“Pleasure” can’t get out of your head

There are detailed, varied sex scenes throughout pleasure, Ninja Thyberg’s feature film debut set in the Los Angeles porn scene, although none of them — the amateur shoot, the bondage and submission scene, the abusive threesome, the interracial video, the girl-on-girl setup — were shot that way was ever going to be called sexy. Thyberg, a Swedish filmmaker expanding on a 2013 short film of the same name, is not interested in sex as it ends up being consumed as spectacle in his finished product. Their focus is on sex as experienced as work by the people who make it, and like any workplace, a porn shoot is only as safe and tolerable as those in charge make it. At the beginning of their forays into the industry pleasureThe naïve but ambitious 19-year-old protagonist of Linnaeus (played by debutante Sofia Kappel) has a great experience during a woman-directed kinky scene in which she is tied up and humiliated by a co-star who talks to her between takes about his favorite mobile game.

She makes the mistake of assuming things went well because of the kind of sex she had rather than how safe and supported she felt. When she signs on for another tough job, this time with a far less communicative crew, the line between performing and attacking is blurred, leaving her a sobbing wreck. Everyone Linnéa works with is by definition a professional and pleasure examines the structures the adult film business has put in place to protect itself and its workers, such as the consent forms and proof of age that are required before videos are first shot. But although Linnaeus uses the term like a shibboleth, over the course of the film she learns that being a professional only gets paid, not that one is incapable of coercion or breaking boundaries.

Thyberg clearly wanted to create an unhysterical view of the industry and take on the challenge of criticizing structural issues without judging the idea of ​​having sex on camera. pleasure succeeds, albeit not for free. It’s a lucid treatment of porn coupled with a character study that never comes to life. Linnéa, who wants to pursue a career under the stage name Bella Cherry, feels more like a trailblazer in the business pleasure defined as someone whose decisions drive events. It’s not because of Kappel, who is incredibly playful and has a striking heart-shaped face reminiscent of Chloë Grace Moretz. But beneath all the bold theme, pleasure is a disappointingly standard, cautionary tale, showbiz tale about someone who pursues her dream of stardom with single-minded intensity, until she realizes the pursuit has turned her into someone she doesn’t like.

Linnéa comes to LA from Sweden to be the next big porn star, although her aspirations soon crystallize around the specific goal of becoming a Spiegler girl, a performer signed to top agent Mark Spiegler (who, despite some, doesn’t particularly flattering frame plays). A chance encounter with Spiegler’s newest addition, a haughty beauty with vintage pinup vibes named Ava (Evelyn Claire), gives Linnea something to work towards and a rival to defeat. While Ava seems genuinely unfriendly, Linnéa tends to try pick-me wisdom without having the conviction to back it up. “I’m not used to hanging out with girls,” she tells two male colleagues when describing the house she shares with other youngsters. “I’m not like the rest of these girls!” she insists as she gets in line with Spiegler on the phone. Despite her protests, it’s not long before her roommate, a feisty Floridian named Joy (Revika Anne Reustle), wears down her defenses and becomes her friend. Joy and her other roommates offer a promise of sisterhood that contradicts the lessons Linnaeus internalized about other girls as obstacles to overcome.

pleasure tries to leave Linnaeus as a kind of cipher, despite the cliché that someone needs a reason to want to do porn; She even teases a co-worker with a made-up story about child abuse before telling him, “I’m only out here because I want to fuck.” But a #fuckjantelagen hashtag and a frantic call with her mom (who thinks she’s a doing an internship) suggest someone who felt restless and suffocated by the community in which she grew up. She’s too specific to be an everywoman, but never quite as full, a character who hovers somewhere in between in a way that befits the film’s mix of clinic and occasional attempts at emotion. pleasure delves into the intimate details of various bodies assembled in the service of the audience’s desires – when the camera zooms in on shaved genitals, it lingers on the bloodstain that swells after a too-hasty swipe of the razor. But as a viewing experience, it remains detached and very much in its own head.

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https://www.vulture.com/article/pleasure-cant-get-out-of-its-own-head.html “Pleasure” can’t get out of your head

Lindsay Lowe

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