Sunday, September 25

‘Pornomelancholia’, the loneliness of the porn actor brings the second controversy to San Sebastian


Another pilot puppy has touched the Zinemaldia San Sebastián Film Festival. If the controversy of Sparta —Ulrich Seidl’s film on pedophilia that was canceled in Toronto due to accusations in a journalistic investigation of having violated Romanian child labor regulations during its filming—, the contest has experienced its second controversial film. Is about pornmelancholy, Manuel Abramovich’s film that arrives preceded by the accusations of its protagonist, the porn actor Lalo Santos, of having felt unprotected during filming, both in the psychological section, and during the sex scenes. Santos decided not to present the film, which competes for the Golden Shell.

The issue was complicated when other cast members responded to Santos himself also on social networks. The porn actor Chacalito Regio, who also participated in the film, assured that he did not see any of the “abuses” that Santos spoke of. “I think several colleagues either. On the contrary, you were superb with us, you hardly spoke to us and if the production did something, it was to give you special treatment, ”he added on Twitter.

Abramovich did decide to go to San Sebastián and the controversy has not gone further, especially after the film was screened and compared to that of Sparta. What remains is a film that wants to analyze the loneliness and state of mind of a gay porn actor in times of Instagram and social networks. pornmelancholy it defines its intentions from its own title, wanting to be both an analysis of the porn industry and an x-ray of its main character and absolute protagonist, present in every shot of the film.

An interesting proposal, also formally, always playing with what is left out of the shot. Abramovich hints rather than teaches. His camera always cuts the shot to avoid explicit sexual scenes. Despite his decision, his portrait of the industry is sordid and decadent, although without reaching the capacity for depth and criticism that the excellent series had. Adult Material, whose gaze was much more powerful.

What is shown here is that almost all of the people who decide to act in porn do so because of a precarious situation or because they consider that it is an easy door to fast money. Poorly paid jobs, expelled from the system and people who can’t make ends meet who see in sex and in their bodies a possibility of escape. His characters dream of the life that has been promised to them, with even succeeding in the world of porn internationally, which is why they even suggest saying expressions like “fuck me” in English so as not to focus on the Spanish-speaking market. Not only is there the porn industry, but also how it has affected social networks. Twitter, Instagram… Internet as a window for the body.

pornmelancholy there is also an ironic point in that portrait, which deals with the shooting of a movie that tells the story of Mexico, with Emiliano Zapata having sex with Pancho Villa and making the heroes of the revolution two characters in a gay porn movie, although not He ends up getting the most out of ideas as powerful as that erotic film director who believes himself to be Buñuel and who even quotes That dark object of desire to shoot a scene in which Zapata has sex with himself.

Combining elements more typical of the documentary, along with others closer to fiction. It was a process of testing and experimentation.

Manuel Abramovich
Film director

The director is right in his game between reality and fiction. Lalo Santos plays Lalo Santos, and his Twitter and social media accounts are real. Even the gay film by Zapata and Pancho Villa is real, but through them a fiction is built that borders the limits between truth and representation in a skillful and intelligent way and that manages to speak naturally about HIV, porn and a generation absolutely lost.

Where it fails is in the portrayal of depression, of a person whose state of mind is fundamental to understanding him. The austerity in showing it makes it difficult to understand where he is or his decisions. Try not to verbalize and underline, but it would have been necessary to emphasize it more, since sometimes it seems only to point it out without going deeper.

That makes the two themes of the film each travel on their own. They do not finish linking the portrait of porn and that of the character’s depression. Each one travels independently, leaving a bittersweet sensation. pornmelancholy It proposes interesting topics, but it never finishes centering and solidifying them. Perhaps such a topic would have needed less ‘subtlety’ to really shock.

In an interview with Variety just before presenting the film in San Sebastián, Abramovich made it clear that it was not a documentary about Lalo Santos, but “a film made with him.” “During the process we talked about all these issues and turned them into scenes. Combining elements more typical of the documentary, along with others closer to fiction. It was a process of testing and experimentation that was only possible thanks to our complicity and the support of the team. This was our starting point and permanent return to build ways of collaborating together”, said the director.



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