What’s Up, DOC NYC? Kink

kinkpostContinuing our look at DOC NYC, the New York City documentary film festival, another film I saw was Kink. It’s a feature-length documentary about the Kink.com Web site.

I chose this film in part because I don’t think it will be appearing on TV anytime soon (it had some pretty graphic scenes). Plus, I’m a big fan of the pornographic films they make, even though I had never even visited their Web site – let alone paid to see any of the material. In fact, I was kind of hoping I’d learn how they make their money. There was a scene illustrating the business side of the business (an unintentionally amusing snippet from a staff meeting in which, looking at the sales charts, the boss asks if the spike in the “bound gang bang” segment’s revenue might be “seasonal,” as if there was a season for such things). But the mystery remains as to how these companies – given the proliferation of free content on the Internet – actually make money.

kinkogoClearly, though, there are plenty of people who do pay to see stuff on their Web site, as opposed to people like me who stumble across it on other sites for free. And, as I learned more about the people at Kink.com and saw the scene behind the scenes, I’m feeling a little guilty about not having paid to see their wonderful work.

If you ever get a chance to see this documentary film, I highly recommend doing so. It’s a fantastically honest, positive look at BDSM and porn, at least the way the folks at Kink.com do it. As I said, I’ve always enjoyed their product, and now I’ll enjoy it even more after getting a glimpse behind the scenes. It was interesting, informative, and occasionally insightful. And, at times, very funny – though not always intentionally so.

KinkmoryFor example, in the middle of one of their “bound gang bang” shoots, they stopped filming for a moment to adjust something. The actors started talking about cakes for some reason, and one of the guys told them about how his 9 year-old son doesn’t like cake so for his birthday he wants a tower of doughnuts surrounded by a pile of bacon with whip cream on top. Of course, the doughnuts had to be vegan, and the bacon organic, because the kid is contentious about what he eats. Now that would be a funny conversation in any workplace, but in the middle of a break-in gang bang scene, well, that’s a whole different level.

In the end, Kink illustrates that things aren’t always what they seem. The porn industry isn’t completely full of vapid bimbos and manipulative vermin. The folks at Kink.com come across as quite intelligent, grounded, and focused on producing quality entertainment of a highly erotic albeit hardly universal variety. And what you’ll see behind the scenes only increases your appreciation of what they put on your screens – whether you pay for it or not.


The Sarnos
Another documentary I paid to see was The Sarnos: A Life In Dirty Movies. Again, I feared I would never get to see such a film on television. But clearly I wasn’t familiar with maverick filmmaker Joe Sarno, because what he did could be considered relatively tame by today’s standards.

SarnopostSarno made artsy softcore in the 60s and 70s, writing and directing more than 75 features. And when you consider that each of his films had a genuine plot and characters, not to mention a distinct look and feel that gives one the sense of an auteur at work, that’s quite an amazing achievement for a two-decade career.

The documentary features a number of film critics and historians praising the style and singularity of Sarno’s work. Though, after seeing the first few clips from his films, I was already hooked – and sold. I had never even heard of Sarno, let alone seen any of his films, but I am now obsessed with finding them.

But The Sarnos is so much more than a celebration of an “erotic noir” filmmaker. The documentary is really about the relationship he and his wife had. And, dare I say, it was really quite touching. I won’t spoil anything, but I felt quite privileged to attend the screening I did. Given the nature of the film, I was looking around at my fellow audience members before the show, and was surprised by what a cast of characters they were – and mostly elderly at that. Once the film started, though, I realized that I was basically sitting among many of the cast.

If you ever get a chance to see this documentary, I encourage you to do so. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. And if you ever get a chance to see any of his work, I encourage that as well. I know I will try to track some down.