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PornFilmFestival Blog: Refractory period

Alas, all good things must come to an (or in the) end, and all that's left for our intrepid ex-porn-plorer Walter Crasshole to do is lie back and enjoy the refractory period... and maybe get some reflection in, too.

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Schnick Schnack Schnuck

Much like after male climax, I’m in a period where I can hardly do anything – a consequence of the rush of sensations brought on by the PornFilmFestival and all its glory. It’s those brief moments where you’re almost immobile, incapable of activity, even writing a blog, as you’re both exactly sure and completely unsure of what just happened. You only know that it was great. And that clearer thoughts will come soon. But here goes anyways.

Berlin got to immerse itself for five days in the amazing Moviemento for 135 of the most engrossing films out there about sex and sexuality. And five days is a long session. But it was five days of bliss. As I reported in my last blog, atmosphere and attendance were just as important as the films, because what’s any film festival but a way to put celebration and cinema together? This year there was a lot of that, with over 7400 tickets sold and a wicked and naughty party on Saturday night at Prince Charles.

Of course, even though the final celebrations were last night as the winners were announced at a joyous closing party, if you didn’t make it to the festival (which you should have; it’s practically a Berliner rite of passage at this point), here’s what you should watch out for, or at least be aware of the names that are making waves in sexually progressive cinema:

Best short film: Pandora Blake’s “Houseboy”, a lesson in how to get your houseboy to do it right and how to keep jealousy from tearing your disciplined home apart. A special mention went to Berliner Katy Bit’s beautiful “Last Call”, featuring Sadie Lune doing a great double role as afternoon lush and horny voyeur, then participant.

Best documentary: The section on sex and disability was a welcome addition this year and it brought with it accessible screenings in Südblock, down the street from Moviemento, as confirmation that the PornFilmFestival is for all people. It was from this section that the best documentary, Antonio Centeno & Raul de la Morena’s Yes, We Fuck, came from. The film is an episodic and intersectional look at sex and various disabilities, exploring it through discussion and performance.

Best feature: I admit I was a bit puzzled by winner Gustavo Vinagre’s Nova Dubai (“new Dubai”) when I first saw it. The Brazilian film certainly has an unconventional narrative and some daring and impressive imagery: in short, a film made by a man with an interesting and brave vision, but maybe not for everyone either. I also admit, there is such a thing as film fatigue and as the last film I saw on Saturday night, it’s possible I was a little low on my daily stamina at that point, too. Absolutely worth checking out to make up your own mind on, I’ll be giving it another view as well.

Best director: Maike Brochhaus for Schnick Schnack Schnuck – I’ve mentioned the opening film a couple of times already – and it was clearly on a lot of people’s mind at the fest. Many had something to say and all of it pretty positive. But to top it off, the film is just a damn good time, so do yourself a favour, grab a lover and get down with it.

Lifetime Achievement Award: I also mentioned Hand in Hand (the US gay porn distribution company of the 1970s) before, and editor Bob Alvarez was one of the brilliant minds behind some wonderful, wonderful classic porn. Of all winners, if you’re not an enthusiast of the genre, it might not exactly hold your attention, but those that see porn as cinema just as much as other genres of film are in for a real treat if they can find the films Alvarez was involved in.

So if you weren’t there, you’ve still got something to look forward to. You can also catch additional screenings at Moviemento for a few of the more popular favourites, like Marit Ostberg’s buzzed When We Are Together We Can Be Everywhere on Tuesday night. Just check the Moviemento website for that and more.

For me, the refractory period is now ending and I’m ready to go again. Unfortunately, we all have to wait another year, but sexually and cinematically speaking we can call that delayed gratification. For now, here’s to the 10th year, PornFilmFestival Berlin!