Volume 92, Issue 75

Wednesday, February 10, 1999


The Cardigans are winning at their favourite game

Kent are bent on international attention

Pornography explored as an art form

Dallas back in the USSR

Pornography explored as an art form

Gazette file photo

FUNNY, THEY DON'T LOOK LIKE PORN STARS. Feminist porn innovator Candida Royalle (left) stands beside filmmaker Maya Gallus as they embark on a new, artistic form of pornography.

By Christina Vardanis

Gazette Staff

It's on magazine stands, internet sites, video tapes and it's the only kind of television programming people will watch fuzzy.

In the general population, pornography is joked about, used for material at bachelor parties, passed around locker rooms and kept hidden under mattresses. Historically, it has been centred around male pleasure and fantasy. It has also historically been chased out of the house by women, while men follow desperately testifying to the quality of the article beside the centrefold.

The fight between the sexes over pornography typically stems from feminist views of the material being degrading to women. However, a change in this trend is now emerging, due to the same feminist powers which lead women to string their boyfriend's Passenger 69 videotape through the trees.

A new documentary from the TVOntario series The View From Here, entitled "Erotica: A Journey Into Female Sexuality," examines pornography from the point of view of women pornographers and their brand of product – labelled feminist porn. Although interesting in its subject, the show is inconsistent in its theme and at times painfully boring.

Different women in the industry are interviewed and shadowed, including photographers, painters, authors, filmmakers and a dominatrix. Each discusses various topics, such as why they chose their professions, what they feel they have contributed to feminism and their own sexuality.

They also examine what constitutes pornography and what constitutes art, the latter attributed to feminist porn, as it celebrates women instead of degrading them. Above all, the strength of the female sex is emphasized, as the film centres around women artists and subjects, made for an audience of women.

Individually, their stories and experiences are extremely interesting. However, collectively this interest is lost within the poor production and direction.

Maya Gallus' direction is nothing to rave about either – the overall style of the documentary is unoriginal and stale. For instance, the interviews almost always begin with a close up of the speaker's eyes – a technique which becomes uncreative and predictable.

Plenty of pornographic stereotypes are perpetuated throughout the film, which contradicts the issue of distinguishing feminist porn as art. The usual porn funk beats which accompany most erotic films arise when the women are shown producing their art.

The influx of feminist pornographers is a fascinating trend which deserves to be documented. However, "Erotica" is simply a waste of time which doesn't shed any new light on the industry. And let's face it – anyone who can make the subject of porn completely boring and void of its token humour has reached a new low in filmmaking.

"Erotica: A Journey Into Female Sexuality" airs tonight on TVOntario at 10 p.m..

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Copyright The Gazette 1999