9 to 5 - Lilith Likes to Watch Documentary December

Title: 9 to 5: Days in Porn
Starring: Sasha Grey, Belladonna, Sharon Mitchell
Director: Jenns Hoffman
Synopsis: 9to5 - Days in Porn focuses on the people behind a controversial and multi-billion dollar industry “The Adult Entertainment industry”. It depicts their stories, each one different, unadorned and authentic, without glorification or prejudice. It delivers deep insight into their personal lives - from glamorous to grotesque - strange, fascinating, offensive, absurd and sometimes funny moments all at once. - Via Letterboxd.com
Lilith's Notes: Early in Sasha Grey's career.

"Pornography should always be exploring sexuality in every form."

On the smoggy streets of California in 2006, the dirty business of porn begins its wiley day. The Valley is where porn production thrives. Mostly because it’s cheap. Viewers, tonight we are granted a peek into what it was like to make porn in the early 21st century.

We’re introduced to several real life characters, but officially, our first introduction is to Otto Bauer and Audrey Hollander.

I have never seen an Otto or Audrey scene, nor have I watched anything from his production company, Supercore. I do not want to. He lost a fan before he even made one.

This couple is what most probably think of when they think of porn actors and I don’t like what I’m seeing. Otto brought Audrey into porn, and now he is controlling and dismissive of her at best. He cuts her off when she shares an idea, and orders her around. The result? Poor Audrey looks like a shell of a person. She has lost the light in her eyes.

Soon, we come across a more welcomed face, Dr. Sharon Mitchell. I always like Sharon. It saddens me that she finds porn exploitative, but I like that she dedicates her life to makeing the business safe for everyone through her AIM program. She has saved a lot of lives, and through her work has made the industry a safer place. Thank you, Sharon Mitchell.

We meet Belladonna and her husband Aiden, who has an iron cross tattooed on his hand. She has a bunch of woo-woo cookbooks. He is her videographer and she’s the talent, known for doing some pretty extreme scenes, some of which are hinted at and seem rather intriguing to me. They’re an interesting pair. Relatively likable, all things considered.

We meet others, including a front man for a punk band, a performer who falls into the escort business, and a woman who was outed as a porn star and had her WoW account suspended. Talk about discrimination!

However, no story is so intriguing as the couple Tom and Lucie, who live in Germany. Tom wants to make movies, but he understands that what he is making is stupid trash for mass consumption with little to no artistic merit. His significant other, Lucie, is a woman who, when they met they talked for hours. But now, she is on an emotional rollercoaster of depression and crushed dreams. They do communicate, and she smiles, but then she gets that thousand yard stare and we all know that not is all well within her. They seem to really care about one another, and are constantly on and off again. Out of all the players in this farce, I wanted them to be the ones to succeed

Except for one other.

The Rookie.

Sasha Grey.

Yes, this film tries to chronicle the debut of Sasha Grey. It’s quite interesting stuff because Sasha is unabashedly kinky. She put herself out there, mailed a producer, and listed the activities she was willing to do. And that list was quite extensive. You gotta admire the gumption.

She’s proud of what she does, and her career and artistic endeavors take precedent over even romantic relationships. She’s a porn actress, and the boyfriend better be cool with it.

The film features a fly on the wall view of Sasha and another woman filming a shoot. Much, but not all, is hidden by shadows, out of focused limbs, or too closely cropped shots. But we hear everything, and it is rather intense.

Now that we’ve the benefit of hindsight, it's rather awe inspiring to see that she always wanted this. No one is exploiting her but herself, by choice. That’s what she’s here for, and it made her a name in the industry.

We return to Otto, who has fallen deeper and deeper into fetish stuff which I have absolutely no interest in describing here and Audrey looked none-too-happy about. Then he films a porno in his kitchen, on the open lid of the dishwasher and it is one of the most unsexy things I’ve ever seen.

But it doesn’t compare to a brief horror movie we’re suddenly treated to. It lasts maybe fifteen seconds. We watch Audrey perform a scene with a man but she looks completely out of it. Her eyes are puffy and she’s barely doing anything. She’s sitting astride her scene partner and he holds her by the throat and fucks her while she just sort of… is. She doesn’t want to be there and I don’t want her to be there!

Contrast this with the pleasure Belladonna and Sasha exude during and after their scenes, it’s extremely troubling to see. During the credits, we're given a little post script about how everyone is doing one year later. It ayd Audrey Hollander "Is Better..."

What the fuck does that mean?

From a technical standpoint, it's middleing. The film is overly long, by about forty whole minutes. A lot could have been cut. It's not particularly glossy nor has graphics that really pop. It's not high-energy or over-edited. We're all just sort of put in the middle of it all.

Maybe I’m naive but this felt like a surprisingly well-rounded documentary. It shone light on the tragic lows, and it celebrated the kinky highs. It felt non-judgemental for the most part. Instead, it just rolled the cameras, let people talk, then presented the footage. It could have been far more exploitative one way or another but this came across as a suitable middle ground.

In porn, some people make it, if they’re lucky. But many don’t.

Best Moment: When Sasha and Belladonna meet. Belladonna was Sasha's inspiration for going into the business and they just have such a mutual respect for one another!

Worst Moment: The moment where a not-so-present Audrey is filming a scene. This film has milk enemas and watching a debatably awake woman be choked and fucked is worse.


Until next time, my voracious voyeurs. I’m Lilith, and I’m always watching.

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