Monday, November 16, 2009

the not-so universal language of sex

I ended my last post with the rhetorical question, "the language of sex is universal, is it not?" Elsewhere I've argued that porn by new female porn makers differs greatly depending on what side of the Atlantic ocean they're from. While they may share a dedicated desire to create something different from mainstream porn, films made by American women (and men), typically located in progressive pockets on the East or West coast, are often characterized by a pedagogical/political commitment to show the public that sex is not bad, erotica is not bad, even porn need not be bad. Sex between lesbians, homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, etc., is not bad. BDSM is not bad. Having sexual hang-ups is natural and can be overcome. Anal penetration can be fun, both for women and for men, including men in heterosexual relationships.

The European filmmakers are not so concerned with these agendas. Characters in these films engage in a variety of sexual practices, and they are not as burdened by sexual insecurities as their American peers. Attitudes to sex, erotica, and porn are more relaxed in Europe, and so the "need" to legitimize various sexual practices is less urgent.

European filmmakers also tend to show greater artistic talent and film technical skills. They demonstrate a finer attention to framing, cutting, and sound; they know how to juxtapose the right two images next to each other for the greatest aesthetic effect. Likely because the business has less of a social stigma, it appeals to the talent of people who in the US would shy away from it. Probably the greater financial support of the arts in Europe has something to do with it.

On the other hand, porn by women in the US does tend to have an edginess that's culturally and politically refreshing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

french chic

I've just finished viewing ten short X-plicit films produced by Sophie Bramly's SoFilles Productions. They are very French, classy, beautiful, and very exquisite. Victoria Abril, one of Pedro Almodovar's favored actresses, stars in one of them.

Six of the ten short films came out as a collection on DVD in 2008 (X femmes), the other four in 2009 (X femmes 2). You can purchase them here, either individually or as a collection. Sophie Bramly is the producer of these films: in 2007 she launched the erotic female friendly site, founding SoFilles Productions shortly after.

Most articles I've found online about Sophie Bramly and her SecondSexe and SoFilles Productions are in French. She and/or her site and/or her films are mentioned in this NYTimes article about sex in France; in this Guardian article about a recent "intellectual" porn film festival; and in this blog. In this interview made in conjunctions with the Circuito Off short film festival in Venice September 09, Bramly speaks about her background and current work.

The films are in French, but DVDs with English subtitles have been made and will apparently be released in Great Britain, among other. In any case, I think these films, subtitled or not, will speak to those who don't know French too, the language of sex is universal. Is it not?
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