The Center of the World

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the German novel, see The Center of the World (novel).
The Center of the World
The Center of the World poster.jpg
Directed by Wayne Wang
Produced by Wayne Wang
Peter Newman
Written by Wayne Wang
Miranda July
Starring Peter Sarsgaard
Molly Parker
Cinematography Mauro Fiore
Edited by Lee Percy
Release dates
  • April 19, 2001 (2001-04-19)
Running time
88 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Center of the World is an American film directed by Wayne Wang, which was digitally shot and released in 2001. It stars Peter Sarsgaard as a Dot-com millionaire who hires a drummer/stripper (Molly Parker) to stay with him in Las Vegas for three days for US$10,000. The film was screened out of competition at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.[1]


A couple checks into a suite in Las Vegas. In flashbacks we see that he's a computer whiz on the verge of becoming a millionaire (Peter Sarsgaard), she's a lap dancer at a club (Molly Parker). He's depressed, withdrawing from work, missing meetings with investors. He wants a connection, so he offers her $10,000 to spend three nights with him in Vegas, and she accepts with conditions: four hours per night of erotic play, and no penetration. During the days in Vegas, they get to know each other, have fun, meet a friend of hers, casino dealer Jerri (Carla Gugino); at night, at least after the first night, things seem to get complicated. When the three days are over, the stripper makes it clear that she was only there for the money and that the man she spent the time with was just a client. Upset that the feelings he had weren't mutual he then rapes her, which she makes no attempt to stop. She then masturbates for him to achieve orgasm. The next day he returns home heartbroken. The movie ends with his return to the strip club to see the woman he fell in love with again. She greets him fondly and says that she is glad to see him again. Because the movie is shown in a non-linear format, it is left to the viewer's interpretation of when this event occurred.


Cast notes
  • Internet executive Jason Calacanis consulted on, and appeared in, the film.


The film opened to mixed reviews, and has been compared to movies with similar "hooker in love" storylines such as Exotica and Pretty Woman. The Center of the World is more explicit than those films, containing both female and male full frontal nudity, as well as a penetration shot of a lollipop in a vagina.

The film's title may be an allusion to Courbet's L'Origine du monde.[2]

Censorship Controversy[edit]

A Cincinnati theater owner attracted media attention after allegedly ordering a member of his staff to edit a five-second scene from the film a day before its release. According to Cincinnati CityBeat, Esquire Theater owner Gary Goldman had instructed his theater manager and projectionist to cut the scene, in which a female stripper inserts a lollipop into her vagina.[3][4][5]


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Center of the World". Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Censorship row hits Wayne Wang's latest". Retrieved 2016-01-01. 
  4. ^ "Esquire Theater's fans feel betrayed". Retrieved 2016-03-20. 
  5. ^ "Esquire Cuts Sex Scene from Center of the World". Retrieved 2016-01-01. 

External links[edit]