In The Struggle For My Attention, Porn Wins

Today, most of the New Yorkers I know were out taking pictures of The Gates.

We, on the other hand, were taking in a movie. A documentary, actually. A porno documentary.
Yes, we trekked to the one screen in NYC – the Sunshine Landmark Cinema – showing Inside Deep Throat. (There seems to be this issue in NYC where high-publicity indy films – Closer, Assassination Of Richard Nixon, and the one today – are only playing on one screen. I still don’t quite understand why.)

The movie covered here, Deep Throat, remains one of the most notorious porno films of all time – made at a time while such movies regularly had to feature doctors giving sexual instruction, so the film could be passed off as “educational”. For those really unfamiliar with the plot of the movie, Linda Lovelace’s character allegedly has her clitoris oddly located at the back of her throat, and the only way she can find full satisfaction is…well, you can guess from the title.

The documentary focuses on the whole progression of how Deep Throat affected culture, from the mainstreaming of porn to the many indecency trials revolving around the movie. It’s a pretty remarkable story, where hundreds of regular people were lining up around the block in Times Square (and the country) for a porno flick.

As a documentary, it’s very well grounded. Narration by Dennis Hopper is minimal, and there are no occasions where you hear the interviewer posing questions; the monologues from the key players and celebrity commentators really drive the story along. They are often allowed to play off each other, leading to some amusing quasi-dialog. Everyone gets their licks in on both sides, including a number of FBI agents and prosecutors.

All in all, it does what a documentary should – it informs, it pulls you through all the major emotions (amusement/joy/sorrow/anger), and it entertains. Katie and I both enjoyed it a lot, and recommend it if it’s playing in your area. I should note though, that the movie IS rated NC-17 for some full frontal nudity as well as a good 30 seconds of the deed described in the movie title; it would’ve been a bit of a cheat not to show it after so many of the people involved in the movie described it as an amazing act.