review of BAD GIRLS - women who direct porno films

Steve Fesenmaier (
Tue, 28 Jan 2003 09:42:30 -0800 (PST)

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Review for COUNTERPOISE magazine by Steve Fesenmaier

58 mins. 2002. Cinema Guild.

This is the best film ever made about sex-positive women – at least,
those that actually make and watch pornography. Sandy Berman made a key
point last summer in a letter to Library Journal – why don’t American
libraries distribute films like “Debbie Does Dallas?” They are very
popular, selling thousands of copies, and have received very positive
reviews. Are libraries the last bastions of Puritanism in America? I
think not – as shown by the recent overthrow of CIPA by a federal court,
ruling against computer filters on libraries. This film interviews
American and foreign women who have made sexually explicit films – films
that are top award winners at Cannes and in America’s bedrooms. I for
one am extremely glad that finally women filmmakers have been able to
show their genitals, just as men have during the last two decades.
Thanks to Prez Clinton, John Wayne Babbett, AIDs and other social forces
and stars, the penis has been liberated from the closet. This film, more
than any documentary I have seen, liberates the vagina from its closet,
and hopefully will liberate people to finally realize they are indeed

As one expert notes, after “Last Tango in Paris” came out, there was an
expectation that there would be more explicit sexuality in films aimed
for the advanced adult market. Unfortunately, this has not happened, and
not until three French women filmmakers - Catherine Breillat, Coralie,
and Virginie Despentes – has there been a first-rate art-house film with
honest sexuality portrayed. This film covers the world, from Lars von
Trier’s porno division in Denmark to the world-dominating,
billion-dollar industry outside Hollywood in the San Fernando Valley.
The director of this documentary is Marielle Nitoslawska who believes
that porno itself should include female sexuality. “Bad Girl” uses
explicit clips from many films including Breillat’s first film, “A Real
Young Girl”(1976) that was just released on DVD in the US in 2001.
Briellat has won numerous awards for her breakthrough films including
“Romance”(1999), “Fat Girl”(2001) and most recently “Sex is
Comedy”(2002). She has become the most interesting filmmaker in the
world if you are interested in adult realities.

Annie Sprinkle, Benoite Groult, Jane Hamilton, Luce Irigaray, Nina
Hartley, Dr. Carol Queen and many other women give valuable commentary
on female and male sexuality in our age. This is not to say that only
women are interviewed - men inside the porn industry, French art-porn
director Jean-François Davy who made “Exhibition” way back in 1975, men
at Lars Von Trier’s Zentropa Studios, and others also comment on this
controversial world that has made librarians fear their own computer

I would like to see a parallel film on the on-line sex world that may be
even bigger economically and certainly more accessible. This film does
interview the first French woman to set up her own sex site on the web.
Returning to Sandy Berman, who has been an intellectual freedom fighter
in America’s libraries for more than three decades, it is peculiar that
American librarians have seldom fought for inclusion of sexually
explicit books, videos and other materials in their libraries but now
are forced to fight for inclusion of sexually explicit websites. Of
course, there are those Minneapolis librarians who have won their case
about being harassed by sexually explicit websites at work. Porno,
bomb-recipe websites, neo-Nazis websites – all of it is available easily
on the web. I think that the web is FORCING American librarians and the
American public to GROW UP, face the reality of their bodies, and the
reality of widely differing ideas. Who knows – maybe the next generation
of American librarians will finally buy DEBBIE DOES DALLAS and other
sexually explicit materials, letting teenagers and others borrow those
items like they borrow the pabulum published by the American book

Hopefully all US graduate library schools, and indeed, all US colleges,
will purchase this outstanding videotape, and show it to their students
in the appropriate courses. It is time for the world, and America, to
GROW UP, reject its Puritanical traditions, and discuss sex. The current
world of Sexual Prohibition has only allowed the California billionaires
to control the sex film market globally. Women, people in all countries,
different ethnic groups – all need to literally make their own video
dreams about sexuality. I myself have always wanted to make a film about
hot sex in Appalachia…..oops, that’s right…there is such a film –

The Cinema Guild is pleased to announce the release of BAD GIRL.
for both Women's Studies and Cinema Studies collections, this film looks
women in the pornography industry. Not about actresses abused by the
industry, but about women who are directors and producers who create
films. Buy a copy of BAD GIRL today and get our related film OUR
OUR MINDS, about women in the sex industry who consider themselves
feminists, at a discounted price!

In a Los Angeles film studio, the cameras roll on an X-rated film, and
the director's chair sits a woman. In New York and San Francisco,
created by women market hard-core videos to the female consumer. In
women filmmakers such as Catherine Breillat produce critically acclaimed

films shown worldwide but which some call "pornographic." One of the
popular porn websites in that country is the creation of a woman. In
Denmark, a woman directs the new "Pussy Power" porn subsidiary of Lars
Trier's Zentropa film company. These women are claiming the right to
pornography-made by women for women. They reject the censorship called
by feminists in the Seventies and demand the freedom to explore their
desires in sexually explicit films. Are they simply businesswomen who
their share of one of the most lucrative film and video markets? Are
avant-garde feminists? Advocates of new sexual relationships? Featuring
selected film clips and interviews with feminist authors, filmmakers,
anthropologists, sexologists, porn producers and activists-including
Williams, Luce Irigary, Benoîte Groult, Catherine Breillat, Nina
Carol Queen, Annie Sprinkle, Virginie Despentes, Bernard Arcand, and
Hamilton, among others-Bad Girl gets down and dirty with women who, from

Hollywood to Paris, from Cannes to Las Vegas, from Montreal to San
Francisco, are giving pornography a new name. (Note: This video includes

sexually explicit scenes and is intended for mature viewers only.)
Directed by Marielle Nitoslawska
2001, color, 58 mins., VHS
Purchase: $295 Rental: $95

Purchase BAD GIRL at full price and get OUR BODIES, OUR MINDS for
half-price!!! Don't miss out on this opportunity for great savings!
ends July 1, 2002)

This provocative video examines the relationships between contemporary
feminism, free speech, and the sex industry. Filmmaker Rebecca Alvin
interviews a variety of sex-positive feminists, women who stress
of sexual diversity, the freedom to express one's sexuality and
the rights of sex workers, and the importance of making sex-related
information available. Those interviewed include Sex Worker editor
Priscilla Alexander, sex work activist and former prostitute Carol
peep-show stripper and labor organizer Siobhan Brooks, sex educator and
co-owner of the Good Vibrations sex-toy store Carol Queen, porn-film
superstar Nina Hartley, erotic filmmaker and former porn actress Candida

Royalle, and peep-show performer and dominatrix Mistress Delilah. These

women discuss stereotypes and myths about sex work, their actual work
experience, labor organizing issues, pros and cons of their profession,
legal and censorship issues, their differences with traditional
and how their choice of work affects family relationships. In providing
uniquely female perspective on the sex industry, Our Bodies, Our Minds
is an
important contribution to the ongoing controversies surrounding
and freedom of expression in America. (Note: This video includes some
and occasional profanity.)
Directed by Rebecca M. Alvin
2001, color, 68 mins., VHS video
Purchase: $295 ($147.50 with purchase of BAD GIRL)
Rental: $95

*** ".provocative.Alvin's unflappable expose retains a uniquely female
perspective and manages to debunk many social myths and stereotypes.for
bold exploration of a controversial topic, this is recommended for all
's studies collections."-Video Librarian

".a rough but thoughtful 60 minutes of slut-power evangelizing that
fit well into a Women's Studies curriculum."-Bizarre Magazine

"More than 20 years after feminists broke with their proscriptive
to advocate whatever women wanted, they're still pushing the envelope.
Our Bodies, Our Minds, Rebecca M. Alvin interviews seven cheery,
sex workers who defend their occupation."-The Chicago Reader

* Free previews are available for purchase consideration.
* Visit our Website at for our complete collection
to order online.

To purchase or for more information, please contact:

130 Madison Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10016-7038
Phone: (212) 685-6242 or (800) 723-5522
Fax: (212) 685-4717

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