Matinée: An Erotic Film or Pornography?


By Lori Smith

Can an explicit film ever be truly erotic and not just pornographic? Are there some ways of making adult movies that will appeal more to women than men?  Lori Smith settled down with a copy of the erotic film Matinée to try and find out if it could deliver on its promises.

I used to quite like porn but, to be honest, it all seems rather 'samey' these days.  Many titles follow a formula for what type of action follows another and it can often seem a bit clinical and lacking in passion.  Pornography isn't merely a sexual to-do list and, when it seems like they're just following a check list as they make it, I end up fascinated rather than turned on.  So much for wondering "how does that fit in there?" and "how bendy?", I'm more likely to be thinking "where's my orgasm, dammit!"

Usually some form of plot is a sure fire way to make one porn title a little different from the rest.  However, you don't want so much that it becomes boring and detracts from the action.  That's where erotic film titles come into their own - no pun intended! - so I decided that I'd better check one out to see what all the fuss was about.  Would this just be porn masquerading as art, or was there more to it than that?  Directed by Jennifer Lyon Bell, Matinée has blurb on the DVD case that describes the plot in much the same way as any mainstream movie would:

"Stage actors Mariah and Daniel play lovers every night, but their onstage romance lacks spark. One slow afternoon, they discover that todayʼs matinée performance will make or break both their careers. Daniel wants to make big changes, and Mariah starts to wonder: are Danielʼs suggestions reasonable? Or has he lost track of the boundary between actor and character? Rushed to the stage, in front of a live audience, they must figure it out together."

Bell claims that Matinée is "a sexually explicit drama intended to bridge the gap between art film and sex film". Showcasing British actors in their first ever explicit sex roles, it features an original score and careful attention to capturing the real-life sounds of sex.  Of course, the word that stood out to me here was real.  Really?  No lack of narrative, abundance of waxed and brightly lit genitals in close-up or corny soundtrack and dirty talk?  Sounds great, but would it actually be a turn on?

The main thing that came across when watching Matinée is just how female-centred it is.  Our focus is on the female lead, her story and her climax, which makes a pleasant change from most adult movies.  The story's plausible, the acting's good and the tension builds well - by the time clothes are removed, it's exciting in the way that the first time with a new lover is.  That feeling of excitement and anticipation is tricky to capture and the fact that, in my opinion, they have done it makes it fantastic to watch.  The realistic quality of the scenarios and acting has elements of voyeurism so you almost feel like you're watching something you shouldn't be, which is very thrilling indeed.

It's all very safe and down-to-earth, but also incredibly erotic.  Basically, you get to see all stuff you'd usually see during sex - so there are glimpses of action below the waist rather than brightly lit explicit scenes that look more like a 'how to' - and much more focus on touching and facial expressions.  If you fancy something to watch that's a little more hardcore than most Hollywood movies, but with far more feeling than the majority of adult titles, you really should get yourself a copy of Matinée.

Lori Smith is the BitchBuzz Sex & Relationships columnist and is always on the look out for exciting things to share with you, dear readers. When she's not here, you can find her over on Twitter.

POSTED IN: CULTURE
Fri, 04 Mar 2011 18:00 (GMT+00)
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