Thursday, July 5, 2012

one night stand: hot and sexy french queer porn

(This review was originally published at Good Vibrations Online Magazine.)

One Night Stand (2006) was the film that originally brought Paris-based French photographer and filmmaker Emilie Jouvet (35) onto the international scene. Her first feature length film, Emilie presents it as "a DIY romantic queer porn" but, as The End of Being points out, "don't expect amateur work." "Jouvet’s porn is of a conceptual nature" reflecting an "interest in the city lights, the trashy glamour, and fast-living of girls who not only command their space, but demand it." Indeed, what sets One Night Stand apart, is its unique esthetic sensibility and its reflective approach to gender and sexuality. A conceptual underground art house film, One Night Stand displays Emilie's edgy artistic style, using the night light and digital quality for effect as it explores queer sex. The handheld camera work and the confident editing combine to present a film that feels both unbrushed and visceral, and polished and poetic at the same time. The energy is strong throughout with an indie musical soundtrack delivering the scenes' palpable sexual energy.

The viewer is right away pulled into the charged space of One Night Stand in the film's opening prelude. Accompanied by a catchy soundtrack that will get you on your feet, we follow a blond short-haired woman walking down the stairs of a night club. The black and white quality of the picture gradually warms into muted colors as the camera caresses the women partying and dancing, compelled by the rhythms played by a sylphlike DJ, her delicate long fingers spinning the record. The psychedelic soundtrack escalates as the tension builds—"sex bound, revelation," hisses a woman on the dance beat—women watching women, dancing, flirting, kissing, making out.

Cut to the opening credits followed by five one-night stands.

The sex is explicit and intense, but never feels graphic. Far from the cold gynecological shots of mainstream porn, the images of the women's arousal and pleasure are stunning and extremely moving to witness, regardless of the viewer's own sexual orientation. And it is all just so visually interesting to watch compared to most sex on film; the cinematography and soundtrack highlighting the poetry of sex, whether it be nostalgic or raw.

The first one-night stand has a yearning, nostalgic feel to it emphasized by the musical soundtrack, which carries the entire scene. The scene begins with a blond short-haired woman in a soft neglige displaying the small tattooed hearts drizzled over her body. Soft moving shots caress her body, and the bodies of her and another woman, long dark curls enveloping her face. They kiss and caress each other intimately. The shots are warmed by the muted maroon color of the room, filtering the images, and the soft feel of slow motion, even as their kisses grow greedier and the energy more charged when the women pull on long black gloves, pinching clothespins on the nipples. The intensity of sensation from the deep fisting that follows is well captured by the camera, almost quivering in its movements over the woman fisted.

The second is introduced by a hard metallic almost ominous sounding soundtrack, capturing the fast, impatient, hard, and greedy strap-on and hand fucking sex of two short-short haired women in black, in a cool green lit apartment. As the sex hardens, the music stops and we hear only the sounds of their sex; their grunts, moans, spanks, and juices, capturing the blunt, raw, nakedness of their sex.

The third episode is the only that features dialog, in this case between a beautiful dark woman cast as a sex worker equipped with an array of sex toys paying a house visit to a short-haired blond woman. The dialog never disrupts that interesting indie esthetics, however; here further accentuated by the grainy, bleeding pixalated effects of the handheld digital camera, creating a filtered, muted picture, the walls of the woman's apartment a warm, dark pink. The music spinning, the women take turns with a strap-on harness, penetrating each other, anally (in the case of the sex worker whose vagina is occupied by a tampon) or vaginally (the client).

The picture is crisper in the fourth episode, set in an apartment's bluish-pink lit bedroom where a femme is served by her trans strap-on equipped one-night stand partner. She is undressed, fingered, kissed, and caressed before she is penetrated from behind. She comes and ejaculates when hand fucked deeply, her juices slithering the sounds of her moans and the hand pumping.

The final episode well captures the desperate intensity of break-up sex, movingly illustrated by one bois' memories of the sex she used to have with her girlfriend who just left her, and spelled out by the rap lyrics that fill this scene with more get-on-your feet dance energy. Shot in a tiny bathroom, the walls painted red with words scribbled on in black and white, the camera spins around the woman, the women, their sex a passionate, hungry dance of their glistening-with-sweat bodies in the cramped corners of the bathroom, up on the toilette. Here too the music stops as the sexual intensity escalates, but the soul of the music carries the scene throughout: "I am yours, and you can do what you want with me, honestly; putty in your hands I am, shape me, take me, have me, hold me. I am yours..."
As bonus materials, One Night Stand comes with a ten-minute interview with the performers where they share why they decided taking part in this film and what it has meant to them. All friends of Jouvet, the women volunteered for this project to have sex with whom they wanted and the way they wanted it. Included are also two extra numbers (one of them featuring the director with her partner), and a brief backstage compilation of behind the scenes and bloopers.

One Night Stand won the awards for Sexiest Dyke Movie at the Feminist Porn Award (2009) and First Prize of the Lesbian Jury at the Berlin Porn Film Festival (2006).
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