Destricted Review

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A collection of erotic and not-so-erotic films trying to distinguish the line betweeen art and porn.


There are some interesting ideas in this portmanteau investigation into both the purpose and appeal of pornography and its moral and psychological ramifications. Richard Prince re-records a skin flick to reduce its images to banality; Marina Abramovic trawls through the sexual superstitions of the Balkans; and Gaspar Noë makes strobe-lit contrasts between male and female masturbatory fantasies. But, there is also a good deal of pretention and exploitation involved, with Matthew Barney and Sam Taylor-Wood being particularly guilty of indulging themselves in artsy erotica.

Yet Marco Brambilla's mesmerising flash-cut montage of clips from mainstream and porno pictures compels a re-evaluation of cinema's attitudes to sex and passion, while the ever-provocative Larry Clark forces us to confront the realities of the porn business through a sheepish twentysomething's crash course in smut.

The graphic content guarantees that this will attract sensationalist attention. But, beneath the provocation and pretention, there are some interesting ideas here - even though they're not always subtly expressed.