A Road to Conquer - Lilith Likes to Watch

Title: A Road to Conquer
Starring: Bebe Melkor-Kadior, Claire Romain
Director: Sally Fenaux Barleycorn
Synopsis: In a near future where pornography is forbidden, Karly is a young woman on the run from the police as she tries to dispose of her grandmother's illegal pornography collection. Together with her friend Erin they set off in search of The Sanctuary, a safe haven of sexual freedom, to find refuge. - Via ErikaLust.com
Lilith's Notes: This was pitched to me as dirty Children of Men.

"What the fuck is so shameful about it? What's so wrong, so ugly, so improper?"

This is a frightening time for sex workers and smut connoisseurs. States are engaging obscenity laws through lies and overreach. I made a joke on Twitter the other day about Texas' new requirement for all porn sites to force an inaccurate warning about the harmful effects of sexy content. Need I remind you all about the Meese Report?

Here's a refresher:
Under president Lyndon B. Johnson, a report on the harmful effects of porn was commissioned. It involved scientists and experts and research and concluded that porn had no detrimental effects. Yes, everything has the chance to be harmful, if not used in moderation or if someone has an addictive personality but the report didn't find porn to be consistently harmful the way, say, alcohol or cocaine can be.

Well, the powers that be didn't like that and tossed that report away. They commissioned a new report under Ronald Regan called the Meese Report, and this one was basically just a man on the street survey, and found that porn is a wily tool of Satan.

To this day, the Meese Report is what the American government reaches for when they want to tell its people that porn is harmful and evil.

This is what makes A Road to Conquer so interesting. It's extremely easy to see a future where porn is banned, forbidden, and a crime. We're rapidly heading in that direction already.

A Road to Conquer is about Karly, (played by Bebe Melkor-Kadior) to whom her grandmother (played by Cecilia Bellorin) entrusts to get her impressive porn collection out of the city.

Karly is joined by her friend Erin, (played by Claire Romain) and together they dodge cops and search for the Sanctuary, a place where people are free to express themselves.

This is hitting a little too close to home, isn't it? Schools banning books, crackdowns on Drag story time book readings, credit card companies turning their noses up at dirty but consensual transactions, Orwellian dictation on what we can or cannot browse online…

Hello, future us.

So, the premise is great. Perfect.

Unfortunately the execution is lacking. We are told they have dangerous contraband material but were never shown what dangerous means. We are given one radio announcer saying something about a crack down and a raid, and that's it.

I wanted a pervasive, persistent sense of dread, of eyes looming over Karly’s every move. See Something, Say Something billboards and fliers. Raids at nightclubs, or bookstores. Things that actually happened and are still happening.

I'm not asking much, just to be immersed in the world. Print out a fake leaflet about the evils of porn and stick it onto her windshield as she stuffs big boxes of porn into her tight, tiny mini cooper. Something! She has boxes of illicit material and she doesn't even have to go through a check point or toll booth or anything.

I've seen Sex Is A Crime narratives before and they can be done exceedingly well. Touch Crimes and Cafe Flesh are great examples of the concept but they both are drowning in style that drags you into their dangerous worlds. A Road to Conquer doesn't do that.

Kudos, however, for a timely film that is trying with a desperate ache to get its message across. At one point Karly looks right at the camera and rages against her world in a passionate screed. She declares that humans are made for pleasure and that intimacy is beautiful. I could complain that it lacks subtlety but fuck it, silence is complacency and now Row V. Wade is a thing of the past. Godly Priests and politicians continue to abuse kids but drag is being crucified.

Besides, this is the age of influences. We're all screaming into the camera all the time anyway.

Movies like this one are important, and that bumps this up a few notches because of its message but I just desperately wish the execution was better and the world more realized.

Since this film is all about the joys of sex, how is the sex? It's good, very enthusiastic and uninhibited. The film opens strong with a scene between Nat Portnoy, who is always intoxicating to watch, and Luna Corazon, and ends with a multi-body orgy in which Erin is video recording all of it, prooving once again that observation is participation.

A Road to Conquer is a cautionary tale, an impassioned warning, but it doesn't go hard enough setting up the world that it fears. Still, it's achingly important and I always have respect for erotic content that tries to say something.

Best Moment: The concept. It's current and frightening and has a message to share.

Worst Moment: The lack of world building. It didn't go far enough.


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

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