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Kino Korner September 13, 2007
Destricted: But is it Porn?
Pretentious porn film gets anal-yzed By Alexander Zaitchik Browse author Email
Spoiler alert: Destricted ends with a skinny goth kid mouth-fucking an inflatable doll with a glock. Not that you’re likely to make it that far.

Some films are easier to arrive late to than others. Destricted, an international collection of six arty shorts about porn running at Moscow’s 35MM through September 26, isn’t a good one for stumbling in at the five-minute mark. Especially in countries like Russia with assigned seating at theaters, you really don’t want to heap confusion on confusion by squinting at aisle numbers while onscreen a suspended muck-covered Afro-Brazilian slowly squeezes a heroic amount of jism out of his cock and then wipes his semi-hard member against the spinning lubricated drive shaft of some sort of massive deforestation device.

That would be Matthew Barney’s wordless 20-minute short, “Hoist,” which opens and sets the tone for Destricted. What follows is an hour and a half of onanism, literally and figuratively, as filmmakers of tin-can controversy like Larry Clarke and Gaspar Noé “explore the fine line where art and pornography intersect,” mostly by showing lots of fucking set to poor lighting and scratchy ambient music. I’d say the filmmakers were going for “transgressive,” but nobody uses that word anymore. Indeed, the whole point of the film, according to the official website, is to explore a world without fixed boundaries, where “the line between explicit and implicit sex is blurring,” whatever that means.

Destricted would be a lot easier to take if the producers had titled it, Pretentious Pricks. But this is supposed to be Very Serious Stuff—it opened at Tate! There was even jumbo shrimp at the reception!—with the film’s website chock full of bullshit about how Destricted “open[s] up for debate the question of whether art can be disguised as pornography or whether pornography can be disguised as art or something else altogether.” These Tate-types think too much. Porn is anything you can masturbate to, and jerking off isn’t tolerated in most art houses I’ve visited. I know from experience that it’s especially not allowed on the modern art museum circuit, where the film has met critical acclaim. Art Forum dutifully called it “movie of the year.”

Destricted does have a few moments, most of them coming in Marina Abramovic’s “Balkan Erotic Epic,” a ferociously funny satire about rural Balkan sex myths. Whether or not these myths, acted out by a large cast and illustrated in pencil cartoons, are true or not doesn’t really matter. Abramobic’s musical pillorying of her people’s sexual superstitions and horny housewives is almost worth the price of admission alone.

The same can’t be said of Larry Clarke’s “Penetration.” The premise here is interesting enough: Clarke issues a cow-call for young men to discuss (against a classically drab Clarkean backdrop) how porn has influenced them. They then strip. Clarke chooses his favorite boy, who then gets to interview a series of professional porn actresses. The winning kid chooses the girl he wants to have sex with on film. Over the course of a half-hour, we learn that young American men have seen a lot of porn and shave their pubic hair because of it; we also learn that online porn actresses are just normal people. The most memorable moment is the object lesson the porn star gives her young pupil in the importance of enemas before engaging in anal sex. Yep, poop has a cameo, which makes Clarke’s young star, along with the rest of us, “kinda grossed out.”

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Alexander Zaitchik is an editor at The eXile. Email him at
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