The Pornographer DVD

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An art house movie that asks questions about the morality of art both on and off screen, The Pornographer is a hard-hitting yet strangely unmoving film. Very much a product of the French school of intellectual cinema, the filmmaker of the title is Jacques Laurent (played by Jean Pierre Leaud), a one-time director of adult films who, finding himself down on his luck, is forced to return to his old medium. Far from being a gaudy Boogie Nights style exposé of an unknown world, the film focuses on Laurent's inner turmoil and his rapidly disintegrating relationship with... his wife, as well as his restored one with his son Joseph (Jeremie Renier). Director Betrend Bonello handles this material well, if overdoing the art house clichés a little, but the problem with the film (or for some its strong point) comes with the fairly hardcore sex scenes, presented as part of Laurent's movie. While intended to reflect the emptiness of the character's soul, it is hard to see past them as just an attention-grabbing device. Then again, can a film about pornography legitimately not feature sex? One suspects that this debate will run and run and, in its way, The Pornographer has much to say on the subject. On the DVD: The Pornographer's intended release fell foul of the BBFC, who objected to one particularly explicit scene, a continuing argument that provides much of the material for the DVD's extra features. There is a reproduction of the BFFC ruling, a statement in reply from Bonello (which demonstrate the similarities he shares with his fictional counterpart, certainly when it comes to a vision of erotica) and an excellent essay from critic Pierre Perrene. In addition there are biographies, the cinematic trailer and an option to view the film with or without English subtitles. Whatever the moral questions involved, Bonello's film is a visual treat and his stylish eye is well represented by this format. --Phil Udell [show more]

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Released
23 September 2002
Directors
Actors
Format
DVD 
Publisher
Tartan Video 
Classification
Runtime
110 minutes 
Features
PAL, Subtitled, Widescreen 
Barcode
5023965338327 
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New Wave acting legend Jean-Pierre Léaud stars as Jacques Laurent, a famed pornographic filmmaker from the 1970s who comes out of retirement to make a new film and pay off some debts. Working in a large country house, Jacques starts shooting scenes for the film but soon comes into conflict with his producer over the way he is handling the material. It seems that Jacques' old school style might be out of touch with the more brutalised approach common at the start of the new millennium.

Jean-Pierre Léaud stars as Jacques Laurent, a former pornographic filmmaker who returns to the industry in this hard-hitting drama from director Bertrand Bonello. Having enjoyed a 20 year hiatus from the industry since the 1980s, Laurent finds that it has changed enormously since his halcyon days. Struggling to recapture his former passion-filled cinematic feasts of erotica, the reluctant director is forced to film hardcore scenes that eschew tender human emotions, and instead concentrate on raw, violent, and explicit sex. Meanwhile, he tries to patch up his relationship with estranged son Joseph (Jérémie Renier), who stopped speaking to his father after learning the nature of his business, but is now supportive of him as he tries to recapture the magic. A thoughtful film that tackles a number of pertinent issues, THE PORNOGRAPHER is a wonderful character study that tugs viewers into its world and doesn't let go until the final credits have rolled.

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