Rob de Riche Bares All!

I’m sorry about last time.

That’s OK.

I didn’t mean to give it away.

That’s alright. I’m over it. What did you want to ask?

I hate spoilers. [uncomfortable pause] But I feel I spoiled something.

You didn’t.

OK. Thank you. What’s with all the nudity in One’s A Crowd?

Is there a lot?

Yes. By most standards.

Well, the standards are bad. Nudity might be the core of what inspired the film.

Last time, you said it was the location.

Exactly! When it’s sunny and warm and there’s no one around, clothing becomes a liability. Why sweat it up? You’re better off naked. I never felt freer than when I went hiking naked in the bamboo forest, barefoot, no jewelry or tattoos, but a pure, unblemished sack of skin, what Gregory Corso called “a hairy bag of water”–our bodies. I was doing some actual productive work, unspooling a 500-foot coil of polypipe to deliver water to the chicken coop, and I was naked and laughing at the sheer absurdity of being alive and the pointlessness of all human endeavor. But that doesn’t make it any less fun, and being naked strips away the pretense. And I happened to film a time lapse of the process (Available as DVD extra. -ed.), which I sort of gladly bungled, and that was probably the impetus for the film. Given its origin, it’s surprising nudity isn’t more of a thing. It was in the first cut, but I toned it way down.

It’s still a lot.

Is it? By what standard? If it were female nudity, it would barely get an R rating. But there’s this weird prohibition against showing a penis, as if the patriarchy were protecting the source of its power, but, you know, the emperor has no clothes. There’s nothing there but this puritanical mindset perpetuated by force of habit. So I wanted to break with that. Allen Ginsberg and Friedensreich Hundertwasser both made a splash last mid-century by taking off their clothes to make a point about openness and honesty. The fact that casual male nudity in movies is still anomalous three generations later is a sign of how repressed this culture is.

But what if no one wants to see your cock?

Then they can look away, or focus on something else. It really doesn’t take up much real estate on the screen, so, you know, my eyes are up here.

I’ve heard of Allen Ginsberg, but who’s Hoonder….?

Hundertwasser. It’s German for 100 Waters. Like mine, it is an assumed name. He was an Austrian artist and designer who ended up sailing to New Zealand. As an architect, he tried to overcome the tyranny of the straight line. His basic theory was we exist wrapped in five skins–the first is our body, the second is our clothes, the third is our shelter, and so on. By peeling off the second skin, our clothes, we makes ourselves vulnerable. Imagine if wars were fought hand to hand by naked soldiers–it would probably turn into an orgy. But these cultural accretions keep us locked in certain behavioral channels. So, Happy, whose nudity annoys everyone, truly is free, because he alone has moved past outdated constraints.

But he’s so annoying!

Happy people often are.