Pornocracy Details the Fall of the Adult Film Industry
Documentary investigates the corporate porn multinationals
The porn empire is dead. Long live the porn empire.
"We have never watched so much porn as we do today, and yet the porn industry is in its death throes," says French filmmaker Ovidie, whose documentary Pornocracy details the fall and odd transmogrification of the worldwide adult film industry. "In 10 years, free streaming sites based on the YouTube model have become responsible for 95 percent of global porn consumption. The world of porn is becoming prisoner to giant IT platforms that thrive off of pirating and are led by executive directors that have no contact with the labor at the end of the chain. This film exposes the 'Uberization' of work that is now so extreme in the adult industry."
Pornocracy attempts to pull back the mask of the new world of porn, and discovers at first a bunch of computer geeks, then former Goldman Sachs brokers driven purely by a craving for money. One man interviewed in the doc suggests the main business isn't porn, but the moving of money from one country to another – old-fashioned money laundering.
"There is an unrestrained capitalism that allows large murky companies to crush their workers, in pornography like any other industry," Ovidie says. "There is a generalized misogyny in society that is reproduced onscreen in an exacerbated manner. There is a global economy that allows companies to shield themselves in tax havens without anyone batting an eyelid."
Ovidie has her own history as a porn actor, something she does not find at odds with her self-definition as a feminist. "Having sexual intercourse is by no means sexist, so it follows that filming sexual intercourse is also by no means sexist," she says. "The beginning of the Eighties saw the introduction of feminists and/or queer activists who decided to use pornography as a means to film their own visions of sexuality, and to stamp out stereotypes. This type of pornography exists; it is certainly a minority, but it exists nonetheless."
The documentary grew out of Ovidie's encounter with the new porn frontier. "One day, completely by chance, I discovered that when typing my name into Google that certain pirated videos featuring me in them were on 'Tube' sites, and it was impossible to get them taken off," she says.
Her concerns go beyond the theft of intellectual property. There's the matter of the accessibility of porn now by minors and the hardships placed on sex workers who must perform more extreme acts to make a living. "It is very abnormal that porn should be so freely accessible to children from their smartphones," she says. "The average age of discovering porn is 11 years old; this must not continue."
She adds, "Pornography is nothing but an exaggerated reflection of society. It re-creates vulgar images of what we live with on a daily basis in other fields: sexism, the Uberization of work, and exploitation of workers. There is no bad guy. We are all responsible. We are much more responsible than we allow ourselves to admit."
DOCUMENTARY SPOTLIGHTSunday, March 12, 1:30pm, Vimeo Theatre
Monday, March 13, 9:30pm, Alamo South Lamar
Wednesday, March 15, 9:30pm, Stateside