Sex Shop Cinema: Puppet porn, butter-for-lube and more (NSFW)
Whether you are a raincoat-wearing heavy-breather, an academic seeking fodder for educational frottage or a run-of-the-mill cineaste, beware: You had better be of age and hope the city authorities do not bust up this festival. The Denver Film Society has curated a lineup of erotic films sure to fan your flames of desire and debate -- so grab your favorite lube and check out our handy guide to the eleven films in the DFS Sex Shop Cinema.
1. Last Tango in Paris (1972)
If you want to see Marlon Brando in a butter-for-lube, anal romp with Maria Schneider, a notorious cinematic moment shrouded in controversy and decried by both performers, look no further than Bernardo Bertolucci's morbid, sex-stained art-house classic Last Tango in Paris, in which desperate, anonymous sex fails to cure a death-driven, existential crisis.
2. Boogie Nights (1997)
In memory of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the FilmCenter has added Paul Thomas Anderson's second feature film to the Sex Shop Cinema roster. Boogie Nights, based loosely on the story of porn-star John Holmes, is a star-studded exploration of Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) and the drugs, drama and gargantuan penis that helped him fly toward the sun and plummet to the gutter.
3. Bud Townsend's Alice in Wonderland (1976)
Do not bring the kiddos when you venture into this rabbit hole; Bud Townsend's Alice in Wonderland is definitely not the Disney classic. In this soft-core porn musical, Playboy cover girl Christine DeBell stars as Alice, a virginal librarian opening her mind and spreading her legs for a song-tastic sexual education from the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, Tweedledee, Tweedledum and, yes, even Flesh Gordon.
4. The Sarnos: A Life in Dirty Movies
Wiktor Ericsson double-stuffs the documentary The Sarnos: A Life in Dirty Movies with scenes from sexploitation master Joe Sarno's artful, erotic films. These pornos are as moody as they are steamy; it is no wonder that Annie Sprinkle dubs Sarno the Ingmar Bergman of porn. This documentary, worthy of its subject, depicts Sarno at life's twilight: tender, hopeful and sexually charged.
5. Johnny Minotaur (1971)
If any Sex Shop Cinema film might provoke city authorities to shut down the festival, it is Johnny Minotaur. Narrated by the late North American Man/Boy Love Association member and poet Allen Ginsberg, Johnny Minotaur is a surrealist, homoerotic film featuring watermelon masturbation, group showers and young men -- very young men -- doing what young men do. Legal? Dubious. Scandalous? Absolutely. "It's a brand-new print that the Museum of Modern Art had commissioned," says Denver Film Society programming manager Ernie Quiroz. "When they had it made, they didn't know what it was. Some of the museum higher-ups took a look. It had some very risqué scenes with young-looking boys in homoerotic settings. They decided not to release it, and we're going to be one of the few venues to show a new print of this film."