A kiss is a kiss. A viewer can become blase about an inevitable touching of lips. This is when a Director can accentuate the intimacy and the spiritual elevation of an embrace to reinvigorate the image with a tinge of the visceral.
In the 1957 film An Affair To Remember Leo McCarey has his romantic partners kiss off-screen (below), the posing of their lower bodies speaking of submission to the ecstasy of the moment. The sacred intimacy of this first kiss is preserved by being away from prying eyes and the sensuality thus only heightened. Our imaginations run riot, an audience's anticipation left fulfilled and in limbo. In this one scene, therefore, the Director encapsulates the whole film - they have each other off-stage but will they hold on to each other on-stage?
Submission is one way in Ivan's Childhood. A man makes to help a girl across a trench only to capture her in a clinch while she is helpless. He has complete power as she dangles over the hole. Both romantic (swept off her feet) and predatory. The old symbol of love as a battle, love to be won, to be taken before it is given.
A kiss is used as part of a religious rapture and deliverance in another film by Andrei Tarkovsky: Offret or The Sacrifice. This encounter will help avert a Third World War. The couple levitate and spin above a bed.
Another example of a kiss giving life and freedom is in David Lynch's Inland Empire. 'Polish Girl' is released from her torment through the travails of Nikki/Susan.
One of the most well-known (and most parodied) kisses of recent times happens in Spider-Man. Spider-Man dangles upside down for Mary Jane. Its novelty and the heroic but vulnerable pose of Spider-Man lends an extra spice. It's unexpected and all the sweeter for it.
There is another novel kiss in Aeon Flux short Gravity. Here the man and the woman lean out of train windows as they rush past.
Now here are four examples of kisses with no physical contact. In Bright Star Fanny kisses John's letter, a surrogate for the man himself. In Pulp Fiction Vincent blows an innocent kiss like a blessing. In Twin Peaks : Fire Walk With Me Bobby kisses the display cabinet that shuts Laura's portrait away. Finally, in Let the Right One In, Oskar and Eli (lying in a box to avoid the sunlight) beat the word 'Kiss' in Morse Code.
And finally, a 'conventional' and perhaps kitsch kiss made triumphant and celebratory by expectation, by music and by the use of fast and slow motion.