"He has a fucking safe word, alright?"
When I was but a teenager, I would wait for the good late night shows to air on Showcase, which was Canada's answer to HBO and Cinemax. While I waited for Six Feet Under and Oz, there was another show that would run. It was called KINK and it was a docuseries about people who practiced BDSM. It ran for five seasons. The only thing I remember about it is a shot of one guy putting a clothes pin on his sack.
This is not that. This has no relation to that.
Kink.com is one of the leading erotic websites and video studios. Founded by Peter Acworth in his college dorm room during the Dot Com Boom, it produces a very specific kind of product.
The documentary begins with Peter giving the camera a tour of their headquarters, a huge brick building somewhere in San Francisco. As he describes the history of the building, there's a film shooting and you can hear the woman model's moans and cries. He clenches his eyes shut to try to focus his thoughts and say on topic.
As the documentary goes on, it interviews different models, directors and Kink.com staff. The viewer gets a behind the curtain peek of how the kinky sausage is made.
The film is interesting because it has a narrative arc. It begins with an impression that everything is fine, and open, and fun and shits and giggles but as the film progresses, things begin to crack. Smiles fade, Thousand-yard stares glaze over faces, people admit they wouldn't be there if money wasn't involved.
|That's right, show 'em how it's done!|
There's a very intense scene where a woman is bound and collared upside down riding a Sibian. She is beyond blissed-out. She loses all her senses. It's almost disturbing but unarguably compelling.
In one moment, the videographer Five Star tries to draw the line between BDSM and abuse, but then admit it's complicated, then just sort of trails off and looks disheartened. There's a story there, but unfortunately it never delves deeper than that.
And then James Deen is on my screen and I visibly scowl. Let us not forget, he has allegedly violated several boundaries between himself and female talent. Yes, this documentary was made before the allegations came out but I still have no interest in watching him perform.
Next, they're going to film a scene where 4 men break in to this woman's place, black bag her, and tie her up. The model can't breathe and can't perform the scene. Thinking quickly on her feet, the director, Donna Dolore, reformulates the scene into a consensual Christmas Gangbang. Donna is visibly disappointed she has to scrap the bound and gang-banged scenario but she's doing what's best for the talent. It's the right thing to do.
|Doing the right thing isn't easy.|
There's this one performer, called Felony, who's just strange. She pontificates about being a dom, and a sub, and how great it is, but her mannerisms are awkwardly high-brow. She answers every question in a way that feels like she's ~acting~. While discussing what it's like to be a sub she takes this breath and looks away and I joked that she just climaxed. She says the most difficult part of her job is that one day her kids will ask what she does. When asked what she would do if her daughter wanted to get into porn she acts like it never occurred to her. You're in porn. You've thought about it, lady. Stop thinking you're being profound.
When the director says cut, some performers look alright, some look troubled. Some seemed to overestimate their own limits.
Near the end, Donna talks about her time at the hard-core website Insex, and next time, we will, too...
Best Part: Donna whipping up an entire new scene to shoot on the fly after the planned shoot was too rough for the model.
Worst Part: All the fuck machines. I know what I like and fuck machines are too hard-core for me.
LILITH'S SCORE: 3.5/5
NEXT TIME: Following Donna Dolore's suggestion, we talk about Insex in the final documentary of Documentary December in....Graphic Sexual Horror.