Thursday, April 22, 2004

French tickler

Last night, I went to a preview screening of The Good Old Naughty Days (Polissons et galipettes) at The Other Cinema. Leaving aside the ever-so-slightly uncomfortable fact that I was a lone male going to view hardcore pornography, let’s have an up-close-and-personal gynaecological glance up the metaphorical snatch of this piece of celluloid exotica.

Essentially, the film is a collection of 12 silent porn movies dating from between 1905 and 1930, and every permutation is covered in the brief 70 minute running time of the movie. Straight, gay, lesbian, oral, anal, group, cumshots and, oh yeah, bestiality. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

First up, Michel Reilhac is credited as the director of the film. Director? Really? He sat through a bunch of archive porn, selected a handful, cut them together, wrote some vaguely amusing intertitles, chucked a score on it….but I don’t think he can in all fairness be designated the “director”. It’s highly unlikely we will ever know the real directors of this anonymous smut, but M. Reilhac is undoubtedly not the auteur behind this festival of filth.

On to the content. Anything that gets old enough eventually accrues a veneer of respectability but, let’s be honest, this is pornography. Filmed footage originally conceived purely with the aim of titillation and arousal. It ain’t art.

As archive footage, though, it’s genuinely fascinating. Evidently, some things are constants in the world of hardcore, even a century on. Loads of close-ups and, more often than not, a money-shot at the end of the reel. The plot lines (if you can call them that) are also old favourites, straddling the blurry line between saucy Carry On-style humour and the staples of hardcore fantasy: nuns and priests, teachers and pupils, nurses and patients.

The differences are also interesting. Although lesbian sex is common in modern porn, there is a fair bit of man-on-man action mixed in here as well, without worrying about self-consciously dividing things into “gay” and “straight” porn pigeonholes.

It’s also refreshing to see people with all sorts of different body types who, on the whole, look like they are really enjoying themselves, in movies that are well shot and well lit.

Now, the scene with the dog. I’m no prude, but I cringed at this. With almost no encouragement, a little fluffy white dog first laps away between a woman’s legs, before sharing a man’s cock with her later on, licking away like it was a water dish. So, so wrong. Kind of funny, but, for fuck’s sake, it’s a dog eating pussy and sucking cock! Archive footage or not, there are still some things that don’t accrue the veneer of respectability with the passage of time.

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