Monday, March 21, 2016

This X-Rated documentary is a LABOR OF LOVE

Director(s): Robert Flaxman and Daniel Goldman

Vinegar Syndrome / NTSC All / Unrated / 1.85:1 Widescreen / English Mono / 67 minutes

Extras: Q&A with co-director Robert Flaxman / Original Theatrical Trailer


In 1975 Iranian cum Chicagoan filmmaker Henri Charr–whose erratic resume contains horror, women-in-prison and even kids movies–wanted to make an exploitation film about prostitution but with a twist; the escorts would be male. But that would make his backers a little nervous so to hedge their bets on their investment, they introduced the caveat that Charr's The Last Affair would have to include hardcore sex scenes. Initially they wanted at least 60% but he talked them down to 20% of the movie that had to contain the scenes. But there is another problem; none of the actors and actresses are porn stars.

So documentarians Robert Flaxman and Daniel Goldman (both of whom never really did anything else of note) got wind of the production and set out to get the behind-the-scenes scoop on what could be very interesting and dramatic. Luckily for them, it was just that. Charr's interactions with his cast and crew are very entertaining. There is a scene in The Last Affair were a very young girl has to have sex with an old man in a father/daughter fantasy and things don't go well when the girl freaks out. The actor in the scene is interviewed afterwards and seems both sympathetic and a little creepy. My favorite situation is when an actor couldn't get it up because he hated his co-star and the owner of the house where they were shooting fills in.

 A Labor of Love is a must for exploitation and adult film geeks. It's one of those documentaries where the premise is original and the execution is spot-on. The movie never lingers on an interview too long or overstays its welcome on any one situation. Sometimes documentaries can take themselves too seriously and become just too damn boring. A Labor of Love is more often than not an amusing look at the trials and tribulations of a regional filmmaker, this one just happens to be about getting "legit" actors and actresses to fuck on camera. There is a 36 minute Q&A with Robert Flaxman included on this DVD from Vinegar Syndrome at a film festival where he fields questions from a moderator and the crowd. It's a look behind the scenes of a behind-the-scenes documentary.

It's releases like this that have made Vinegar Syndrome a favorite company of mine. They not only are putting out quality releases with great production values, but the obscurity of their titles is fresh air in a business that can sometimes become stale with re-releases.

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