Thursday, February 18, 2010

CineKink '10

I am a film buff. I absolutely love the cinema. I eat, drink, and breathe movies. I'm one of those people who prefer to go to movies alone. I sit dead center, sink down until my head is resting on the back of the seat and lose myself in some other world for a couple of hours in the dark. I love all kinds of movies, I'm not a snob about it. From M to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, from A Streetcar Named Desire to Showgirls. I'll see it all. Netflix is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

So I was pretty excited when CineKink came along. I went last year, but was only able to go to a few screenings. This time, I'm determined to see as much as I can. I'll be updating this post as I go along, putting in my two cents for what it's worth.

If you haven't gotten tickets for any shows yet, I highly recommend you do. Films depicting kinky folks in a positive and respectful light are too few and far between and these film makers need our support!

Day 1
It started off at the opening party with a screening of the 1964 short 400 Blow Jobs (get it?) by JX Williams. It's a light-hearted and lovely assemblage of stag films, stock footage and a smidgen of A Trip to the Moon. It's one of those rare pieces you just never see anywhere else and I'm so glad they included it in the programing. Also, screened was Sheep and the Ranch Hand by Loretta Hintz (2009), a clever and fun interspecies roll in the hay.

Day 2
The festival opener was S&M Judge by Erik Lamens (2009) and is based on a true story. I, like many people in the audience, was extremely touched by this film. First and foremost, it's a love story and one of incredible devotion. But it also shows how easily lives can fall apart when the judicial system enters the bedroom. It touches on issues with family, privacy, vengeance, and the DSM.

But along with the big issues, some of the loveliest moments for me were the scenes showing Koen and Magda as beginners, their foibles and nervous baby steps and the hesitancy from Koen, a reluctant sadist. There were many knowing laughs from the audience at various, "I've been there!" moments, but I didn't laugh. I got the insider jokes, but I was right there with Koen feeling the awkwardness, the disbelief, and the desire to please and protect.

If you weren't able to see it, got to the website and read up on the story and donate to the NCSF!

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to catch Body Modification Freaks by Mitutika Fuku (2009), but next up is the shorts program Kinda Kinky? and Waxie Moon by Wes Hurley (2009).

(Note to self: practice writing notes in the dark.)

Day 3
The great thing about the shorts program is that I now have a laundry list of new kinky to-dos. Kinda Kinky? was a nice mix of ethereal slices of life, comedy, drama, music, documentary and porn. You don't always need an hour and a half to tell a compelling story.

Some stand outs for me were Handcuffs by Erika Lust (2009), a gorgeous, super sexy, slice of voyeurism. Beautifully shot in soft colors, dim light, and beautiful clothes, it looks like a moving Ellen von Unwerth photo. Walking the Dog by Luigi Campi (2009) was a complex look at voyeurism, power shifts and kinky awakening. It's interesting how so many films about BDSM are all about its discovery. Libidoland by Julie Keck and Jessica King (2009) started off funny and sweet and morphed into an incredibly tense and frightening reminder that while we might call it "play", there can be very serious consequences. One of the more interesting aspects of this short was how our fantasies can move from the most extreme adventures to the most everyday comfort. The Great Humpkin by Stewart McCullough (2008) proves that sex in stop motion animation is both hilarious and hot and thanks to Balloons by Charles Nuckolls (2009) I really, really want to get inside a balloon. Seriously. If anyone out there in NYC does this, e-mail me because it looks awesome!

The full-length film for the evening was the documentary Waxie Moon by Wes Hurley (2009) and now I am completely in love! I've never even heard of the term "boylesque", but it's a great look at a truly innovative talent who tears apart traditional notions of gender in a primarily female dominated genre. His performances were nothing like I'd ever seen in burlesque before. They're strange, uncomfortable, dramatic, sexual and fun! A Julliard trained dancer in thigh-high platform boots, a shaved head, a horseshoe mustache sparking with glitter and pasties on his nipples is a man I want to know. I hope he does a show in New York because I'll be first one in line.

Day 4
Lured by the possibilities of a paying job, I am unfortunately missing a few screenings today. While it would be fun to watch Madison Young on the big screen, I like paying my rent a little bit more. But I did make two screenings last night and I should say that the quality of the feature films so far have been the best I've seen from CineKink.

I really liked Modern Love Is Automatic by Zach Clark (2008) because in essence it wasn't really about kink. Yes, it's the story of a woman who becomes a dominatrix and her model wannabe roommate. But really it's about two women searching for something in themselves and finding some of what they need in each other. As the ultimate control freak, the distant and disconnected Lorraine, is longing for connection and while terrified of emotion ultimately wants to feel... something. Her polar opposite roommate Adrian is the ever optimist, bubbly and lively, overcompensating for her immense need to be loved, to be beautiful and to be desirable. Lorraine hardly speaks throughout the entire film, it's her clothes and mannerism and habits that speak for her and watching her achingly slow crawl to a breakthrough was a little painful, but at the end it was worth it.

Swingers is yet another film about change and a woman's transformation through kink. I was pleasantly surprised. I don't know a lot about swinging. I'm not married, so I've never swapped husbands with anyone before, but I do know something about what happens when communication stops and insecurities creep in. I went in thinking it would be a simple film about a couples first time with another more experienced couple, but it ended up being a lot more complex. This "communication" thing us non-monogamous and poly people talk about isn't as simple as just "opening up". Sometimes it's not as easy to walk the walk and talk the talk.

So, I am going to go buy some Power Bars and take a nap and because there's lots, lots more tonight.

Day 5
I don't know how those folks at Sundance do it. I am kinky movied out! Yesterday I missed a few, but did catch the last two shorts programs:

Fixated featured some really interesting themes: a very moving film about man who gets off on footage from 9/11 called Coverage, an elderly woman's fixation with food leads to a renewed faith in love in Hungry for Love, and even a great middle-finger pointed towards the CEO of Goldman Sachs in Lloyd Blankfein Must Die.

I was less impressed with the line-up in Yes, Mistress. For me the films that had broader themes about life and relationships were more interesting than the films that were simply examples of people doing kinky things. The one exception for me was Anti-Samaritan Hotline, which was as funny as it was disturbing. I think Madison Young (Perversions of Lesbian Lust 2) is fantastic, but I can watch porn at home. I skipped the Bring It! series for that reason. Maybe it's because I don't watch a lot of porn and when I do it's maybe only 5 minutes worth.

This years CineKink was the best I've seen. I didn't love everything I saw, but as a whole the quality and diversity of films has gotten much, much better. What was really great was that so many of the film makers weren't into BDSM themselves! It's so good to see positive images of kinky people, not as villains or as comic relief, but as ordinary folks with all of the complexity as anyone else.

I was introduced to some great independent film makers, got some fun new ideas and was left with a lot to think about both as a kinky and a creative person.

So at that, it's a wrap!

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