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The questions you always wanted to ask a porn director

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The questions you always wanted to ask a porn director
The questions you always wanted to ask a porn director

The questions you always wanted to ask a porn director

And when was the first time you saw porn and you liked it?

To realize erotic cinema is, after all, cinema; It has a language, a code and tells a story that, with luck, has a happy ending. The question is: for whom?

The camera is the eye with which we judge and objectify. If the classic frame of mainstream porn is the close-up of the penis (the so-called money shot), Erika Lust proposes to continue using it, but with a feminine look. And this is only achieved by putting women at the forefront of the industry, the scripts and the producers.

The Swedish director has more than 10 years opting for an erotic cinema that proposes a safe space for enjoyment. Secure in fair contracts, in credits at the end of the film, in creative openness and even in philanthropy. Its production company, Lust Films, donates a monthly amount to Amnesty International and the Red Umbrella Foundation, who work for the rights of sex workers.

Based in Barcelona, Erika Lust has won several film awards for her shorts and films, such as the Eroticline Award and the Feminist Porn Award. In the last edition of the International Film Festival in Guadalajara, the Maguey Over the Rainbow Award paid homage to his career to transform sexual diversity, breaking schemes and show new paradigms of sexuality and gender.

Erika told us about ethical porn, activism and political science, read the interview below.

VICE: Do you remember when was the first time you saw porn? 
Erika Lust: Sure, in pajamas with a group of friends, in the neighborhood where she lived in Malmö, Sweden. A friend found a video tape of her dad and she loved it. So he thought our sleepover was a perfect occasion to show it to us. It was a curious feeling because we had never seen anything like it … I thought it was pretty disgusting.

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And when was the first time you saw porn and you liked it? 

I was just starting college and I had the typical boyfriend who came with a DVD of a porn, with the intention of, “Let’s look at this and do it, this is the activity of the night.”

I remember having a rare reaction; my body reacted, yes it was hot, but at the same time what I was seeing did not match my vision of the interaction between men and women, because I had this typical thing that these mainstream porn have, where the man is the protagonist and the woman is there to satisfy you; that is his role and enough, it is not about his sexuality, about his fantasies, about his passion or his pleasure.

How did you jump from studying Political Science to being an erotic film director? 
I think it helped to have studied Political Science, and this is a typical career to analyze, de-construct, understand, structure … I started to investigate about this, I found a book by Linda Williams, called Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the “frenzy” of the Visible “, and left me thinking about everything related to the lack of pleasure of the woman in the pornos.

These questions took up too much energy, and I realized, from conversations I had with men and women, that for them it did not cause any kind of conflict, but for women it did. I was interested in knowing why and I understood that for me it was not a purely personal matter, as I believed at the beginning. Busy too much space in my head this problem.

How did you filmed your first erotic movie? 

In Barcelona, I was working for audiovisual advertising producers. In that context I learned how to make movies, the trade. There I saw my concerns and I enrolled in film classes. And when I had to make a short film, I turned to those ideas about the porn I researched in college.

This is how I came up with an erotic and pornographic film, but with my values. It was called The Good Girl (2004), and I used the issues and problems that attacked me when I was in college, which is the time when you begin to explore your sexuality and you are knowing who you are, what you like, what you do not.

Can you see / do / participate in a porn and be a feminist? 
At first I thought that, as a feminist, I did not fit the porn in my life. But in reality it is that to women, porn leaves us out, it does not involve us. Porn is not just porn, it’s much more: it’s a discourse about female and male sexuality and how we interact. This opened my eyes to the fact that porn is not bad; is that there is a lot of bad porn.

I must be able to do good porn, a porn with my values, with my ideas and my point of view, and put the pleasure of women in front.

What is the biggest difference between mainstream porn and feminist porn? 

It is one thing to be a sexual object, and another to be a sexual subject. Object is to be something beautiful that causes desire in another person, usually – though not exclusively – created for men. Subject is that you are the person who feels, who has the desires and fantasies and who goes for his own pleasure. That’s what I look for in my films, that women go for their own pleasure.

And also the stories. They all come from a context. When they arrive, you have hooked up with the main characters, live with them their emotions, and transport yourself to another place. In a mainstream porn, you put a couple on the couch, without working the image, framing, location and styling and casting … all that is left out.

These are the main tools of the cinematic language. You can not leave it out for being a porn. In my films, you know the characters, you know why they are wanted, there is a story. In my movies you live sex with them.

How do you get the actors and actresses? 
We have a casting director who looks for the greatest diversity possible, and a direct communication with the actors, who have bases of performance. That is another objective. We pay them justly, and they are aware and approve all the scenes.

I usually say that it is not enough for me to show sex. I want to show how they feel sex. I want to show that humanity can be exposed in different ways. And for that, I want the actors to feel attraction to each other, because the chemistry is visible behind the screen.

What is the most fun of working in an erotic film production company? 

I have known all kinds of interesting women with the intention of putting myself at the forefront of pleasure, but I also like to put them behind the camera. And work as a team. I like that we are all a small band of creators with a singular vision and we can take them to reality.

How did you design your new series, XConfessions? 
I was struggling to find what to do after my movie Cabaret Desire and it did not fit one hundred percent. I had seen this site called PostSecret, which I liked very much: people sending postcards to strangers with their most intimate secrets. And I realized that this was what these people were doing when they told me their wishes.

Do you have a favorite story? 
I have all filmed them because they move me in some way, or they have something that has interested me. And we have already 12 volumes of filming the fantasies of others. One that I really like is We are the fucking world. A co-director told me that she wanted to film a diversity of sexualities in a summer orgy and in an outdoor location. And from this work, 5,000 euros were donated to Amnesty International.

Do you think your work is activism? 

I consider myself an activist person. My 10-year-old daughter considers herself an activist. I think it’s something very important, it’s something that I see that increasingly appears in women, realizing that, if we do not do it, who will do it for us?

It makes me beautiful to be an activist and to work to make a difference in making quality indie porn, with values, in a safe environment, with good stories.

What directors or movies would you recommend to those who are interested in ethical porn? 
They should look for Petra Joy; is fantastic, a pioneer in alternative porn, with an awareness of human rights in the industry.

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