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Pornographic film

Note: this is an article about pornographic films. For eroticism in mainstream film, please visit the article on erotic movies.

The history of erotic films began five minutes after the film medium was invented with The Kiss (1896) and Douche après le bain (1897).

Pornographic motion pictures are nearly as old as the medium itself. The idea of projecting a moving film onto a screen in front of the audience was a European invention of the 1890s. Almost immediately, erotic films (largely of women disrobing) were produced. Two of the earliest pioneers were Eugène Pirou (who had a background in pornographic photography) and Albert Kirchner, whose trade name was 'Léar'. Oddly enough, Kirchner is chiefly remembered by film historians as the first man to produce a film of the 'Life Of Christ'. Many of the early mainstream films produced by Pathe and Gaumont included female nudity, but this was soon forbidden by the censor (it took some years for the law to catch up with the new technology). This type of filming then went underground, and found a ready market in brothels and gentlemen's private functions. [Jun 2006]

Parent categories: pornography - film

Related: age: 18 - blue movie - erotic film - hardcore - porno chic - porn star - sadomasochism in film - simulated - sex education - sex film - sexploitation film - sex report film - snuff film - softcore - stag film - vintage porn film - Wet Dream Film Festival (1970, 1971) - white coaters - x-rated

Titles: Cafe Flesh (1982) - Deep Throat (1972) - The Image (1975) - Inserts (1975) - Liquid Sky (1982) - Le Sexe qui parle/Pussy Talk (1975)

Directors: Lasse Braun - Joe D'Amato - Gerard Damiano - Rinse Dream - Francis Leroi - Radley Metzger - Claude Mulot - Max Pecas - Alex deRenzy - Jean Rollin - Joe Sarno

By region: European pornography - North American pornography

Linda Lovelace, Deep Throat (1972) - Gerard Damiano


The movie camera has been used for pornography throughout its history, but pornographic movies were for most of that time typically only available by underground distribution, for projection at home or in private clubs.

Pornographic movies were widespread in the silent movie era of the 1920s, and were often shown in brothels.

More permissive legislation permitted the rise of "XXX-rated" movie theaters in the U.S. in the 1970s. There was also a proliferation of coin-operated "movie booths" in sex shops that displayed pornographic "loops" (so-called because they projected a movie from film arranged in a continuous loop).

At that time, pornographic movies even approached acceptance into the mainstream movie industry, with films such as Deep Throat, Behind the Green Door and Gerard Damiano's 1972 film The Devil in Miss Jones being shot on film with high production values, and grossing substantial amounts in movie theaters.

With the arrival of the home video cassette recorder in the 1980s, the pornographic movie industry grew massively, allowing people being able not only to view pornography in the privacy of their own home without having to go out to a theater, but also to make their own pornography. Video production is much cheaper than shooting and editing on film, and has thus displaced production on film for almost all pornographic movies.

With the advent of the Internet and DVDs, the production of pornographic movies has become even easier but is still concentrated within a few small companies. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornographic_movie [Oct 2004]

Sexually explicit

Sexually explicit material (video, photography, creative writing) presents sexual content without deliberately obscuring or censoring it. This is in contrast to typical Hollywood movies, where sexual intercourse is often hinted at, or shown with the genitalia covered.

The term is not very specific, and what is or is not sexually explicit varies from culture to culture. Visual exposure of the penis or vagina and surrounding pubic hair are widely considered sexually explicit, unobscured sexual intercourse universally so. Some also consider certain language or writing (authentic reports or fiction) to be sexually explicit.

While some observers often label all sexually explicit material as pornography, this is not generally accepted, as it does not examine the intent behind the material. For example, sexual intercourse may be shown to illustrate principles of safe sex and as such be a component of liberal sex education, or in a film it may be part of a complex story and be viewed to contribute to overall plot development. An explicit rape scene may in fact have the purpose of negative conditioning, and vivid imagery of infected genitalia is often used as part of abstinence-based sex education programs. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexually_explicit [Feb 2005]

Porn star [...]

An erotic actor or erotic actress or a porn star is somebody who appears in pornographic movies, live sex shows or peep shows. Many actors/actresses may appear nude in films (usually rather briefly) or on stage but even if they depict sexual behavior they are not considered erotic actors. To be considered an erotic actor or actress, one must appear chiefly in porn movies and be filmed in explicit sexual acts, usually with close-up shots of the genitalia during sexual acts and where explicit nudity is involved. Most erotic actors use stage names. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotic_actor [Oct 2004]

Boogie Nights (1997) - Paul Thomas Anderson

Boogie Nights (1997) - Paul Thomas Anderson

Boogie Nights is a 1997 film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.

The film depicts the pornographic film scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s as seen through the life of a young porn star play by Mark Wahlberg. It shows how he first enters the business, his rise as a star, and his eventual downfall, partly due to cocaine-induced paranoia and having become an arrogant "star". It was very loosely based on the life of porn star John Holmes. Burt Reynolds was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as a porn film director. Julianne Moore also received a nomination for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as maternal porn star, Amber Waves. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boogie_Nights [Mar 2005]

Inserts (1975)- John Byrum

Inserts (1975) - John Byrum

The 1975 movie Inserts about a pornographic film production, which starred Richard Dreyfuss and was originally released with an X rating, took its name from this film technique. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inserts [Mar 2005]

See also: film technique - Inserts (1975) - John Byrum

The Pornographer (2001) - Bertrand Bonello

The Pornographer (2001) - Bertrand Bonello [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Amazon.co.uk Review
An art house movie that asks questions about the morality of art both on and off screen, The Pornographer is a hard-hitting yet strangely unmoving film. Very much a product of the French school of intellectual cinema, the filmmaker of the title is Jacques Laurent (played by Jean Pierre Leaud), a one-time director of adult films who, finding himself down on his luck, is forced to return to his old medium. Far from being a gaudy Boogie Nights style exposé of an unknown world, the film focuses on Laurent's inner turmoil and his rapidly disintegrating relationship with his wife, as well as his restored one with his son Joseph (Jeremie Renier). Director Betrand Bonello handles this material well, if overdoing the art house clichés a little, but the problem with the film (or for some its strong point) comes with the fairly hardcore sex scenes, presented as part of Laurent's movie. While intended to reflect the emptiness of the character's soul, it is hard to see past them as just an attention-grabbing device. Then again, can a film about pornography legitimately not feature sex? One suspects that this debate will run and run and, in its way, The Pornographer has much to say on the subject.

On the DVD:
The Pornographer's intended release fell foul of the BBFC, who objected to one particularly explicit scene, a continuing argument that provides much of the material for the DVD's extra features. There is a reproduction of the BFFC ruling, a statement in reply from Bonello (which demonstrate the similarities he shares with his fictional counterpart, certainly when it comes to a vision of erotica) and an excellent essay from critic Pierre Perrene. In addition there are biographies, the cinematic trailer and an option to view the film with or without English subtitles. Whatever the moral questions involved, Bonello's film is a visual treat and his stylish eye is well represented by this format. --Phil Udell

Jacques, a filmmaker, struggles to get out of directing adult movies...

Le Sexe qui parle/Pussy Talk (1975) - Claude Mulot

Le Sexe qui parle/Pussy Talk (1975) - Claude Mulot [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

You might think this film to be a comedy but in fact it's not very funny at all. The flashbacks from our heroines sex life range from rape to murder and in her current predicament her 'talking' vagina urges her to visit an adult theatre where an on screen rape is being shown and she ends up being gang banged in the grimy cinema toilets. So not many laughs here! The American dubbed version is horrific, crude and grating on the ears, with the leading lady sounding like Elizabeth Taylor but her vagina sounding like Nancy Walker. There are a couple of scenes that produce an erotic frisson but overall this is a ropey ragbag of a movie. --Greensleeves, via imdb.com

Dirty Movies: An Illustrated History of the Stag Film, 1915-1970 (1976) - Al Di Lauro, Gerald Rabkin

Dirty Movies: An Illustrated History of the Stag Film, 1915-1970 (1976) - Al Di Lauro, Gerald Rabkin [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

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