October 27, 2009

Naughty Netflix: Porn Theatre

(Think that you can't rent movies at Netflix that contain legitimately explicit sexuality? Think again, my frustrated friend! In this special essay series, I look at a total of thirty mainstream films made over the last forty years, all of which contain scenes of such actual graphic sex acts as fellatio and penetration, reviewing them not in only in terms of the movie's quality itself but also the amount of sex it portrays, and whether this sex is any fun or not to actually watch. For more about how these movies were chosen, as well as the full list of all thirty titles, you can click here; and don't forget, these reviews are also mixed into the master list of all movies reviewed here, over at CCLaP's main movie page.)

Porn Theatre

Today's movie: Porn Theatre, 2002 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix)

The story in a nutshell: Nearly plotless, this DV feature and past Cannes notable from veteran French actor Jacques Nolot is instead a detailed, real-time look at a two-hour period inside a sketchy Paris porn theatre, giving us a highly realistic insider's view on how exactly the gay "cruising" scene actually works, and the various stereotypes one finds within such a scene.

What I thought: Meh. Although it's definitely fascinating from a sociological standpoint, and realistic in its details to a T, when I say that this movie is plotless I mean that it literally has no storyline: it is literally two hours of watching men stumble around in a dark theatre, sometimes randomly hooking up with others in adjacent seats, aisles and the bathroom, sometimes not, which is then punctuated with a series of conversations outside the theatre between the tired-looking middle-aged alcoholic woman running the ticket booth, a middle-aged former teen prostitute who can now only get aroused by MMF threeways, and a young bi-confused rugby player from the sticks of southeast France, who's not quite sure why he's at the theatre in the first place, the three of them spouting the kind of dreary, existentialist French-film dialogue that we Americans quote when making fun of the genre*.

What makes it an explicit movie? Not very much -- the majority of the sex takes place while theatre seats and the like artfully hide the most explicit elements -- although the movie does feature a goodly amount of gay oral sex, as well as lots of shots of explicit masturbation. (And be warned, non-gay audience members; although ironically the theatre actually shows straight porn, not a single explicit shot featuring a woman is to be even tertially viewed in the background of this movie.)

Is the sex actually fun to watch? Well, it's realistic, that's for sure -- in fact, I've never seen a movie that captures quite as well the cold, emotionless sex within the gay cruising scene as this one does. But of course, that's the problem with this movie too, is that such furtive, animalistic rutting holds only a limited appeal among a limited amount of the population, making it even tolerable at all to only a certain crowd and certainly about as far away from "erotic" as the act of sex ever gets. And also, believe me when I say that this movie takes an ultra-realistic look at what such situations are like; within this entire two-hour movie, there's only a single male seen who could be classified as traditionally attractive, the rest of them the exact kind of overweight, pasty-faced creeps who you've always imagined frequent places like this, along with the masochistic drag queens there to service them all.

Strangest piece of trivia: Writer/director Nolot also plays the middle-aged former teen prostitute formerly mentioned.

Worth your time? If you've ever wanted to know what public gay cruising is like without actually participating in it yourself, then yes; otherwise, no

*And here, a perfect example of what I'm talking about, courtesy "The Kids in the Hall" -- compare this parody below to the actual film clip above...

Filed by Jason Pettus at 3:35 PM, October 27, 2009. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |