Issue: July 2012 - Pornography as Art

Sex and politics up north: Jack Stevenson’s Scandinavian Blue, a look at the erotic cinema of Sweden and Denmark

I’ve watched a lot of vintage ’60s and ’70s porn in my day, but until this book crossed my desk, I’d never actually read a heavy tome about the history of pornography. And yet Jack Stevenson’s exhaustive and fascinating study of Scandinavian porn was hard to put down. Any serious vintage porn fan has probably already seen several of the Danish or Swedish gems of this era, and would appreciate learning a bit more about the social and political climate that allowed these films to be made. And what better way to end a porn-themed month than with some...

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Essential Canadian Cinema: Young People F*cking

Each month, two intrepid TFS writers will watch a Canadian film and debate on whether or not it deserves to be essential viewing for the Canuck movie enthusiast. Since TFS’ July theme is focused on pornography as a legitimate art form, it seemed like a no-brainer for Editor-in-Chief Trista DeVries and Managing Editor Kristal Cooper to discuss 2007’s Young People Fucking which was written and directed by Martin Gero, with co-writing by Aaron Abrams. Kristal: I hadn’t watched this since its opening theatrical weekend and the thing that struck me the most was the fact that for a film...

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Toronto For Rent: where have all the video stores gone?

The answer to the inevitable question, “where have all the video stores gone?” is: crushed by Netflix, everyone. Okay, fine. Maybe we shouldn’t create a second Remembrance Day. But it’s difficult to explain  to those who grew up in the post-90s digital age just what the classic video store meant to Generations X, Y and a bit of Z. I hate to use the phrase “you  won’t understand, you weren’t   there, ” but that may just be the case. It’s easy to forget  that before  Torrents, before Limewire, before Kazaa,  Bearshare, Morpheus and Napster (remember when those sites...

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Porn and horror: exploring our relationship to sex and violence on the big screen

Why are horror films, which often depict realistic and graphic violence, so widely accepted in mainstream cinema, while pornography is still taboo, and even non-porn films which depict realistic sex are marginalized? Is it fair to simply chalk it up to our puritanical North American society, which considers sex totally unmentionable while violence is, considerably more acceptable, and we sure like watching it on the big screen? Obviously, there are parts of the world where more liberal attitudes toward sex prevail, but when Hollywood dominates the cinematic landscape as much as it does here in Canada, it’s an attitude...

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Read This: sexy lit turned soft core flicks

Lately it’s difficult to get through a day without  crossing paths with   Fifty Shades of Grey , the Twilight fan fiction turned New York Times best seller, whether it’s a handful of commuters boldly reading it on the streetcar or fans discussing whether Ryan Gosling or Michael Fassbender would make a better Christian Grey in the upcoming movie version. The way the book has dominated pop culture, one would think that it’s the first bit of erotic literature to make the jump from dirty little secret to book club selection to big screen. Not so. Cinema has a...

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TIFF Free Screen presents Fractured Movement / Constituent Parts

The Toronto International Film Festival ain’t just a September party. TIFF makes a year-round commitment to enriching our cinematic experiences in this very cinematic city. Their Free Screen series aims to highlight engaging and provocative experimental film and video work; and yes, as the name suggests, attending these screenings is absolutely free. The next installment of this always-exciting series is “Fractured Movement / Constituent Parts”, which takes place this Wednesday, July 18th, and is comprised of 7 short film/video works, with two of the filmmakers in attendance. Once-forgotten, now-acclaimed artist Gary Beydler (who passed away in 2010) inhabited the...

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Movies with staying power: a look at what makes a classic porn

By now, it’s likely you’ve already hungrily devoured our feature covering  the Golden Age of Geek Porn, as well as  many  other articles detailing our love and respect for the pornographic genre – in which case, you have already accepted pornography as a legitimate entry in critical film discussion, unashamedly removed your copy of Deep Throat from its hiding place under your bed  and proudly  displayed it on your DVD shelf next to   Big Bang Theory  (which, apparently, is  the name of a TV show). In short, you do not need me to to reiterate that  porn ought...

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