What does a little masturbation session on Youporn really cost? What is the price to pay behind an ass video on the web? With her first feature film Pleasure , Swedish director Ninja Thyberg films behind the scenes of the porn industry in Los Angeles and invites to rethink porn consumption.
Presented in official selection at the Cannes Film Festival 2020, Deauville 2021 and the Sundance Film Festival 2021, Ninja Thyberg's film is disturbing.
Like the scandals surrounding fast fashion, the militant director questions the hyper-capitalist industrialization of porn where labor rights are non-existent and workers subject to the goodwill of a director ... A necessary film that questions the possibility of bringing together respect for human beings and pornographic art.
Ninja Thyberg, the Gen Z sociologist who campaigns for citizen porn
A radical feminist, Ninja Thyberg studies the relationship between women and men in the new sociological department of Gender Studies created by London University.
After a thesis on the place of women in a porn world dominated by male gauze , she attended a porn-feminist collective and directed her first short film, already entitled Pleasure , presented in 2013 at the Critics' Week of the Festival de Cannes.
Los Angeles Porn Industry Survey
The director decides to go further and investigate the San Fernando Valley , a real “ Hollywood of the ass ”, with the idea of making a feature film. For 5 years, she infiltrates this world, meets industry players, attends filming and settles for several months in a “ model house ” to live with these sex athletes and observe their daily lives.
She took the opportunity to recruit the actors of Pleasure , all from porn, often cast in their own roles with the exception of the main actress, Sofia Kappel , who had never played before. “ Virgin of the camera ”, therefore, like her character.
A pitch in descent mode into hell
Bella, a pretty 19-year-old Swedish girl whose past is unknown, moves to Los Angeles to become a pornstar . No drama or trauma at the origin of this decision: " It's just that I like to fuck ", she swings, provocative, to anyone who dares to ask her her reasons. Ambitious and attracted by the spotlight, she dreams of becoming a Spiegler girl , the elite of the porn industry. But the young girl, who has never shot porn before, does not know anything about the codes and limits to be crossed to become a star. house by her manager, a real “ legal pimp ”, she befriends one of her roommates who gives her advice on how to break through.
Bella multiplies the shoots and understands that to become a star, she will have to exceed her limits in an infernal race for the spectacular and participate in increasingly hard shoots: domination while she is suspended from the ceiling by ropes; double penetration; anal. At the risk of endangering oneself and twisting.
A feminist testimony, the reverse of clichés
Phew! No systematic victimization of women with this scenario which features strong and determined heroines. Bella, strategist, organizes her career and exploits the men around her to her advantage. Publication of photos and videos of her shoots on Instagram to gain visibility, flirtations with other actors to create a network, free shoots of hard scenes to get noticed ... Far from being passive, Bella is at the initiative of everything that happens to her, like the porn actresses that the director meets to prepare the film.
Motivated by her desire to show “ everything that concerns the off-screen or what happens next to the film; what we will never see on the screen ”(as the director confides in Samuel Blumenfeld), Ninja Thyberg does not go dead hand. Physical preparations worthy of great sportsmen, special showers before anal, limited financial means, training in the bathroom to manage to hold complicated positions, precarious working conditions, ego clashes, infections ... We are far from fantasy .
Pleasure , in theaters October 20.
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