“CYCLES OF PORN: Sex/life in L.A. 2”–how it was

“CYCLES OF PORN: SEX/LIFE IN L.A., Part 2”

How It Was

Amos Lassen

Jochen Hick, director of “Sex/Life in L.A.” has done in again. The success of the first film, which seems mild compared to the new “Cycles of Porn”, has brought about this fascinating sequel. The movie follows the activities of a group of 19 year olds who live in an apartment which is filled with webcams and looks like a futuristic experiment ala “big brother is watching you”. Hicks also looks at two other aspects of the gay porn industry, older men who make bareback videos and private sex parties where most of the people there are porn actors or about to become porn actors. However, this is not a porn film but rather a look at the porn industry and even though the movie has a great deal of frontal nudity, it is n no way pornographic.

In 1998 Hick released the documentary “Sex/Life in L.A.” in which he followed the lives of a group of gay men who opted to work in porn for either artistic or commercial reasons. Some of the men from that film re-emerge in the new documentary and the concentration of the new film is on a variety of porn stars. There is Cole Tucker, representing the mature porn star, and Matt Bradshaw, all-American boy next door, there is Kevin Kramer who manages a great relationship with his mother who is aware of his work and there are the youngsters who use every opportunity to get naked and play. Each of these is driven by the same reasons to be porn models. They all want a sense of adventure and they are all narcissists. What is surprising, however, is the industry requirements and how porn has become a major player in the world of economic success; it is now a profession and is highly commercialized. Careers are now begun on the internet and people who work in porn are well aware of the fact that they are self-exploited but at the same time unconscious of the ways they are being used. At the same time, bareback producers are on the hunt for new actors and new locations.

While watching this film I asked myself if anyone wins in porn. Is the sex we see on the screen but a travesty of what sex is supposed to be? Where are the emotion and the feelings that we exert when having sex or has sex become as commonplace as saying hello? Is there life after porn? Cole Tucker shows there is but he had another career before he began making sex films. What happens after you have been photographed and hyped and everyone has seen you doing everything?

“Cycles of Porn” attempts to answer these questions but never really manages to give us the answers that seem to fit. This does not mean that this is not a good movie. I found the film to be a fascinating inside look into a world where the ideas of sex, business and art blend together. It also shows how sexuality is constantly changing and new f aces and new technology has changed what porn is. Hick gives a great of insight into an industry that deals with the most private of activities and throws them up on a screen for human consumption.

Think about it. Do you remember that watching and buying porn was a secret ritual that you only shared with your closest friends? Today porn is everywhere and there is no longer any kind of stigma attached to it. It is readily accessible and no longer seems to have boundaries. All you need today is a cheap VCR or DVD player and you are transported to another place where free sex rules. We have, indeed, come a long way and Hick shows us how far and why.

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