences don't like or relate to him, at least
in part due to his being Jewish. They
pressure him to take a dive, to deliberately get a
question wrong to allow his next opponent, charismatic
Charles Van Doren (Ralph
Fiennes) to beat him (and he does). At about 41:45
Stempel angrily refers to the opponent as "that big
Dutch ancestry, Van Doren (1926- ) may well be
intact, but the scriptwriter, Paul Attanasio
(screenplay) or Richard N. Goodwin (book) intends it
to be a term of contempt.
(Interlight Pictures, Baldwin-Cohen
A cop, trying to humor his wounded partner, says:
"Hey Andy - Two boys were sharing a hospital room. So,
one boy asked the other why he's there for. So the boy
says, 'A circumcision.' And the other boy says, 'Oh
man, I had that done right after I was born and I
couldn't walk for a year.'"
Andy: "That's the worst fucking joke I ever heard,
John: "I know, I know."
joke has an underlying message: "Circumcision isn't
Riding in Cars with Boys
A couple are expecting a girl, but when
the newborn baby is presented to them in the recovery
room, he has a penis (shown for two seconds) - already
circumcised and healed.
film makers either
all boy babies are circumcised without the parents
being consulted, or
able to get hold of an intact baby boy, or
Mel Brooks plays a travelling rabbi who enters on a
horsedrawn wagon with a sign on the side advertising
circumcisions: "10% off".
He pitches the idea to the Merry Men, who all say
"OK, sure, I'll try it," until Mel demonstrates the
procedure using a miniature gilloutine and a carrot.
Suddenly they all change their minds, making excuses
like, "Oh I forgot, I already had one." The rabbi says
to himself, "I gotta start working with a younger
the legendary time of Robin Hood, it would have been
true that only Jews circumcise, but not that they
offered it to gentiles, or that rabbis did it. It's
encouraging that it is presented as something people
would turn down - reflecting Brooks' own ambivalence
towards it? The rabbi's reaction implies younger men
would be more naïve, and less aware of the value of
two very different characters have to look after
mismatched boys as community service.
Near the end, Sweeny (Jane Lynch) picks up a
full-size "pig in a blanket" (a hotdog baked into a
bun) in a lascivious grip.
A pig in a blanket
She pushes on the hotdog slowly with her finger from
underneath, making it appear as a big reddish-brown
glans growing out from the tan blanket/foreskin, and
then pulls the hot dog all the way back in. It's
obvious she's referring to an intact erection. Wheeler
(Seann William Scott) stares quizzically: he can't
quite figure it out. She does it about five more times
in the outtakes shown during the credits.
a foreskin is normal!
Romance and Cigarettes
musical set in the world of working-class New York,
tells a story of a husband's journey into infidelity
and redemption when he must choose between his
seductive mistress and his beleaguered wife." - IMDB
Nick (James Gandolfini) is having an affair with Tula
(Kate Winslet), a Welsh woman who "gets around".
During sex she keeps mentioning his foreskin, so he
asks a friend at work if women like circumcised
penises better, and he says yes, because they all look
circumcised in porno movies. He asks "Are you
"Hell no, man, that shit hurts!"
Undeterred, Nick gets circumcised. While he's still
in the hospital, his mother finds out, and beats him
with her purse, saying "We're not even Jewish!"
Later, Tula has wild sex with him, excited because he
would do that for her.
worldly Welshwomen would not be surprised or put off
by a foreskin. Porn movies focus on size and
otherwise use what they can get. Implied (and
Foreskins are universally unusual
Only Jews circumcise
Circumcision makes sex better
The Rugrats Movie
A young (presumably female) baby says to another in
the hospital nursery "They cut my cord", looking at
her bellybutton. The boy in the next bassinet looks
down his diaper and says, "you should see what they
cut on me".
inviting adults to laugh at the innocence of
children and an early start to gender rivalry, but
not to consider the actual issues.
Samurai Cop US, 1991
Joe Marshall (Mathew Karedas, billed as Matt Hannon)
and Frank Washington (Mark Frazer) are police
detectives fighting a drug-gang in Los Angeles.
Leaving a hospital room, a nurse (Holland) flirts with
them: Nurse: Do you like what you see? Joe: I love what I see. Nurse (moving closer):Would you like to
touch what you see? Joe (looks down, thinks): Yes. Yes, I
would. Nurse: Would you like to go out with me? Joe (looks into the room): Unh. Yes I
would. Nurse: Would you like to fuck me? (reaction
shot of Frank in the patient's room, listening) Joe (reaches for her stethoscope and speaks
into it): Bingo. Nurse (moving closer): Well then let's
see what you've got. (she apparently grasps his
crotch) Doesn't interest me. Nothing there. Joe: Nothing there? (Frank snickers)
Just exactly what would interest you,
something the size of a jumbo jet? (Frank purses
his lips) Nurse: Have you been circumcised? Joe: Yeah I have, why? Nurse: Well your doctor must have cut a big
portion of it off. (Frank smiles broadly.) Joe: No, he was a good doctor. Nurse: Good doctors make mistakes too. That's
why they buy insurance. (She makes to leave.) Joe: Hey (pulling her back), I got
enough. It's big. Nurse: I want bigger. Frank (bursting out of room): Hey! I got
unhh... (Nurse walks off. Frank turns back to Joe,
mocking:) Have you been circumcised? Joe: Shuddup.
nurse seems to be using genital cutting only as a
way to further humiliate Joe (though she is right
about mistakes). Frank might have been about to
boast that he is intact. The movie is highly
regarded among afficionadi of bad movies.
Scary Movie 4
Leslie Nielsen plays the U.S. President at a time of
an alien invasion spoof of "The War of the Worlds." In
a parody of how President Bush was informed of the
World Trade Center attacks, Nielsen is visiting an
elementary school class and listening to a teacher
reading about a pet duck. Upon being informed of the
alien attacks, Nielsen first seems to care more about
the fate of the duck, then panics the children, then
suggests they move on to the book he's holding,
calling it: "Rumple Foreskin." He is corrected by an
aide, who says it's Rumplestiltskin.
Later, Nielsen addresses the UN General Assembly
about the alien threat. He begins with a mélange of
parts of old off-color jokes (a la "A priest, a
Mexican and a Texan are on an airplane. The pilot
announces ....") There are two circumcision references
in the disordered speech that follows, one about
separating the uncircumcised from the circumcised in
the group, and another that made less sense.
the sequences play foreskins and circumcision for
uncomfortable laughs, it was not clearly tilted. The
speech was such a mess it will require transcription
once home copies are available.
Two Chinese youths, Jason/Ah Loong (Choo Seong Ng)
and Keong (Linus Chung), are sitting in a restaurant
waiting for Jason's girlfriend, a Malaysian Muslim.
Keong: Chinese boy should not go out with a
Malay girl. They'll only be troubles later. It'll only
break your parents' heart. You have to change your
name, your religion, no more roast pork for you.
Jason: I know
Keong: They'll snip off the tip of your
(He reaches for Jason's crotch. Jason tries
to avoid him)
shaky on the details, Keong is in no doubt that
circumcision is harmful.
Sex and Breakfast
Includes a scene of a sex education class including a
chart on which a circumcised penis is shown as normal.
Rose (Helen Mirren) and stepson Mikey (Cuba Gooding
Jr.) are contract killers. They spare Vickie (Vanessa
Ferlito) because she is pregnant and deliver the baby
themselves, then call seedy Dr. Don (Joseph
Gordon-Levitt) who brings along his girlfriend
Precious (Mo'Nique). Later, at Dr Don's office:
Dr Don: Do you want me to circumcise him?
Precious (taking the baby): Hell no.
They don't want you going anywhere near his damn
is apparently more a swing at the character than
anything contrary to circumcision.
Shadows and Fog
black comedy by Woody Allen
In response to a series of mysterious murders, the
police are rounding up a local Jewish family.
Kleinman (Woody Allen): What is this? What's
Man on Street: Social undesirables. The
police say they may be involved in the killings.
Kleinman: That's the Mintz family. I know
them. They're very lovely people. He does quality
circumcisions. I've seen his work.
ostensible joke is that Kleinsmen has somehow seen
men's penises. Underlying is the idea that infant
male genital cutting is a handcraft.
She Hate Me (sic)
directed by Spike Lee) Biotech executive John Henry
"Jack" Armstrong (Anthony Mackie) is fired when he
informs on his corrupt bosses. When his former
girlfriend offers him cash to impregnate her and her
new girlfriend, he is persuaded and soon in the
baby-making business at $10,000 a try. Most reviews
A potential client: Is he circumcised? If not, (looks
disgusted) then I won't even get close to him.
the tedious theme that intact penises are "dirty".
as a comedy, reportedly actually crude
propaganda for male genital cutting.
Ever since he was a child, the seventeen-yearold
Edoardo has suffered from a malformation of the
foreskin that stops him from masturbating and makes
him insecure and ill at ease with girls. Shut up in
his sexless microcosm, Edoardo reacts with irritation
to the pressures of the outside world, which do
nothing but exacerbate his insecurity. No one around
him seems to be capable of talking about anything but
sex: his friend Arturo, obsessed with the idea of
losing his virginity; his parents who urge Edoardo to
make overtures to Bianca, the girl next door who has
arrived from Milan as she does every year to spend the
vacation with her grandmother; even his little sister
Olivia, frantically in search of a bitch with which to
mate her dog. It will not be the pressures of others
that will release Edoardo from his shyness but the
close encounter with a girl he meets by chance and an
unexpected receptiveness toward him on Bianca’s part.
Forced against his will to emerge from the shadows in
which he has hidden for years, Edoardo will initially
try to solve his problem by clumsy stratagems before
finding, at last, the courage to face his own fears.
doctor first gives him a cortisone cream and tells
him to masturbate with it. He takes a big heap of it
and slathers it on his penis, rather than just put a
little on the very end of the foreskin and apply
tension. Unsurprisingly it doesn't work. He sees an
Internet video of a man getting cut and says, "Lucky
him, it makes it better and you can last longer."
Paradoxically, once he is cut, the doctor says, "I
gave you a racing pole". He is then "happy as a dog
hangin' out a car window with the wind in his face"
according to one viewer. Reportedly filled with
Shriek if you know what I did last Friday the 13th
Teacher asks teenage pupils if they knew Frankenstein
details needed (but the movie is so uniformly panned
that it would be inadvisable to watch it all just to
Bernie Reubens (Gregg Sulkin), about to have his Bar
Mitzvah. It clashes with the World Cup final and has
to be radically scaled down.
Friend: Will you have your tonker cut off? Bernie: What? Friend: My mum said when you have your bar
mitzvah you have your tonker cut off by a rabbi with a
cake knife. Bernie: It's not called a tonker, it's called a
cock and I've already had a bit cut off. (Friend's
dad looks up in astonishment.)
commonly confuse Bar Mitzvah and Brit
Milah, but the cake knife and penectomy
are added touches. Cake knives are especially blunt.
The lines are presumably to illustrate Bernie's
knowledge and urbanity, but the scriptwriters' own
knowledge of Judaism is shaky: a rabbi tells Bernie
there's nothing in "the Old Testament" about hoping
your home side loses. ("Old Testament" is a
Christian expression; Jews acknowledge no other.)
(Several other films have the same name)
short film, shown together with Bawdi, Blouse
and Manila Running as Chaar Cutting
... Hardik Mehta’s Skin Deep is a little
more involving [than Bawdi] largely because of
the performances by Aditi Vasudev and Navin Kasturia
and Hardik’s ability to steer clear of sleazy
innuendos in a story that hangs on circumcision.
The boy feels pain in making love with [his] girl
friend who is being forced to get married by her
parents to a boy not of her choice.
The boy decides to go for circumcision before eloping
but things go awry in the operation theatre. It is a
strange story that fails to evolve into something more
a young man would probably have phimosis or frenulum breve, both of which
can be treated by other surgery or non-surgically.
The influence of both Islam and the British Raj may
prejudice Indian doctors towards cutting.
about a mentally disturbed man, Karl (Billy Bob
Thornton, who also directs)
In the opening scene, in a mental hospital, a very
disturbed patient, Charles (J.T.Walsh) says to Karl:
"I [finally got to look at] her bush... and there
before me, lay this thin, crooked, uncircumcised
penis! You can imagine how bad I wanted my $25 back,
huh?" (Implying Charles killed the prostitute over
intonation suggests that being intact was the worst
thing about the unwanted penis.
The South Park Movie:
Bigger, Longer & Uncut
In the TV trailer, after the word "Uncut", the
cartoon boys can be heard in the background shouting
casual bigotry against intactness is one of the most
insidious ways circumcision is promoted.
For South Park, the TV series, see the
TV Sitcoms pages, S-Z.
The Spy Who Dumped Me US, 2018
Morgan (Kate McKinnon) and Audrey (Mila Kunis) are
friends caught up in a spy plot. The two women have
been involved with a sexist Ukranian agent (Dustin
Demri-Burns) who they've been trying to educate in
feminism. He has sent Morgan some pictures. Morgan is
on the phone to her mother.
Morgan (on phone) "Mom, did you get the dick pics I
forwarded? Audrey thinks it's weird that we tell each
other everything. I know it's normal... that's what I
said!... It looks like an unbaked crescent roll. Mom I
know you like them uncut, hold on... (to Audrey, who
is trying to interrupt her) My mom wants to know if
you've been with an uncircumcised man...
Audrey: Morgan, I'm begging you to get off
the fucking phone!
is (slight) progress that a character (unseen) likes
State and Main
A woman is about to make love to a man
and asks him if he is Jewish. He replies, "Yes, why do
She says, "I love Jewish men."
He asks, "Why?"
She then looks at his crotch excitedly and says, "Ohh,
you know why!"
reinforces the first myth, that only
Jews (and all
Jews) circumcise. (She might as well have
asked, "Are you American?")
For him to know why would assume that all women
prefer circumcised penises.
comedy about a young rower coming to terms with being
gay during a training session camped by a lake.
One of the rowers is brought to the camp in agony.
His body is hunched up, and when they force his arms
and legs apart one lifts the blanket that wraps him
and says "His foreskin is caught
in his zipper." Then some woman rowers come to
complain that a man has been peeking at them, and they
identify him as the culprit. He is taken away to see a
doctor. Some of the youths joke about serving his
foreskin at a barbecue. At the end of the film he
confesses to one of the women that he had been
"choking the chicken" and she slaps his face.
a foreskin is taken for granted. There is only a
comical suggestion that it, rather than the zipper,
will be sacrificed.
The baby Superman
walks out of the crash-landed rocket from Krypton,
question arises, coming from a super-civilization,
Suzie, a Jewish girl (Summer Phoenix) in London,
under pressure to marry a nice Jewish boy (Iddo
Goldberg), falls for Darren (Leo Gregory), a gentile.
Suzie's more orthodox friend Debbie (Sophie Winkleman)
questions her about Darren:
Debbie: Well I just don't know how you can
Suzie: It's really not that different. I
mean it's got its pluses as well.
Debbie: Such as?
Suzie: Well it's full of surprises, it's not
like with a Jewish boy, you don't just get what you
see, it's like, there's an extra layer, like, a
mystery you uncover.
Debbie: Something like loads of cheese
Suzie: No, he's very clean.
Suzie may have been
speaking about gentiles, not genitals. It is Debbie
who is focused on his foreskin.
the foreskin fetish has worn off and you're sitting
in your warmest cardigan in your council flat with
your six snotty-nosed kids, and you're waiting for
your goyische fella to come back from the pub and
beat you up, I'll try very hard not to say I told
Later, in the
know you can do some extra repenting for your
non-kosher diet ...? ... Two days fasting on Yom
Kippur - and no cheese for a week.
Since the film is about love finding a way, the
supposed obstacle of his foreskin is soon dismissed.
Things I Never Told
[Cosas que nunca te dije]
In two scenes of traffic jams, we can
hear the drivers' thoughts. In the first, a man says,
"Why was I circumcised, anyway?" In the next, he answers
himself, "It's cleaner and
healthier, women prefer
Threads Khait Errouh
Hayat, a young American woman, accompanies her dying
father, Mehdi, on a trip to his childhood home in
Bejjaad - a small Moroccan town teeming with people
she may never meet, but whose lives unfold before our
eyes: Karim (Mohamed Farhat), a young boy, is plagued
with nightmares on the eve of his circumcision. ...
As each of these characters undergoes a rite of
passage, Mehdi embraces the end of his life.
Time of the Coment
(Koha e kometes) Germany/Albania, 2008
Upon learning that Albania is no longer under Ottoman
rule, Shestan (Blerim Destani) ... ventures forth with
his men to seek out and defend the newly named German
king of Albania. ...
The makeshift troop finally reaches King Weid (Thomas
Heinze), who has ethnic problems of his own. Faced
with a choice between his throne and his foreskin
(Albania's considerable Muslim population demands he
be circumcised), Weid abdicates."
someone commented, "I think I'd abdicate, too."
comet in question, Halley, came in 1910. The film is
set on the eve of WW1, in 1914, so the time of the
comet is well over. Perhaps that is part of the
Time to Say Goodbye Simon sagt 'Auf Wiedersehen' zu seiner Vorhaut Germany, 2016
[How can anyone even think of making a comedy about
genital cutting? Humour at its most nervous.] The
German title "Simon says 'See you again' to his
foreskin" is misleading (Simon sagt 'Tchüß'...
Simon Grünberg (Maximilian Ehrenreich, "The Book of
Life") approaches his Bar Mitzvah in the midst of
his parents' marital separation. His recently
observant Jewish father (Florian Setter) advocates
for his circumcision, seeing the significance of his
son's covenant with God as a non-negotiable rite of
passage. His mother (Lavinia Wilson), a fiery and
headstrong erotica author, finds this appalling and
refuses to subject her son to circumcision for the
sake of pious rules. Simon, for lack of a better
term, is torn.
To complicate matters, Simon's new Rabbi, Rebecca
(Catherine De Léan), is a warm, beautiful,
intelligent woman—and he's not the only one who
notices. With well-meaning strategic help from his
buddies Ben and Clemens, Simon sets off to win her
heart before his father can. When an especially
intimate tactic (that drew groans of all kinds from
its North American Premiere audience) becomes public
fodder for a private feud, Simon considers more
drastic measures. His desperation to attract a first
love twenty years his senior drives him to bond with
God on his own terms.
She asks her mother why some boys aren't circumcised
and the mother replies: "The
better question is, why are boys circumcised?"
She goes on to explain the foreskin and how much
extra sensitivity it has, and that it is a shame that
we cut them off our sons at birth.
A touch of spice
(Politiki kouzina) Greece, 2003
drama set in Greece and Turkey.
A Turkish customer and his son enter a spice shop
owned by a Greek in Istanbul. The son is dressed in
festive garments resembling a king's or sultans's
dress. While the two men talk about politics, the boy
approaches the merchant's grandson, but his father
forbids him from doing so. He explains to the merchant
that the son is to be circumcised shortly, but he will
allow him to come another day to play with his
(Later in the movie the two boys meet again as men
and we realise that the promised visit - after the
circumcision - never took place.)
Tristram Shandy: A Cock
and Bull Story
18th century literary classic becomes a comic
film-about-a-film." Laurence Sterne's 'The Life And
Opinions Of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman' is a mock
autobiography renowned for its digressions and its
asides, These are paralled in this film version by
stepping out of the story into its filming.
The Two Of Us Le viel homme et l'enfant
The parents of a little Jewish boy (Alain Cohen)
decide to evacuate him at the height of the bombing of
their town in 1944. He goes to stay with an elderly
couple. Jews are being rounded up and the old man
(Michel Simon) is superficially anti-Semitic, so the
boy is told to say he is Catholic, and even learns the
Lord's Prayer. The drama is about the developing
relationship between the boy and the man. He has a
couple of near-disclosures, especially when he's told
to bathe in the iron bath in the middle of the
kitchen. We see his "problem", the determined old lady
(Luce Fabiole) who wants to wash him does not.
Daisy (Desiree Del Valle) has inherited, from her
abusive father, the role of circumcising all the young
men in the village, and she bristles against the
expectation that she must then marry one of them.
“Let’s show all the men here our world doesn’t revolve
around their balls,” she tells her friend Botchok
(Vanna Garcia). There are several scenes of
circumcisions in the first hour.
rented the movie Tuli from
netflix. I expected, from the descriptions
I'd read on various websites, that Tuli
was an anti- circumcision film, as it is
repeatedly described as the story of a
young woman bucking against traditional
Filipino society and her
so it seemed, throughout the entire movie,
beginning with the horrible opening scene
of children being circumcised; the
circumciser (Bembol Roco) portrayed as an
evil drunk; then his daughter, Daisy
(Desiree del Valle), specifically choosing
the one intact young man in town, Nanding
(Carlo Aquino), to impregnate her. The
movie is filled with depictions of the
evils of superstition; from villagers who
believe that dwarves and lesbians curse
children; to Catholics who whip themselves
with instruments of torture on Holy Days.
The recurring theme is that all the 'bad'
men in town are circumcised, while the one
kind man in town is uncut: contrary to
what the villagers believe, circumcision
does NOT make the man.
the movie's climax, the village people get
together to violently tear Daisy and her
female lover, Botchok (Vanna Garcia), from
their home. It is Nanding alone who comes
to their defense, fighting off the
attackers, and when he succeeds, Botchok
shouts to the villagers: "YOU are the
uncut ones after all!" ("supot", the
derogatory term in Tagalog for intact --
as well as homosexual -- carries the
connotation of "bad".)
yet, after all that, just like ALWAYS, the
very last scene of the movie, after
spending two hours depicting their
uniqueness and independence, shows Daisy
circumcising Nanding, because he, after
all, is a "REAL" man - and, like the
idiotic villagers shouted all along,
"REAL" men are circumcised.
are repeated Catholic images and scenes
throughout the movie; even the ending
credits are adorned with various Christian
drawings. The current pope has even again
that they are "a church without
circumcision." Why won't his church
Danielle in Pasadena
The Tulse Luper Suitcases,
Part 1: The Moab Story
summary: The first of three parts, we follow
Tulse Luper in three distinct episodes: as a child
during the first World War, as an explorer in Mormon
Utah, and as a writer in Belgium during the rise of
fascism. Packed with stylistic flourishes, it's a
dense, comic study of 20th century history,
revolving around the contents of one man's
During Tulse's childhood (5'40" in), he (Richard
Pask) and his friends are playing war and explain to
their friend David (Joshua Light) that he must be
Jewish because he's "lost a piece of his willy."
was also a class marker in the UK in the early 20th
comedy set in Ottawa in 1979, about three gay men
named Peter - one, Cort (Matthew Ferguson), is
writing a book about male circumcision; another,
Koosens (Michael Achtman), is transcribing that book
in a typing agency and is obsessed with Prime
Minister Pierre Trudeau to a degree that draws the
attention of a police officer; the third, Peter
Denham (Damon D'Oliveira), seduces the first two and
then betrays them both. "[a] witty, imaginative and
frequently subversive reapraisal of cinematic
form... this is certainly different and refreshing
viewing." - Time Out
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D
two dopers, Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) and
their dangerous quest for a Chrismas tree.
A Jewish man who has converted to Christianity is
extolling the new-found joys of being a Christian at
"Next week I have an appointment to get
uncircumcised. That's right, I'm going to get my snozzle!"
only Jews are circumcised, even though the two main
- gentile - characters' circumcised penises both
appear in the film. Harold's is absurdly stretched
when he tries to pull it from a post to which it has
frozen, and is probably a stunt-cock.
romantic comedy about becoming a flight attendant.
At a dinner party, a veteran flight attendant, Sally
Weston (Candice Bergen) married to a rich Texan, is
host to several new flight attendants.
Donna (Gwyneth Paltrow): So what was it
like, Mrs Weston, when you started flying? Sally: Sally, please. Oh, it was wonderful! The
exotic cities - Christine (Christina Applegate): I hear all
those Europe men are uncircumcised. Randy (Joshua Malina, informatively):
Uh, not all. (Mr Weston looks pained)
humour lies in the inappropriateness of the
question, topped by the inappropriateness of the
answer, with a mildly homophobic dig at Randy's
supposed promiscuity (though one circumcised
European would be sufficient for him to be correct).
another level, it is anti-intact: he is reassuring
her that she can date a European without having to
put up with a foreskin.
Justine Parker (Laura Fraser), 17, wants to lose her
virginity. She goes to a virtual reality fair for a
date with self-styled superstud Alex Thorne (Kieran
O'Brien), but he stands her up and she goes with
her friend Chas Lovett (Luke de Lacey). In a machine
intended to give her a virtual makeover, she sets the
controls for her ideal man (Rupert Penry-Jones)
instead. An explosion puts her into his body and she
calls herself Jake, but has much to learn about being
Jake and Chas are in a locker-room, where naked men
are horsing around:
Jake: Jesus, would you look at Carter's.
Chas: Don't point.
Jake: But he's got no - the inside's
Chas: He's been circumcised.
Jake: Poor bastard!
that would probably have been turned on its head in the US.
Waiting for Guffman
Blaine, Missouri. To celebrate the town's 150th
anniversary, an off5-Broadway director is
mounting an historical pageant. (Guffman is a
Broadway theatre critic who has been invited to the
opening night.) Two of the cast - a travel agent who
has left town only once and the dentist - and their
partners are having dinner together.
Ron Albertson (Fred Willard): How'd you find
Dr. Allan Pearl (Eugene Levy, who played Dr
Wasserman in "Off
Centre" ): Well, we've been, uh coming here for
Sheila Albertson (Catherine O'Hara rather
the worse for wear) What's it.. what's it..
Ron: Shhh ...
Sheila: Girl talk. What's it like to be with a
Mrs [first name not given] Pearl (Linda Kash)
Sheila : I'd ask you more about that but Ron
said the whole Jew thing...
Ron whispers in Sheila's ear. Reaction from Dr
Sheila: When Ron had his surgery... when Ron
had his surgery ...
Ron (interrupting): All right, all
Sheila: ... I said, 'Hey circumcise it while
you're at it,' you know... because I had never been
with anyone else. Ron's the only man I've been with. [This does not follow. ~75% of
the world's women have never been with any but
Dr. Pearl: What surgery did he have?
Ron: A minor corrective surgery. (to a
waiter) Can we have some coffee at the table
Sheila (sarcastically): It's not minor
Dr. Pearl (noticing Ron's embarrassment):
Well maybe we should change the subject.
Ron: I had, uh, what most guys would, um,
dream of: I had penis reduction surgery.
Dr. Pearl (startled): I'm sorry?
Ron: Penis reduction surgery. Which there
aren't many. You're gonna say, 'I've never heard of
that,' because there haven't been that many cases.
(Reaction from Mrs Pearl)
Sheila: I said, 'Ron do something' and he
said, 'Why don't you get one of those vagina
scene continues without further reference to
Walk on Water
and straight-gay relationships, among other things.
An Israeli intelligence man, Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi),
is hunting down an old Nazi. He poses as a tourist
guide and befriends the Nazi's grandson, Axel
Himmelman (Knut Berger).
They are showering after swimming in the Dead Sea.
Eyal: So they didn't circumcise you? I think
I never saw one. You know, we used to talk about it in
the army. If it looks bigger and if it's better in
Axel: I don't know. It's the only one I ever
Eyal: Is everybody like that in Europe?
Axel (as they get dressed): In
Germany, hardly nobody's circumcised - except for
the Turks. In other countries of Europe...? Let me
think... Italians? Definitely not circumcised. Also
the English and the French. Definitely not.
Actually, only the Muslims are circumcised in
Europe. And the Jews, of course. I think it looks
Eyal (thoughtfully): I see you know
quite a lot about it.
is a plot device to develop the relationship between
the men. Axel is giving away that he is gay, but
Eyon doesn't notice. Not many gay Germans would
think a circumcised penis looks better than their
own - perhaps he is flirting.
about a would-be Broadway actor whose CV is switched
with a stripper's.
In a song "Gays, Jews and Girls Who Need Love" about
people who support musicals, is the line:
No-one is more loyal
Than those who use a mohel.
underlining "Judaism = circumcision"
by Larry Clark about a group of Guatemalan American
and Salvadoran American teenagers in South Central Los
Angeles who, instead of conforming to the hip hop
culture of their gang-infested neighborhood, wear
tight pants, listen to punk rock,and ride skateboards.
Jonathan (Jonathan Velasquez) and a young woman have
been pulling their clothes off as they go upstairs.
When they reach the bedroom, Jonathan takes off his
(0:50) She: You're not circumcised. Jonathan: No, I'm Latino. Why, it looks
different? She: It looks dangerous! (Kisses
him passionately. They begin to have sex.)
welcome change from "Eew!"
about two days - around Thanksgiving - in the lives
of four Los Angeles families,
African-American,Vietnamese, Latino and Jewish.
On Thanksgiving morning, Ruth Seelig (Lainie Kazan)
is showing Carla (Julianna Margulies), the partner of
her daugher Rachel (Kyra Sedgwick), how to stuff the
turkey, and complaining about her son, Art, and his
Ruth: You know they haven't spoken in over a
year? It's terrible. That's it, Carla. Just make sure
it goes all the way in the back.
Carla: Mmm, that's my favorite part.
Ruth: I mean, our only grandson not
circumcised, yet. It's a shanda [disgrace, scandal].
And, and, and they spoke to the moyel in Beverly Hills
about the bris
Rachel (who is pregnant by artificial
insemination, unknown to her mother): But it's up to
Ruth: It's tradition!
usual, circumcision is not treated seriously in its
own right, this time merely as a prop to illustrate
the generation gap, and the grandson's rights or
wishes do not get a look in.
What To Expect When You're
about pregnancy and parenthood. Stars Cameron Diaz
and Matthew Morrison joke nervously pre-release
about the decision how much detail to include about
Hitchens said, "Genital mutilation is no joke.")
Keeping the larger-audience rating seems more
important than informing parents about the grim
reality of circumcising.
preview is not encouraging and Matthew Morrison
seems to agree with his character, Evan:
In their arguments, Ewan's case for cutting is that
"How is it even a question?"
People will make fun of their son
He likes sex just fine
"I'll feel shafted if he's not done." [We may hope
that this means that if circumcision is
unnecessary, he'll feel that he was shafted by
Jules's case for intactness is
There's more sensation [intact]
Circumcision is violent and
A passing nurse says "Actually a lot of couples are
choosing not to circumcise these days."
A woman listening to their conversation says uncut
guys are better and she had a blast in Europe.
In the (happy) event, the baby is a girl, so the
question never needs an answer - and the moviemakers
are off the hook.
They discuss the issue a few more times – MM tries to
trivialize the idea of circ. While CD is in
labor, she mumbles something about “I don’t care about
his penis.” The issue is resolved when, to their
surprise, the sonogram was wrong and she delivers a
Cameron Diaz told Jimmy Fallon she thinks it's
strange that men want their sons to be circumcised and
aren't comfortable with [a child having] a foreskin.
reality TV stars Jules (Cameron Diaz) and
Evan (Matthew Morrison), a
high-maintenance pair who argue about
circumcision purely so the writers can
throw in a few dick jokes but without the
slightest degree of truth about how
parents can disagree about major decisions
even before they know the sex of the
There are so few moments or scenes in
“What to Expect When You’re Expecting”
that don’t feel like they were processed
by a machine. “What do we need to put in
this movie? Nipple pain? Check.
Flatulence? Check. Circumcision jokes?
Check. Gags about how awful dads are? You
circumcision critics, it is a slam-dunk in
terms of pop-culture attention to this
issue. Jules (Cameron Diaz) is an LA
celebrity who is determined not to
circumcise her son despite the
protestations of the baby’s father Evan
(Matthew Morrison). When a tabloid
magazine prints that Jules won’t be
circumcising on its front cover, the
couple’s tensions over the issue escalate.
The circumcision issue is not merely
addressed in passing. It is a major plot
point in the film.
When Father was away
[Otac na sluzbenom putu], Yugoslavia, 1985
drama-comedy directed by Emir Kusturica and set in
Early on the film, the father decides to have his two
boys, Mesa (Miki Manojlovic), aged about nine, and
Malik (Moreno D'E Bartolli), 12, circumcised. The
adults throw a little party in the house. The boys are
presented and circumcised by their uncle who is a
butcher. Their father tells the butcher to "go easy"
with the skin and is told that there is "enough skin
left for a good fuck".
Later on, Mesa shares a bathtub with a little girl.
He resents being circumcised since a friend of his
"can stick a stone in, while he can't". The girl tells
him that her father, who is a doctor, performs such
operations and that it is better to be cut by a
The Wicker Man
A Calvanistic Scottish police sergeant (Edward
Woodward) goes alone to an offshore island where the
locals, led by their Lord (Christopher Lee), have
abandoned Christianity in favour of pagan fertility
rites, and becomes more involved than is good for him.
A scene in the local chemist/photographer's shop
opens with a closeup of jars labelled "Foreskins" and
"Dimethyl glyoxime" (used to detect nickel, of no
apparent significance) and tracks past jars containing
"Rat Brains", a weasel, "Snake Oil Embrocation",
"Brains" and "Hearts" and ends on a tank of calf
embryos. The foreskins appear to be from adults.
This is explained by a scene that was cut from the
(Lennox leads the way into the shop. Howie's
attention is taken by a large bottle marked
HOWIE: Foreskins? How do you get foreskins?
LENNOX: Circumcision - how else? I pay Ewan
a reasonable price for them.
HOWIE: But what for?
LENNOX: If ritually burnt they bring the
rain. But, of course, up here there's very little
call for them. Now, how can I help you?
character is credited as "Doctor Ewan". It is most
unlikely that he would ever need to cut off as many
foreskins as appear in the jar, suggesting he did it
without medical need.
The Wound Inxeba (in Xhoxa with English subtitles)
South Africa, 2017
A slow-burning drama set at a Xhosa initiation.
The initiates are all cut early on in the film;
nothing is shown but there is mention of painful herbs
being applied, and infections. The foreskin is
mentioned only once, near the end. It is clear that it
is not genital cutting that turns boys into men.
Y tu mamá también
[And your mother, too]
Two best friends, 17 years old, spend most of their
time horsing around, swearing, smoking dope and having
sex with their girlfriends. One, Tenoch (Diego
Luna), is the son of a leading politician and a
psychotherapist (very well off). The other, Julio (Gael García Bernal),
is the son of a secretary (middle to middle/lower
class) whose husband ran off many years ago.
In an early scene, the boys are showering together
alone at a country club. As Julio dries off, Tenoch
comments on his "ugly dick." Julio ignores the comment
but Tenoch continues by saying Julio's penis looks
like a "deflated balloon." Julio tells him to "blow up
my balloon, faggot!" winning the exchange.
Later, during a road-trip with a Spanish relation of
Tenoch's, Luisa (Maribel Verdú), they banter about the
relative size of their penises.
Tenoch: Plus, Julio has a really ugly cock.
Luisa: Oh really? Why do you say that? Tenoch: It looks like a deflated balloon. It
has a hood on it; it's really gross. Luisa: Mmm, yummy. Foreskins. I love them! Tenoch: Well, I think a hood is just gross. Julio: Ah, you're just jealous 'cause I'm
As the film goes on, they express the sexual tension
between them in class terms. Tenoch calls Julio "white
trash" and "a peasant", while Julio calls Tenoch a
"spoiled preppie" and the beneficiary of a corrupt
politician father. A voice-over mentions that Tenoch
uses his foot to lift the toilet seat in Julio's home.
Circumcision is just one clear line in the sand. The
message is that boys in upper- and middle-class
Mexican families are routinely circumcised, like the
Americans they envy, while intactness is a mark of
social inferiority in sophisticated Mexico City, where
both boys live.
Julio is unfussed about being intact, but Tenoch has
a hangup about foreskins - not that they're dirty, but
rather that they label social class. His best friend's
intactness is a daily reminder that they're from
different sides of the tracks.
"What's with all the genital
mutilation?" asks Oh, a sensitive gatherer
(as opposed to hunter), upon hearing the circumcision
action plan put forth by Hank Azaria's Abraham. Don't
worry, the bearded one says. "It's a very sleek look."
a true word is spoken in jest! This could be the
first time "genital mutilation" has been used to
describe male circumcision in a mainstream
movie. (Actually, Oh didn't ask that until a eunuch
in Sodom offered to show Oh his testicles.)
its exposed corona
and sulcus, and
dried surface, a circumcised penis is far from
The most hilarious character of the whole lot is
undoubtedly the wonderful Hank Azaria as Abraham - a
man who tries to convince Zed and Oh that circumcision
"is going to catch on".
Zed (Jack Black): "Let me get this straight,
you're saying you have too much cock?"
Most reviews have panned the movie.
You Don't Mess with the Zohan
agent Zohan Dvir (Adam Sandler) fakes his own death so
he can re-emerge in New York City as a hair stylist
who gives his elderly female customers "special
services" in the back room. But he is eventually
recognized and risks losing his newfound life and
Zohan has been staying with Gail (Lainie Kazan) and
her son Michael (Nick Swardson) for several weeks, and
had sex with Gail several times. He reveals to them
that he's an Israeli counter-terrorist:
Michael: Wow. You're an Israeli
Gail: I knew it!
Gail: Well, the Israeli part... 'cause he's
NYC? She has to be joking.
a mediaeval quest.
Hollywood Confronts the
Why are so many actors dropping their
A film’s success rises or falls on the
smallest of details. And so it was that the
director of this month’s medieval stoner
comedy Your Highness found himself
in a boardroom with the suits at Universal
Studios, discussing every last facet of his
minotaur[, Brian Steele]’s manhood. How to
light the half-man/half-bull’s prosthetic
appendage? How large should the dimensions
be? And what would the anatomy suggest about
the beast’s religious leanings? [As
only Jews circumcise.] “We
took the leap, culturally, and we
circumcised him,” the director, David Gordon
rather, they did the Amurrican thang and they
Abandon the Knife
In Pokot, a remote village in the hills of Northern
Kenya, two teenage girls start a revolution by
refusing to be the victims of female genital
The film tells the story of how Nancy and Gertrude
stood up to their parents and their traditions and
emerged as leaders and role models for future
generations of girls in their village and their wider
Sensationalistic documentary shows
circumcisions of crying male and female children (with
broken glass or a razor blade) clearly, and an
infibulation. Female circumcision is described as severe
mutilation, male circumcision as just a hygienic
Activism Against Female Circumcision Is Focus of New
new film focuses on the fight by African activists
was forcefully cut when I was 14 years,” says Kenyan
anti-FGM activist Agnes Pareyio. “I tried to resist;
everybody was calling me a coward. There was a lot
of peer pressure on me that forced me to prove to
them that I was not a coward. But I hated it. So, I
grew up hating it and made sure that not my
daughter, not anybody who can listen to me, will
village-by-village effort of education and
persuasion that Pareyio and others like her in
Somalia, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Mali have taken
on is the subject of "Africa Rising: The Grassroots
Movement to End Female Genital Mutilation," made by
Paula Heredia for Equality Now, a group that works
to promote human rights for women.
film opens with 14-year-old Mary Solio remembering
the day she was cut. "My father decided to marry me
off. I told him no, because I wanted to continue
with my education,“ Solio says. “They beat me. They
removed all my clothes and they beat me nakedly. I
ran, but they got me on the way. I cry, but nobody
was there in the forest. I cried but I don't have
anybody to turn to. They beat me the same day and
they took me to the husband's home."
least 100 million African women and girls have
undergone FGM, which involves the removal of all or
part of the female genitalia. Sometimes the
remaining flesh is stitched closed, a practice
called infibulation, leaving only a tiny opening for
urination and menstruation, and making intercourse
and childbirth painful and hazardous. FGM can cause
immediate hemorrhaging and death or a lifetime of
pain, disability and severe emotional problems,
fight FGM by pointing out it is not practiced in
most Islamic countries, and is not mentioned in the
Koran. In Somalia, where most girls are cut by the
age of eight, the film shows anti-FGM activist Hawa
Aden Mohamed visiting a classroom. She tells the
schoolgirls that God created female organs for a
purpose, and so removing them cannot be right.
"People are just trying to change His creation," she
She described how she was considered crazy when she
began speaking out against FGM seven years ago. Her
husband left her after others said she was trying to
spoil their culture, and she raised her four
the beginning, it was tough,” Pareyio said. “My life
was in danger, because I was trying to break the
silence about a culture that was deeply rooted among
the people. People believed in it and had never
looked at it or even known the dangers, or wanted to
talk about it. So, it was like I was crazy, because
I was talking about the private part of a woman,
which was a taboo in Africa. Nobody can even mention
the part that I used to mention when teaching them.
But I insisted, because I knew having seen some
communities who don’t perform it, I knew that this
was just another way of oppressing our women.”
the subject is no longer taboo. “I’m happy now
because at least everybody is talking about it
openly, compared to those days,” she says. “These
days I go to the field, and say ‘Well, I’ve called
you here because I want to talk about FGM.’ So, we
are moving towards stopping it.” Pareyio also
invokes her Maasai culture in explaining why she
does not let herself become discouraged by the
decades of struggle that she sees ahead. “When you
go to war, always be faithful [that you will
succeed],” she says. “I have faith in me that one
day women in the Maasai community will be free from
Cast: Georgeanne Chapin, Jonathon Conte, Dean Edell,
Andrew Freedman, John Geisheker, Leonard B. Glick,
Ronald Goldman, Ryan McAllister, Marilyn Milos, Soraya
Mire, Brian Morris
Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC, 4/6/18
Opens: March 30 – April 28 in 15 markets. VOD
release: July 3, 2018
“American Circumcision,” a freshman feature project of
director Brendon Marotta (who at 6’5” is probably
asked about measurements), is no joking matter. The
subject is as deadly serious as political divisions
brought about by gun laws, abortion, and transgender
rights. After all, when 120 million American men have
circumcised penises, they are likely to be disturbed,
even enraged, by a film that challenges their judgment
or the judgment of their parents. In fact America,
often considered the exception in our world, is the
only country in the developed world to indulge in a
procedure whose opponents consider it barbaric,
unnecessary, a ignoring of choice, yet in the same
respect a twenty-minute operation that promotes
hygiene, cosmetic concerns, even, ironically, an
opening to greater sexual pleasures than should be
expected by an uncircumcised male.
The documentary does present both sides of the issue,
though it is in no way balanced, any more than are
Michael Moore’s “Roger and Me,” “Where to Invade
Next,” and “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Clearly Mr. Marotta
considers himself on the side of angels, capturing
dynamic footage of demonstrations in front of the U.S.
Capitol and the White House, even an attempt in
California to provide a law by referendum that would
outlaw the practice just as sure as female genital
mutilation has been illegal here since 1996.
Talking heads expressed similar views, some of these
heads breaking down in tears, when they expressed
anger at both the society and their parents for
allowing the surgery when they were infants. ...
... soon we can expect this surgery, both because it
is barbaric (take a look at those torture-chamber-like
clamps used to shut of the blood of foreskins) and
because it is inflicted on infants who should have the
right some eighteen years later, to opt out.
This is a splendid documentary which may be
criticized by a boatload of people who have already
crossed the Rubicon, cut the Gordian knot, or whatever
metaphor you prefer, and who feel the obligation to
defend what was already done. Even there, thankfully,
there is a procedure to emulate the foreskin, but the
length of time needed to do so and the painful process
required would make that a choice of only a determined
Circoncision, un film de
"Sensitively done interviews, in English and French
with subtitles, with a variety of people from various
cultural backgrounds, circumcising and
non-circumcising, and especially mixed couples,
discussing their feelings about circumcision and
facing the decision whether to circumcise.
"One secular Algerian man describes how, under
colonial French rule, to be circumcised was a proud
mark that one was not French. In Paris, his
family threatened to disown him if he didn't have his
sons, 6-8 years old, circumcised. His French wife was
opposed. They ultimately didn't, and he was ostracized
from his family of origin. The film honored the depth
of people's emotions and conflicts, while leaving no
doubt that circumcision was a violent and sexually and
emotionally disruptive thing."
This film doesn't explore
the religious dimensions of circumcision;
the men and women expressing their views
here are not religious. However, for them
circumcision remains a major issue. Their
questions focus upon this mar[k]ing of the
body, but also upon lineage, cultural
heritage and its transmission. These are
particularly sensitive issues for mixed
couples, for whom the decision of whether to
circumcise or not can give rise to powerful
emotions, sometimes leading to conflict.
the 2009 US comedy, Circumcise
BBC Documentary by Christopher Sykes.
IMDb summary: Is it better or not for men to
Sudan’s unsung film hero
By BAMUTURAKI MUSINGUZI
HE MIGHT HAVE LOST HIS sight, but Gadalla Gubara is
determined not to abandon the skills of film-making
that he has mastered over 60 years in his career. ...
In the film Circumcised (Sudan, 1999, 20 min), Gubara
makes a strong statement against the practices of
circumcision as performed in Africa, particularly in
a film by Ari Libsker, 21 minute documentary in Hebrew
and English, with subtitles.. The film itself.
Interviews with recent immigrants who regret being
circumcised for conformity (2'35"):
"It was very, very stupid."
parents who did not circumcise, though their son later
wanted it (4'38"):
"A child has to be very hard on himself to hurt
himself in a place where you learn how to love."
a man who sued his parents for circumcising him
(13'22"), and Israeli parents struggling with conformity
and custom (16'26"):
"In order for him to be called a Jew, he has to
suffer these hellish experiences."
Couper Court Cut Short
summary: Infant circumcision is a delicate
subject. For some, it stands as a religious law,
impossible to circumvent; for others, it amounts to a
serious lapse from children's right to physical
integrity. This documentary gives an opportunity to
men and to women to express freely their concern with
Producer: Evelyne Guay
Production Productions VF Inc.
documentary by Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon which examines
male circumcision from a religious, scientific and
ethical perspective. "Using cutting-edge research, in
addition to interview footage of rabbis, philosophers,
and scientists, Cut challenges the viewer to
confront their biases by asking difficult questions
about this long-standing practice." Primarily about Brit Milah, the Religious
Service says the film "respectfully questions the
independent review: I approached the film with a complex
set of preconceptions and, to the
filmmaker's great credit, after it was
over my certainties were utterly shaken.
would be entirely too easy to make a joke
about the subject of Eliyahu
Ungar-Sargon’s thoughtful new documentary,
“Cut:Slicing Through the Myths of
Circumcision.” After all, Jewish comedians
have been doing that for decades. And at
the beginning of his film, one expects
from its tone that Ungar-Sargon may be
planning to do the same.
“Cut” is a deadly serious and admirably
balanced look at the medical,
sociological, ethical and religious
aspects of male circumcision. The
filmmaker interviews a profusion of
doctors, activists and rabbis, returning
periodically to a non-observant Jewish
couple who are preparing for the brit
milah of their second son, which we see
towards the end of the film.
was himself raised as an Orthodox Jew, and
describes his uneasy investigation of this
issue as one more step in his “lifelong
struggle with Jewish tradition.” As his
father notes, he was circumcised by the
same mohel who had performed the rite on
the filmmaker’s grandfather and father, a
detail that underlines the significance of
circumcision as a practice that unites
Jewish men across generations.
his own misgivings about circumcision,
Ungar-Sargon is admirably even-handed in
his choice of witnesses and the use of
their statements. It would be very easy to
caricature some of the odder “intactivist”
activists , and one cannot help but
bristle a little at the non-Jewish
anti-circumcision organizer who says, “I
don’t prescribe for Jews at all,” with a
certain air of disdain, or the
non-observant Jewish anthropologist who
takes obvious delight in pointing out the
preponderance of Jewish physicians doing
research to support the purported medical
benefits of the procedure.
would bristle even more at
Intactivists who do
prescribe for Jews - damned if we do
and damned if we don't, it seems.
you argue that Jews should
discontinue the practice of
circumcision? Harry Meislahn
(NOCIRC Illinois): No, I
don't - I don't prescribe
for Jews at all. This is an
absolute loser, I'm not
Jewish. One of the other
things about it is that I
would maintain that a Jewish
baby feels pain just as a
non-Jewish baby feels pain,
and there are Jewish men,
just like non-Jewish men,
who are real angry that this
was done to them so at that
point I withdraw from this
field because it generates
lots of heat, very little
light, and I understand a
lot of people have used
circumcision - hundreds of
years ago - to convert Jews
from Judaism, and Jews know
As I studied the history of
American circumcision, the
names that came up
repeatedly with most
prominence - Wolbarst,
Ravich, [Fink], Weiss,
Schoen (still active today)
- the names - with the
single exception of Thomas
Wiswell (who's the main
proponent for [circumcision
to prevent] Urinary Tract
Infections) - but with that
single exception, really in
recent times, I think it's
accurate and reasonable and
fair to say that the names
of Jewish physicians are
these men being insincere in
some sense? Did they have
"ulterior motives"? I really
don't think so. I think in
their own conscious minds,
what they were doing was
recommending a Jewish
practice that had turned out
to be a very good medical
practice, one that everyone
they at all influenced by
the fact that they were
Jewish? I think it's pretty
hard to conclude that they
probably were not. I would
say that, whether
unconsciously, they would
have been pleased or
satisfied to know that a
Jewish practice that had
been vilified for centuries
was now being accepted by
their fellow physicians -
non-Jewish physicians - as
something worth doing. (Prof.
Glick spells this out in
more detail on page 183ff
it is hard not to be moved when both a
midwife and anti-circumcision speaker and
the woman rabbi who runs the Reform
movement’s Berit Milah program speaking
passionately about the responsibility to
protect our children. The question
remains, of course, whether that is best
done by circumcising the male infants or
eschewing that practice.
a sense, the entire film is leading up to
the final scene between the director and
his father, who has been a highly
articulate but intransigent defender of
Orthodox ritual. Over the course of making
the film, Ungar-Sargon returns to his
father in his home study repeatedly, but
it is only in their final chat that the
older man admits that even he is prepared
to acknowledge that the question is a
fraught one and that he can live with his
son’s answer (or lack thereof).
questions surrounding male circumcision do
not admit of any easy answers but, to his
credit, Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon has resisted
the easy laugh and the pat response to
convey something of the thorniness of the
issue. He has confronted in a specifically
and intensely Jewish way, and that is all
you could possibly ask of a filmmaker
under these circumstances.
is a sound piece of documentary filmmaking
on a difficult issue.
A 29-minute dramatised documentary about
Synopsis: The film tells the story of a small
contemporary North African family having to deal with
the traditional practice of female genital mutilation
(FGM). The main focus of the film falls on a young
mute woman, Haadiya, who has lived with the effects of
FGM all her life. Now that the time has come for her
own daughter, Karida, to be circumcised, lost memories
about her own experience start to return and fill her
mind with doubt. However, a culture that demands the
infabulation for social acceptance makes her situation
more complex. When Tawvah, bearing the scars of her
own infabulation, shows up to do the circumcision on
Karida, Haadiya is forced to make a quick and drastic
decision. The film investigates the cultural reasons
for the continuation of this practice in North African
societies. During this short period, actual
experiences and scientific facts are condensed into
the lives of the five fictional characters,
predominantly on the four female characters, who are
forced to evaluate their roles as women bound by
tradition as well as the life-long damage this
cultural practice inflicts on their minds and bodies.
The film thus examines through the genre of docudrama
the cultural and personal reasons why such a practice
still exists in Africa today. Trailer
The Day I Will Never
UK (TV), 2002
A low-key documentary with little
From a review:
Set in the Somali community of Nairobi, Kenya,
where female genital mutilation is still a common
practice, The Day I Will Never Forget takes a
many-faceted look at the complex social and cultural
forces that continue to thwart effective reform. A
Western-trained nurse confronts a new husband with his
wife's need for corrective surgery, only to see him
put his fear of being shamed by his friends before his
wife's well-being. A men's fraternity leader, wearing
traditional dress, claims that the clitoris is no
different from the foreskin and therefore must be
removed. Middle-class mothers sit around a living room
rationalizing their own suffering and justifying why
they have passed the practice on to their daughters.
But filmmaker Kim Longinotto ... provides a larger
context for the practice with a look into Somalian
marriage customs... Ultimately hope is found in a
group of young girls who petition the court for a
restraining order against their parents.
- Jeannine Lanourette
San Francisco Film Festival
Justifications offered for FGM are tradition, to keep
girls from sleeping around, and cleanliness. The elder
argues that the clitoris is the male organ in the
female, as the foreskin is the female organ in the male,
and claims God has ordered both to be removed.
Opposition to (female) circumcision is largely
Christian-based, and religious justification for it
vaguely Muslim (the man who puts this forward is sure
there is something in the Qu'ran about it.) The most
harrowing scene is of a young girl, who has just watched
her elder sister being mutilated, being suddenly and
unexpectedly held down and subjected to the same
The 8th Day
US (TV), 2001
documentary about two Jewish couples wrestling
with the decision whether to circumcise their sons.
Karen Markuze made the video as her master's thesis in
Eight Physicians Tell Their Stories
US (TV), 1998 (20 mins)
Seven family practice physicians and one
emergency room physician in Santa Fe, NM, struggle with
their consciences as they examine the ethical and human
rights issues of infant circumcision. Three of them tell
why they stopped circumcising, the others why they
continue to circumcise or to advocate circumcision and
discuss what might lead them to change their minds.
Available through NOHARMM:
Circumcision in Indonesia: The Weight of Tradition
Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in
the world, female circumcision remains a
firmly rooted tradition. Starting very
young, little girls must undergo genital
mutilation. In some Indonesian provinces,
the vast majority of young girls are
many ulema [Muslim community] members
fervently argue in favor of the necessity
of female circumcision. Their influence is
strong, and they are forcing the
government to back down on its plans to
ban female genital cutting.
followed Arista, a three year-old little
girl who must go through the procedure
according to her family’s wishes. Her
mother drives her to Bandung in Southeast
Jakarta where a circumcision ceremony is
orchestrated by an Islamic group.
is responsible for perpetuating this
religious tradition? Why is the Indonesian
government allowing medical staff to
continue to perform female circumcision?
And who will help the country break free
of this ancestral tradition?
Hidden In Plain
Sight: Trauma in America
US, in production
effects and costs of traumatic stress, America's
largest health care crisis"
This documentary proved to be more
anti-circumcision than its makers ever intended: the bris they were filming
went wrong. The mohel
told them to stop the camera but they carried on. The
baby had to go to hospital, where he developed an
infection, went into intensive care and needed
antibiotics, oxygen and drips. Excerpts from this
circumcision were used in a mainly pro-circ US current
affairs item, with the outcome not mentioned. The makers
of "It's a Boy!" were, predictibly, denounced as
anti-Semitic and the filming was blamed for the mishap,
yet brisot are commonly videotaped by relatives, as in "The Nanny", and the
producer, Victor Schoenfeld, is the Jewish father of a
circumcised son. He also presents details of two babies
who died as a result of their
circumcisions and an interview with the mother of a
third who almost bled to death. It reveals cases of
permanent genital disfigurement, claiming that, at a
conservative estimate one in 50 circumcisions leads to
serious complications. The film also shows Muslim
Keep the River on your Right: a
modern cannibal tale
Includes documentary footage (virtually
irrelevant to the subject, an elderly anthropologist,
Tobias Schneebaum, who wrote an important book of the
same title) of Muslim ritual circumcision of terrified
not for the squeamish.
Me and the Jewish
Thing Mig og Jøderiet Denmark, 2009
and by, Ulrik Gutkin
Through conversations with his wife, Signe, we
learn that Ulrik, who is Jewish, and Signe, who is
Christian, do not share the same opinion about the
need for circumcision. Ulrik, a 4th generation
Danish Jew, feels strongly that their son should be
circumcised. Signe, however, sees circumcision as a
"medieval" act of mutilation and cruelty.
The film covers four years of the couple's life,
spanning from the last weeks of Signe's pregnancy,
through the first few years of their son Felix's
life. Interwoven with Ulrik and Signe's ongoing
debate, we learn about Ulrik's Jewish history, his
attachment to his religion and culture. In addition
to questioning the physical purpose of circumcision,
Signe wonders why it's important to Ulrik to become
more Jewish, [and] make a film about this Jewish
topic, when Judaism wasn't a big part of Ulrik's
life prior to having kids.
Ulrik struggles to articulate why he feels strongly
in favor of circumcising their son. As it becomes
clear to him that their son won't be circumcised, he
looks for other ways to impart Judaism on Felix,
though he and Signe again feel differently about
Nurses of St. Vincent's:
Saying NO to Circumcision
US (TV), 1995
In 1992, more than 20 nurses of St
Vincent Hospital, Santa Fe, NM, refused to perform any
more circumcisions, and in 1995, two of them, Mary
Conant and Betty Katz Sperlich, founded Nurses for the
Rights of the Child. This is their story. Dir. Barry
Elsworth. Review by Jeannine Parvati
United Arab Emritates, 2015
First-hand account of a young Egyptian woman coming
to terms with the fact she was circumcised as a child.
Amena Al Nowais, 26, awarded the ‘Best Documentary’
award in Image Nation’s first short documentary
competition for this film.
Produced by Danae Elon - "a personal
examination of the ritual of male circumcision. In it,
Elon travels the world with her husband after the birth
of their son."
No decision made about a newborn son is as
consequential and irreversible as one made
by parents around the world, often without
a second thought: What to do about that
pesky foreskin? [Since
Muslims, Filipinos, South Koreans and
tribal people cut years later, and
neonatal circumcision is residual in
the Commonwealth, in fact only in the
US (and Israel) do parents have to
give it even a first thought.]
To filmmaker Danae Elon, who grew up in
Israel but is a secular Jew, the entire
ritual of circumcision is ridiculous. But
her partner, Phillip, comes from a
traditional French/Algerian Jewish family
and believes wholeheartedly in the
tradition of the bris. So what else does a
documentary filmmaker do but explore the
issue on the big screen?
opening her own personal experience to the
world, Elon (Another Road Home, TFF '04,)
takes a witty approach to a complicated
and serious subject, turning Partly
Private into a fun and entertaining
movie that is as much about family as the
subject of circumcision. Traveling around
the world during her pregnancy, she
examines how people from other cultures in
other countries feel about what she
considers an absurd and outdated ritual,
and yet Elon never allows the film to
become overly preachy for one side of the
debate or the other. Partly Private
is an ironic and clever look at a topic to
which most new parents may never give
all began when Philip, my partner told me
about a story his father had told him: “In
Algeria”, he said, “there is a tradition
of putting the foreskin in the couscous
dish after the ceremony”. “In the couscous
never really spoke about what we would we
do if we had a boy… It was only when I
became pregnant with my first child that I
realized that other people’s dilemmas were
now my own. My husband humbly came to me
one day and said: Danae, we will do it…,
right? I realized that my response was
both completely simplistic: “No! Are you
insane?”, and yet contained a
bizarre atavistic reaction that would
inevitably bring me to agree with him,
one that was laced with ancient historical
baggage. I decided that this would make
the perfect dramatic setting for a
documentary on circumcision. I
wanted the film to be most of all witty
and humorous and not a dogmatic
report on the issue. I realized that it
was a way to expose something about our
nature as human beings rather than make a
statement about whether circumcision is
right or wrong.
the film and mostly writing and editing it
held within it immense potholes, I knew I
was going to be walking a very thin line
of between taste and balance. It
was my intention to portray everyone
taking sides on this issue as equally
crazy. Using my personal story
was a mechanism of touching upon intimate
truths that regard us all, a prism through
which to look at relationships and
sacrifices that go into making a family.
were some of the biggest challenges you
faced in developing the project?
knew that taking sides in this story would
be its downfall. It is a highly
controversial subject that easily becomes
banal and redundant. Avoiding this
redundancy was the most difficult part of
making the film. It was also a challenge to find humor within my
search and not include graphic materials.
We look forward to Ms Elon's witty and humorous
documentary about Female Genital Cutting, portraying
everyone taking sides on this issue as equally crazy,
finding humour and not including graphic materials.
is a religion that welcomes the act of
questioning. But few question the act of
circumcision, which is commanded to
Abraham by God, according to the Bible.
her documentary “Partly Private,” which
premieres at the Tribecca Film Festival,
Danae Elon wonders whether or not she
should circumcise her son. She is leaning
against it and her father is against
anything religious. Yet her husband,
Philip, wants to keep the tradition of his
father and his grandfather, who was a
rabbi. Should she stick to her guns or
acquiesce to her husband’s wishes out of a
love for her spouse?
her quest to learn more about
circumcision, Elon travels to Italy,
Israel, Turkey and England, but gets
arrested on the Upper West Side of her
native Manhattan. Elon visits a
sex-toy-shop, a church, a spot where
Abraham may have circumcised himself and a
location where Jesus’ foreskin might have
film is fascinating, humorous and
disturbing. You’ll be mystified as you see
the “Circumcision Palace,” in Turkey where
boys between the ages of six and nine
dress in elaborate outfits, wave to clowns
and go on a ride, only to be to shot up
with Novocain and then circumcised. One boy cries that he
doesn’t want to go through with it.
London, Elon meets a mohel, or one who
performs the circumcisions. He
proudly shows her a glass jar of
foreskins he’s kept. In Calcutta,
a man manages to keep a straight face
while insisting that they had Jesus’
foreskin but it was stolen in the 1980’s.
In Washington D.C., there are even men
with an odd contraption they claim helps
them restore their
foreskins. Early on the film, a
young man shows off his song
and illustrated book about his angst
over being circumcised.
is wrong with me?” This is the question
Elon wonders aloud, trying to figure out
why she questions the tradition of
circumcision, where the majority of
Americans do it without thinking so much
about it. It doesn’t help when Dr. Howard
Shaw shows how a medical circumcision is
done in the hospital. Using a dummy, he
show how the baby is strapped in and a
metal device is sued to expose the
foreskin on the metal, making it easier to
cut and allowing less blood. This seems
much worse than the ritual circumcision,
which takes less time. Shaw is a funny
character, but the scene where he shows
how a baby is strapped down will make men
want to turn away and might actually make
a mother think twice about having a
circumcision in the hospital. It surely
doesn’t make Elon feel any better. [They might think
more than twice if they could see a
real circumcision close up - surgical
interesting tidbits are that England’s
health care system stopped covering
circumcision, whereas it became prevalent
in the United States after World War II
because it was though to be more hygienic.
The film gets a bit sophomoric, when Elon
asks young New York City women if they
prefer their men to be circumcised or
uncircumcised. She’s told that based on
the HBO show “Sex
and the City,” it’s better for the
men they date to be circumcised. ...
goes to places you wouldn’t expect to go
and manages not to trivialize the ordeal.
Her husband Philip is a likeable character
and it’s clear that circumcision
important to him, even though he isn’t
religious himself. And Elon’s
father, noted Israeli writer Amos Elon,
tells her to ignore a psychoanalyst’s
claim that symbolic castration and is
motivated by a husband’s jealousy of the
newborn. [Pay no
attention to the man behind the
film is in English with subtitled dialogue
in Hebrew and Arabic 1 hr. 24 minutes
This all serves to underline Leonard Glick's point
that "whenever circumcision is discussed ... the
defining motif is uneasiness."
Prince for a Day
US (TV), 2000
In 1998, after speaking at a congress for
Indonesian midwives, Royal Philips went on a cruise in
the Banda sea. At the island of Sumbawa, she witnessed
the circumcision of 41 terrified boys, in circumstances
very similar to the Schneebaum documentary above. Her
documentary makes one small but very telling connection
with routine infant circumcision.
for the squeamish.
The Quest for the Missing Piece
gay look at the practice of circumcision" Dir: Oded
Lotan. 52 mins Described by Brandon
Jodell as "endearing".
Quest for the Missing Piece could also be titled
“the unkindest cut of all.” It’s a funny,
disconcerting romp through the debate over
circumcision. Using a gentle touch in a sensitive
area, filmmaker Oded Lotan takes us on a bris
tour: a Jewish baby, a Moslem seven-year-old, and
an adult Russian-Israeli soldier. Circumcision may
be a Biblical mitzvah, but many commandments are
routinely ignored by most Jews. Why not this one?
Lotan introduces us to his gay, goy lover (oy); to
his mother, who endorses circumcision, but not gay
love (oy yoy); and to a Tel Aviv anti-circumcision
group dedicated to having “intact” Jewish children
(oy yoy yoy!). Does secular circumcision survive
because Jews are afraid their children will no
longer “look like” them or because this sign
carved in flesh is really what binds the tribe?
Documentary about Men's Rights Activists (MRAs) made
by Cassie Jaye, a feminist who was convinced by their
Narrator: And while not all MRAs agree on
the issue of male circumcision, most MRAs do believe
it's a human rights violation. (An activist in
the street with a sign saying "My Body. My Rights.
End forced circumcision")
I spent months learning about male infant
circumcision but it took me watching a 5 minute
medical training video to convince me this is a
barbaric practice that needs to stop
(Two women in tears watching a monitor. Cut to
what they are watching: a medical video
showing circumcision in progress)
Surgeon: (voiceover): Okay, so first
thing , make sure he is well restrained.. so the
foreskin okay? ... And we repeat the process with
just one end on and clamp. Anything that gets
clamped gets cut.
(Cut to a report showing an African-American
woman and her baby. Title "Botched circumcision")
Reporter (voiceover): All that
was left, a partial penis and his tiny testicles.
Rhodes [the mother] said that Ashton urinates
through hole in his penis. She says she can't
imagine now what she'll say to her son when he's old
enough to understand what's happened to him.
Rhodes (to camera):How could
you explain it to your child that you don't have a
penis or you might never be able to have kids?
The film then moves on.
very inadequate coverage of the issues. No mention
of (cut) men's role in promoting cuttting.
Bill Maher: And then there is circumcision,
I mean we're used to it now, but don't you think when
they thought this up there wasn't some guy saying,
"Now let me get this straight; you want to do what?"
if circumcision were not prevalent, we would all
regard it as too outlandish to contemplate for
ourselves or anyone we know. In the beginning, as
now, it was probably always done by the powerful to
the powerless. Only recently, threatened by HIV
(and ostracism), have any significant numbers of
healthy adult men volunteered to be circumcised.
They Cut Babies, Don't
US (TV), 1999 (30 mins)
Subtitled "one man's struggle against
circumcision". Angered by his own circumcision, James
Loewen documents anti-circumcision protests, creates a
series of satirical photographs about doctors who
circumcise, lobbied politicians, and chalks slogans on
busy sidewalks. He is also restoring his foreskin.
Available from NOHARMM:
The Truth About Gay Sex
UK (TV), 2002
This UK documentary, aimed at a
heterosexual audience, mainly takes intactness for
granted, but the only direct reference to the foreskin
is to say it can be retracted for oral sex, and
a discussion of anal sex uses a (US-made?) diagram
of "The Male Reproductive System" on which the penis
a discussion of how gross penises may appear shows
only intact penises
it covers such byways as rimming (oral-anal sex)
and fisting, but not the only thing that gay men can
do that a heterosexual couple can not, docking.
Whose Body, Whose Rights
US (TV), 1995
Uses footage of a circumcision and
interviews with restoring men and others hurt by
circumcision to build a powerful case.
Available from NOHARMM:
Greece, 425 BCE
by Aristophanes, contrasting the pleasures of peace
with the sorrows of war.
A group of run-down, poorly equipped Thracian
mercenaries called Odomantians are being offered to
the Athenians to aid the defense against Sparta.
Dikaiopolis (an old farmer, the main
character): Odomantian balls! And while we're in the
area (examines their genitals) What on earth
has happened here? Tell me, who cut the leaf off
Theorus: They are excellent light infantry,
and for two drachmas a day [a generous sum]
they will overrun the whole of Boeotia for you.
Dikaiopolis: Two drachmas for that lot, with
not a whole prick between them!
- translated by Alan H. Sommerstein,
Penguin Classics, 1973
"Who docked the Odomantian cock?
... They don't even come with foreskins!"
- William Arrowsmith, ed., "Aristophanes:
Translated by Douglass Parker
University of Michigan Press, 1969
seems to be a clear expression of the belief that
circumcision damages masculinity.
Off-Broadway: ‘Boy’ explores love, gender Review by Bill Canacci,
March 11, 2016
His parents turned to a pioneering
Money], who convinced them that the
boy should have sexual reassignment surgery.
They agreed, and the boy was raised a girl [Brenda].
This real-life story is the inspiration for
Anna Ziegler’s “Boy,” a play now having its
world premiere at Theatre Row. ... a moving
and thought-provoking look at gender
identity and love.
The show begins in 1989, at a Halloween
party. Adam [David,
formerly Bruce/Brenda] (Bobby
Steggert), who’s around 20, is hitting on
Jenny (Rebecca Rittenhouse), a girl he used
to know from elementary school. She doesn’t
Soon after, the play flashes back to 1968.
Trudy (Heidi Armbruster) and Doug Turner
(Ted Koch) have twin boys, Steven and Sam.
But after a circumcision accident involving
Sam, they turn to Dr. Wendell Barnes (Paul
Niebank), who strongly suggests they raise
the child as a girl. The parents agree, and
throughout the play we see the results of
their decision to turn Sam into Samantha.
(As the show continues, we learn that
Samantha decides to reject both names and
is effective as the doctor. We believe that
he believes he is doing the right thing. He
tells the parents he has their interests,
and the interest of the child, in mind. As
he regularly meets with Samantha, they form
a bond, and that’s when Barnes loses focus.
He becomes obsessed with the girl. He loves
spending time with her. At one point, he
admits he wishes she could live with him.
This gender reassignment “test case” that
put his career on the map becomes less
important than having her in his life.
[In real life, as soon as David learned
what had been done to him, he broke off
all contact with Money, who nonetheless
continued to promote the case as "proof"
that gender was all from nurture and not
at all from nature.]
thing missing on stage is Steven, the twin.
What must this have been like for him? [In real life, Brian
Reimer died of a drug overdose.]...
In real life too, Brian's operation was
called off after Bruce's disaster, and he
recovered from whatever ailed or did not ail him
without further treatment, showing that the
operations that set off the whole catastrophe were
Greece, 423 BCE
by Aristophanes, mocking Socrates as being in
Chorus: My Comedy's a modest girl: she
doesn't play the fool
By bringing on a great thick floppy
red-tipped leather tool
To give the kids a laugh....
- translated by Alan H. Sommerstein,
Penguin Classics, 1973
Greeks considered the glans
to be obscene. A red-tipped phallus would have
belonged to a circumcised Egyptian or Phoenecian
(leather intact phalluses were part of the costume
in all comedies, including The Clouds).
The first time Christopher Campbell converted to
Judaism, he changed his name to Yisrael and got
circumcised. He became a Reform Jew.
The second time he converted to Judaism, he became a
Conservative Jew. He got circumcised again.
The next and final time he converted to Judaism, he
became an Orthodox Jew. And yes, he got circumcised
At that point, says Yisrael, “Circumcision is not a
religious covenant. It’s a fetish.” ...
New Zealand, 2014
Fringe comedy by Dean Hewison, covering four decades
in the life of Tom and Tom's Penis, played by a woman
in a penis costume with a hard and detailed glans and
ridged [by keloid scarring?] sulcus stitched to a
cloth shaft painted with veins, with a fur hem and
balls hanging below.
The only set is chairs, a table, and a side table
with beer and coffee.
The 70 minute show is in five dialogues interspersed
with monologues by Tom's Penis (TP). The dialogues
take place when Tom is aged
15 (embarassing erections / masturbation/chafing)
25 (courtship / trying to get laid / Premature
- Monologue: getting caught in a zip, "the third-worst
pain I ever experienced"
35 (infidelity / Sexually Transmitted Infection -
"the second-worst pain I ever experienced")
- Monologue, TP tells of "the worst pain I ever
experienced, just a few hours after I was born. I saw
the doctor approach me with a metal thing, and he was
smiling. Then he cut my tip off! You liked it, you
sick fuck! If I ever get my hands on you... "
45 (testicular cancer) The doctor who tells Tom he
may have testicular cancer, and must have his testicle
removed just in case, is male, and TP thinks TP
recognises his voice as the doctor who cut TP at
birth. Tom has to restrain TP from attacking the
55 (Erectile Dysfunction/Viagra)
TP's one mention of the "tip" is the only reference
to Tom's foreskin, yet the chafing, the PE, the
failure to protect him from STI, and the ED are
all related to his being cut.
or Bagels and Butchery
of ten playlets in the sequence, "Pew-ish: Artists
Responding to the New Jewish Identity," given a
staged reading on June 26th 2014 at the Judson
Memorial Church, New York.
Israel and Circumcision Top List of
Concerns in New 'Pewish' Plays
by Gordon Haber
The Pew Survey of American
Jewry came as a shock to the chattering
anybody with eyes could see that interest
in the religion has dwindled ...
But the decline was much steeper than
anybody expected. ...
David Shmidt Chapman, an energetic young
theater director, ...
was inspired to commission short plays
from ten Jewish playwrights who usually
don’t write about religious issues. ...
A second standout was “The
Covenant,” or “Bagels and Butchery,” by
Ken Weitzman. In this playlet, new parents
debate whether they should go through with
their son’s bris when the mohel who shows
up is crosseyed. It’s an amusing beginning
to a serious subject, especially when the
wife isn’t Jewish: the word “mutilation”
comes up a lot.
Jake Goodman is charming as
David, an ambivalent secular Jew tortured
by his indecision about the excision, and
Megan Ketch is appealing as the
sharp-tongued but loving wife and mother.
And, as a Jewish father, I can attest to
how well the play captures the horror of
parents facing the insanity of
A Play Against Circumcision, first performed
in Purchase, NY December 4, 5, 6, 2008.
Drama Studies senior James Dier directs his senior
project, his original play entitled Cut/Uncut: A
Play Against Circumcision. In Cut/Uncut,
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, inventor of corn flakes,
gives a speech about sexuality from his 19th century
ideals as a story unfolds behind him of a young
couple about to have their first child, a boy.
first act is set in a rugby changing room. In a
practice heard but not seen, an ambitious but
unsuccessful cop known as Clean covertly kicks his
captain, Ken, in the head (in order to take over the
position), and the issues around this - fair play vs
winning - are discussed (largely in the nude, since
they're headed for the showers), mainly by Tupper the
win-at-all-costs coach, and Foreskin (real name
Seymour), a non-conformist universty student.
rugby match between the two acts, Clean kicks Ken
again, and during the second act (set at the
after-match party) Ken dies in hospital. Foreskin's
lament, for Ken but also for rugby, which he is
giving up, and for human values, closes the play.
There is only a passing reference to circumcision,
and that ambivalent:
Moira (Foreskin's girlfriend): Why
the funny names ... Foreskin? I never noticed it. Foreskin: Are they that unusual ... Honey? Moira: All right. Foreskin: Progress has a lot of chops to answer
for - trees, animals, sensibilities of all kinds,
what's a piece of skin? Moira: Can cover a lot of sensibilities. Foreskin: Ha ha. Moira: Well? Foreskin: Pretersensual pain - the chop I
missed and have always been bound for.
playwright Greg McGee says he based the name on
someone nicknamed "Foreskin" because his real name was
Since 1981 the play has been revived several times,
and the title is so familiar that at least six
newspaper articles about circumcision have used it as
a title, and variants have been used on unrelated
topics, such as "Forwards' Lament" about Rugby and
"Foreshores Lament" about seashore ownership. From
this it may be concluded that the concept "foreskin"
has no negative connotations in New Zealand.
radically revised version was first broadcast on New
Zealand TV on October 19, 2003. Renamed "Skin and
Bone", the lament is replaced by an upbeat hymn of
praise to rugby, Seymour's nickname is reduced to
"Skin" and he explains it to Moira as being because
he used to be skinny, "all skin and bone". This
could be because the
decline in circumcision in New Zealand means a
foreskin is no longer the distinguishing feature
among men of rugby-playing age that it was in 1981.
by Alan Bennett about a rehearsal/workshop of a play
about a (fictitious) reunion at Oxford in 1973 between
W. H. Auden and
Benjamin Britten. Before Britten arrives, Auden has an
appointment with a rent boy, Stuart.
Auden: Tell me about your other customers. Are
many of them uncircumcised? ... I
was circumcised at the age of seven, not a good
Stuart: Well, I meet more uncircumcised at the
bus station than [in the Oxford colleges]
accurately describes the class difference in
circumcision in England in 1973. Circumcision itself
is not an issue (except for Auden - Stuart is more
interested in Auden's facial wrinkles). The dialogue
illustrates Auden's lack of inhibition about sexual
matters (compared to Britten's), and is a
springboard for the outer-play cast to discuss how
much the inner play should expose Auden's
Incident at Vichy
by Arthur Miller set in the German-occupied French
town of Vichy in October 1942. The Germans have
rounded up ten men they suspect are Jews, and plan to
deport them to concentration camps.
Some of the ten are in denial, others are shocked and
bewildered, but gradually the truth is revealed to
them as their identity papers are scrutinized and they
are checked for circumcision, the central event of the
Jews are circumcised" was almost true in France in
It's a Boy!
by Betty Katz Sperlich R.N. (of Nurses for the
Rights of the Child) and Ron "Dadou" Romanovsky
(formerly of Romanofsky and Philips).
It uses puppets, musicians, dancers, a trapeze artist
and a knife-juggler.
Songs are: Circus Theme, The Natural Way, Praying for
a Girl, Birth Theme, Perfectly You, Cleaner Wiener,
Locker Room Blues, Take It Like a Man, Can't Get Over
It, Cycles of Greed, Fear and Ignorance, If Only, How
Could a Knife, Just a Nurse, What If and Knife Juggler
A concert version has been performed at the Santa Fe
Playhouse and at the Ninth International Symposium on
Genital Integrity in Seattle. The CD is available from
Fresh Fruit Records, 369 Montezuma Ave, #209, Santa
Fe, 87501 USA.
Knife to the Heart US, 2016
by Stan Zimmerman & Christian McLaughlin,
private reading in Los Angeles, October 16, 2016
"When Marshall and Julie Ann Katz discover that they
have twin boys on the way, no one is kvelling more
than Marshall's mother Rhonda - queen of Texas organic
foods, and the 21st century Jewish mother we've been
waiting for. But faster than you can say "to cut or
not to cut?", the whole family is pulled into an
uproarious tug-of-war, with a little help from
YouTube, a meddling [Intactivist?]
gay schoolteacher, and more than a few centuries of
tradition. By the time it's over, there's no telling
who (or what) will be left intact."
The words "circumcision" and "comedy" do not belong
in the same sentence.
A Long Undressing
and choreographer Michael Parmenter's autobiographical
"My tonsils and foreskin ran off together when I was
- coinciding with the arrival of a new stepfather.
of tonsils and foreskin together was so common in
the mid-20th century that Tonsillectomy and
Circumcision was abbreviated to "T & C".
Love's Labours Lost
Moth farewells Costard with "Adieu!" Apparently
mishearing him - or pretending to - Costard replies
"My sweet ounce of man's flesh! my incony [pretty,
delicate] Jew!" (iii 1 142)
In modern, literal English, perhaps: "Me with this cute
foreskin? Some Jew!" On stage, he would probably use
some business to indicate his meaning.
play by Terrence McNally about diva Maria Callas
In a cutaway scene the actress plays both Callas and
Aristotle Onassis and, as Onassis, says that in return
for her glamour and fame he gives her his “thick
uncircumcised Greek dick”.
is no reason Onassis should mention being (Greek or)
intact - a detail only salient to the (American)
playwright. Callas' first husband was Italian, and
there is no reason to suppose she knew any other
Mates and Lovers
of gay men in New Zealand by Ronald Triferio Nelson,
based on the book by Chris Brickell, with a cast of
During World War Two:
Rangi: How, pray tell, am I expecting, you
ask? To be truthful, Ma'am, your Johnnie takes his
little ole Yankee Doodle and sticks it up my...
Johnnie (an American on Rest &
Recreation in New Zealand): “Little ole”? But
all Americans are hung like horses. Everybody knows
that. (to the audience) He should talk, half
of what Rangi had was fucking foreskin! In fact, he
had enough foreskin to upholster the backseat of a
’39 Chevy coup'. [At that
time the circumcision rate of both Americans and
New Zealanders would have been about 50%]
In the present, Trevor, a Māori, and Simon, a Pākehā
(non-Māori), are admiring a carved wooden box:
Trevor: It’s a waka huia, box for taonga,
a box for treasures.
Simon (campish): Perfect for the
bedside table don’t you reckon? You know, for amyl,
condoms and lube, well, maybe a few somewhat smaller
Trevor: This is amazing
Simon: Look at that, they’re [carved figures
on the box] sixty-nining. (Pause) Pretty hung
When Jessica prepares to run away from her father
Shylock to marry the Christian Lorenzo, she promises
to bring some of her father's money with her, and
Lorenzo's friend Gratiano jokes that Jessica is
"...by my hood, a gent[i]le and no Jew." (II iv 52)
His "hood" in this context is his foreskin,
Shakespeare borrowing an existing oath (used
previously by Chaucer in "Troilus and Criseyde")
perhaps in reference to a monk's cowl.
is never directly mentioned in the Merchant.
in his most famous and eloquent speech, when Shylock
I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a
Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses,
affections, passions? fed with the same food,
hurt with the same weapons, subject to the
same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and
summer, as a Christian is?
If you prick us, do we not bleed? if
you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall
we not revenge? If we are like you in the
rest, we will resemble you in that.
III i 53-60
is using bleeding to emphasise the underlying common
humanity of Jews and Christians, although it is
through bleeding that their greatest difference is
proposes that if Antonio fails to pay his debt,
Shylock will take a pound of his flesh "in what part
of your body pleaseth me." (I iii 150). But "flesh"
was a euphemism for penis, so an Elizabethan
audience would understand that Shylock intended to
circumcise and/or castrate Antonio. Only in the
trial scene does Portia remind Shylock that the
flesh is "to be by him cut off / Nearest the
merchant's heart" (IV i 232-3) and Shylock admits
'"Nearest his heart," those are the very words.' (IV
i 255) - though he (or rather Shakespeare) may have
intended the words to mean that Antonio's foreskin
was the dearest thing to him.
and the Jews, James Shapiro points out that
"Shylock will cut his Christian adversary in that
part of the body where the Christians believe
themselves to be truly circumcised." (quoted in Glick, p 104) Thus,
Shapiro points out, forcing Shylock to convert to
Christianity is a particularly accurate turning of
the tables: Shylock's baptism "will metaphorically
uncircumcise him," and "the circumcising Jew is
metamophosed through conversion into a gentle
in Hebrew about the life of Moses, composed and
designed by Yoav Gal
Mosheh Offers a Testament to. . .
Bible sci-fi awaits you at Here
Moses's early life unfolds in slow-moving,
abstract tableaux set to shimmering
songscapes: the patriarch's babyhood boating
among the reeds; his sojourn at the Egyptian
court; an emergency circumcision by his wife
as a prophylactic measure against demons (a
scene left out of The Ten Commandments) [referencing Exodus
4:24-6, which does not mention Moses
being circumcised or demons]
Mosheh is a very uneven experience.
review by Jacob Gallagher-Ross
in the Village Voice,
February 2, 2011
My Name is ...
by Vela Mausaute in Niuean and English about being a
New Zealand-born Niuean (Most Niueans live in New
Zealand). Boys on Niue are circumcised about the age
Vela Mausaute is on record as questioning cultural
genital cutting. Pilitome means "intact" in Niuean,
although it is derived from (missionary) Greek, peritome
= cut around.
Naked Boys Singing
Musical revue about male anxieties,
largely presented in the nude by nine men.
Includes a number, "The Bliss of a Bris", sung by a Jewish man
"remembering" how he was feted and admired up to the
moment of his circumcision, which is presented as
comic, without blood or significant pain - or any
change to his penis, visible throughout. The
emphasis is on the change in treatment of his
The Bliss of a Bris
"They said it was Divine!
And toasted it with wine
And behaved as if it had a Pedigree...
Oh, the bliss Of a Bris
When they all congregate to
Admire your penis
And the glare
Of their idolization
Is brighter as Venus.
As they thrill at the sight
Of its dazzling perfection
As they grasp
How sublime it will be
When it has an erection
They rave at the length
And the marvelous angle
at the girth
And they plotz
at the dangle
It doesn't get better than this
The bliss of a bris
All: Mazel Tov!
You suppose that these roses
Are going to be thrown every day
Ah, but then...
They snip off the tip
Once you've shown it
And that's when they say
"Don't expose it again!"
Music & Lyrics by Marie
Another song, about varieties of penises, includes
a chant "Cut! Uncut!"
but the fact goes unremarked that most of the men in the
show are circumcised, or all, depending on the
production - or seem to be:
As Othello kills himself he reminds his
hearers that depite his despicable killing of Desdemona,
he did the state some service:
I took by the throat the circumcised dog, and smote
him - thus. (v ii 354)
Othello, being a Moor, would have been, like his Turkish
foe, circumcised. It is not clear that Shakespeare knew
of these ambiguities, there is no doubt that
Shakespeare valued the foreskin and deplored
show by Lucy Johnson, who blogged and kept notes about
her experiences as a worker in a mid-range brothel
in New Zealand, where prostitution is legal.
I have seen a whole lot of dicks and I’ve developed
some pretty strong opinions on circumcision. Before
hooking I thought circumcision was a simple
disregard of human rights, and a weird old practice
of chopping up a perfectly heathy person for non
medical reasons without informed consent.
But I had never thought of the effects on full
grown men. Out of 178 different men I have has sex
with 65 were circumcised and 113 were not. I’ve seen
3 badly botched circumcisions
and several circumcision related
problems like skin tags and hair growing up the
When a baby is circumcised a tiny piece of skin is
removed, but that tiny piece of skin grows into a
really large piece of skin full of delightful nerve
endings that protects the head of the penis and
keeps it nice and sensitive. You can see the
difference the dull callused one on the right is
circumcised, and belongs to a 40 year old man. the
smooth, glistening, shiny one on the left is intact
and belongs to a 71 year old man.
Here’s another image where you can see how without
the protection of the foreskin the penis becomes all
weathered and hardened.
Every  request
[but one] I had to have sex without a condom came
from a circumcised man. [Only]
once did a man with a foreskin ask. The fact that
they had lost sensitivity to an extent that they
were prepared to risk their lives by fucking a whore
without a condom speaks volumes. Also, circumcised
asked more for extras like anal sex, nipple biting
and rimming far more often than
by Benjamin Britten, libretto by Ronald Duncan.
At issue is whether Lucretia's resistance to
Tarquinius' overtures is total. In the original
Male Chorus: He takes her hand
And places it upon his unsheathed sword
Female Chorus: Thus wounding her with an
A wound only his sword can heal
- but the Lord Chamberlain called this "little better
than the obscenities in "Lady Chatterley's Lover" and
ordered the lines removed.
the non-cutting culture of ancient Rome (and the
mainly non-cutting culture of early 20th century
England), "unsheathed" implied Tarquinius' penis was
Sex and Circumcision:
An American Love Story USA, 2018
man show by Eric Clopper. One performance, Sanders
Theatre, Harvard, May 1, 2018 "Clopper’s stage presence was phenomenal. ... a
riveting presentation about the history of
circumcision. I was blown away. ... It made me realize
how insane that this choice even exists. The magnitude
of this crime cannot be overstated. ... Overall, I was
floored by Clopper’s 2.5-hour tour de force. His
command of the English language is impressive, his
grasp on the issue unmatched, and his showmanship
Comedy by David Reddyk and Ethan Krupp with music by
"Eight days after birth, male Jewish babies have a
bris, a ceremonial removal of the foreskin. For Elena
(Jewish) and James' (gentile) new child, eight days
after birth is Thanksgiving.
"In the midst of planning a dinner and religious
covenant, Elena and James have hit a massive lull in
their marriage, and could not be less excited to host
"Included in the guest list: Elena's mother Penny, a
woman who believes deeply in tradition, and wants to
drink pop during the bris; James' father Carl, who is
content in his ignorance to the whole Jewish thing;
James' sister Janet, who lives with her father and
smiles brighter than the sun; Elena and James'
horrible first son Davis, who is weeks away from his
Bar Mitzvah; Rabbi Wolf, the mohel, who has a strange
story that lead him to professionally circumcising.
"Between the green bean casserole, Jewish prayers,
and machetes, The Thanksgiving Circumcision asks: What
the f*** is up with tradition?"
remains unclear what stand if any the play takes on
itinerant seller of books and amulets, returns home
after a long sales trip to find his adored wife, Susan,
stripped to her petticoat and in the arms of the
shirtless Zyosha, a Cossack [and therefore intact]
Though Susan insists she’s done nothing wrong,
Tsurik chastises her
She moves back in with her parents.
In Act Two Tsurik immediately regrets forcing her
departure based on circumstantial evidence alone, but
he reminds himself that if Susan slept with Zyosha, he
will never be able to win her back, quoting Bereshit
Rabba (the midrash on Genesis) to the effect that it
is hard for a woman who has slept with an
uncircumcised man to separate from him. “Perhaps,” he
says, “I might have been able to satisfy her if only
my parents of blessed memory hadn’t subjected me to a
ritual circumcision at the age of eight days!” Alas,
his condition is irreversible, and he has no choice
but to rummage among his papers, find his marriage
contract and begin divorce proceedings.
“Not so fast,” an unearthly offstage voice declares.
Tsurik is frightened and wonders whether he is hearing
the voice of God, an angel or his next-door neighbor,
Lazer. “You’re wondering what it would be like to be
uncircumcised,” the voice says. “See for yourself
whether it makes any difference.” As thunder rattles
and sparks fly, Tsurik is transformed. Peeking into
his pants, Tsurik says, “What a schmuck!” [=penis, in
Susan admits that she still loves Tsurik but that
after he was on the road for ten years she had herself
declared a widow by a rabbinical court. “I couldn’t
wait any longer,” she says. “But why Zyosha?” he asks.
“Because,” she explains, “Zyosha claimed me. He is
your long-lost brother Zlote!”
marriage requires the brother of the
deceased to marry his brother’s widow (if and only if
there was no issue from the original marriage). The
upshot is that Tsurik and Susan will once again take
their vows beneath a wedding canopy.
But before the wedding takes place, Tsurik once again
is left alone on the stage. He beseeches God to
restore his member before his wedding night.
Miraculously, God responds. “When you say ‘restore,’”
he says, “do you mean to the original way or how it’s
been since you were circumcised?”
to return Tsurik to his circumcised state. “But you
realize,” God tells him, “that now you’ll never know
what it’s like to…”
“I don’t want to know,” Tsurik says.
“Then,” God says, “you probably also don’t want to
know that you never had a brother, either.”
After a brief blackout the wedding music begins.
one point of all this is to reconcile Jewish men to
being circumcised, and not to wonder what they're