In the Blog
Digging into the archives and finding a classic
Last night I watched an old film I’ve been meaning to see for a long time. And I got it from my favourite movie store, the public library.
Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography is a Canadian classic. Made by Bonnie Sherr Klein (mother of Seth and Naomi) and the National Film Board in 1981 I found this to be a thought provoking and powerful analysis of an industry that largely goes ignored by mainstream cultural critics.
I’m not sure how she did it but Klein found a way to get a men against pornography discussion group, pornographers, female anti-porn activists and writers, strippers, adult store owners and even male porn actors to agree to come under her camera’s gaze. She certainly has her own bias but she lets people speak for themselves and presents insight into this subject that feels totally relevant, even 26 years after it was made.
It seems our society has a really hard time talking about pornography in a meaningful way. As with so many subjects you’re either with it or against it. Questioning pornography’s legitimacy gets you labelled as a prude or a religious fundamentalist. Condoning or admitting interest in it gets you labelled a sexist or a freak. I think these labels (like most labels around sexuality) are especially vicious when aimed at women.
Despite its age I think this film is a great starting point for discussing pornography in an intelligent and useful way. Be warned that the film contains a range of pornographic images and could be disturbing to some.
ps. Bonnie Sherr Klein’s newest film Shameless: The Art of Disability is also worth checking out.