“Does the Pornfilmfestival have any limits?” a young man from the group Sex Positive Belgium asked me after the moderation of Oltre la Follia (“Beyond Madness”). I told him I’m not exactly the right person to ask, but the question was fair enough after Luigi Zanuso’s brutal film. The same question had been posed to the director himself during the Q&A: “Is there anything you wouldn’t film?” My Italian is extremely limited, but his answer was clear in both our languages: “No”.
I admit, I’d been excited about this moderation for the whole festival. The episodic film in which, among other things, actors and actresses engage in sexual acts with dead animal parts was destined to churn a few stomachs and cause quite a bit of uncomfortable rumbling. I saw the film ahead of time and sat in the lounge waiting to see if there were any walk-outs – and there were, right around the moment one of the actresses sticks two whole cow eyeballs in her cunt. Four people left the theatre then – one the director of a documentary on pony play.
The explicit meditation on madness drove a few people mad. That said, the cinema was still full by the end of the film and the crowd was really engaged with the filmmaker afterwards. You can love or hate the film, but in the end, if people are talking, it’s a success. What is a film festival but a long party where film takes centre stage? And this party is in full swing.
If you dare to see Oltre la Fullia, it screens again on Saturday, October 29 at 23:15 (this is not a daytime film).
And now a quick round-up of what else has transpired: On Thursday night I was surprised to hear negative reactions to Berlinale darling Théo et Hugo dans le Même – mostly that the film didn’t make sense in its treatment of the HIV theme. Even the beloved can’t please them all.
Friday morning I finally got the opportunity to see Berlin Techno Dreams – the first film by Cazzo made in 1996 and one of the films that contributed to the legend of Berlin as the porn capital of Europe. While slightly more conventional than its experimental counterpart Bonking Berlin Bastards, it’s nevertheless high quality, arty and pretty rad porn. And the dancing. Oh, the dancing! You didn’t expect a film with the word “techno” in the title to not have dancing, did you? And it’s dancing of the sort that can only be imagined for hardcore gay porn.
In 2011, the Pornfilmfestival screened a retrospective of some decidedly older porn – by auteur Wakefield Poole. Gorgeous, moving, arousing and smart, the likes of Bijou and Boys In the Sand are gay porno chic at its best and should be seen by everyone, gay and straight alike. This year, Jim Tushinski delivered I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole, a moving portrait of the now 80-year-old legend that reminds us that “even” pornographers can (and will) be the wise elders one day.
And now here we are. I’m off for more, but check back for more updates.
Note: I promised to report on a controversial performance in my last blog. Unfortunately, the venue was changed and I missed the info, so couldn’t make it. If anyone went to “Thirst for Revenge” on Thursday, I would love to hear your thoughts!