Before I start, I’d like to give fair warning that this particular review will very likely contain provocative imagery and some mild language. This is most likely not safe for work, but sometimes, that’s just how it goes.
When I started writing this piece, I had absolutely no clue how I was going to write this piece. When I got the DVD, I could tell this would be unlike any movie I had ever seen, and that it would be difficult to review this. You see, “Destricted” is a collaborative effort among eight filmmakers that flirt with the line between art and pornography. I’m calling it art-house porn.
It wasn’t long after I had started watching “Destricted” before I thought to myself “How in Jane’s name am I going to pull this off?!” It took me until about halfway through the end of the eighth short film to figure out how to do it and when I did, it seemed so simple. I’m going to bridge the gap between art and porn by taking a page from the porno industry: POV. I’m putting you in my position.
Matthew Barney’s “Hoist” was the weirdest in a hallucinogenic way of the eight. If I understood the intent correctly, Barney used sex to describe the life cycle of a tree in a construction site, starting with a flaccid penis “seed” (and I think the metaphor kind of reverberates there) and an erect sapling in nature, ending wit a guy painted as a tree, cradled under either an earth-mover or a deuce and a half, covered in what looked to be pollen, essentially having sex with the slowly rotating axle. I think he was going for the shaft metaphors on that one.
Richard Prince’s “House Call” is a ’70s vintage (the “Golden Age of Porn” if you will) porno playing on a TV shot at point-blank range. The title is inspired by the naughty doctor film being shown from the solo-scene beginning to the money-shot ending, edited only for time. It’s set to what sounds like a calliope — if you’ve been drugged up on morphine — that’s playing on an old record player. The music stops twice as if the record needed flipping, and a third time as if the record were being switched, except there’s nothing but silence.
“Cooking” by Tunga is far and away the most explicit, the most confusing and just in general, the most effed-up short in the program. The metaphor of cooking is vividly and sickeningly described by a wife engaging in very sloppy oral sex, causing the crystal that represents his member to dissolve. While he’s in an orgasmic snooze, she whizzes in a pitcher, and let’s just say you can figure out the rest from there, because it only gets more graphic at that point.
Marilyn Minter’s “Green Pink Caviar” was minimalistic, but fixated on the oral aspect of sex, particularly, the lips, by having three pairs of lips kissing glass passionately while immersed in syrup, glitter water and some kind of neon blue gel. The music was barely there. Minter elected to go with almost randomly timed arpeggios of minor chords
“Scratch This” by Sante D’Orazio is simplistic in its substance, but cleverly simplistic in its point. D’Orazio recreates a three-way lesbian film from the Golden Age of Porn. The film is obviously digital, but with artifacts rendered in so it looks like celluloid. The score is very period specific with the porn. Most clever of all, he blacked out the girls eyes and reproductive genitalia, the eyes as a throwback to protect the identities of the actors, and the genitalia for the irony of it all.
“Impaled,” a film by Larry Clark, was the only one to have people talking during it. Specifically, it was an interview with young guys who want to be porn stars, and veteran female porn stars sharing their views casting couch style. One lucky guy, the most morose looking one of the group, had the chance to fulfill his fantasy (no puns intended) of shooting a porn with a 40+ woman (milf is the technical term for her).
Cecily Brown’s “Four Letter Heaven” is best described as the band A-ha creating a porn movie a la their “Take On Me” video, except with paint. The art itself is well done, and if you slow down the movie, you’ll see the pages the images were painted on have certain surprises. Some of the funnier canvasses include a $100 bill, an image of Yosemite Sam that has coupon-style dashed lines around it, and an excerpt from a book on The Persian War written in French.
Gaspar Noé’s “We F*ck Alone” seemed to me to be a dark, visceral comparison between a young and innocent girl masturbating with the help of a stuffed bear, and a anarchist looking guy using a blow up doll to get his semi-violently. At one point, he basically rapes the doll with what looked to have been a nine mil. The use of strobing throughout coupled with the singular sound on the track, a heartbeat, enhanced the delivery’s comparison.
Now comes the twist. After I’d written my views on all eight films, I remembered that I had gotten a press packet to go with the films that spells out what they all mean. I compared what I’d written with the packet, and I found I was pretty on the money about it minus a few details on a few of them:
“Hoist”: It wasn’t a construction site, but deforestation, and it was a logging vehicle rather than a deuce.
“Cooking” was right on, but they called it a “metabolic love story” which is as good as anything since I had no clue what to call it.
“Green Pink Caviar” is an action painting. I had no clue why the lips were in the liquids, but I knew that they were the focus.
So what did I think of it? I would recommend this to all of my haute couture, EXTREMELY MATURE readers and viewers out there. Porn is good, if done well, but this is right out of the box and down the street a ways. I’m of the opinion that you have to be really artistically inclined in some way to really get it. As for everyone else, it’s good, but you’re likely to get bored. The men especially will tire of seeing members on the screen, but at the end of the day, there’s something in it for (almost) everyone.
“Destricted” is available at: