If you want to sell tickets at a GLBT film festival, calling your movie Pornography probably won't hurt. But your sucker-punched audience may call for refunds since this film is neither about porn nor is it particularly sexual (a few fleeting full-frontal shots notwithstanding). Still, since the dictionary definition of pornography includes "having little or no artistic merit," the title is unfortunately apt.
I have to imagine that Writer/ Director David Kittredge., who makes his debut with this film, was more interested in mood than in a sensible narrative since the latter is M.I.A. I'd love to be able to provide a plot summary, but I'm not quite certain what was going on up there. A highly paid porn star is lured back to the business and then, apparently snuffed. Some years later a writer fixates on the actor's disappearance and tries to learn the truth. I got that much. After that? Indecipherable. Also inaccessible, inert and ultimately intolerable. It becomes clear that not everything we've seen is necessarily real. And then we get a bit of the supernatural thrown in, too. And a non-linear structure. Confused? You're not alone.
If it was indeed mood Kittredge was trying to capture (at least I'm hoping there's an explanation for the writing), the film fails on that score, too. There's a lot of darkness and grit but that feels more the result of budget constraints than intent. The actors, who include Matthew Montgomery and The Lair's Jared Grey can't really be faulted for the fact that the spend most of the film looking uncomfortable. Committing to characters with dubious intentions (let alone existence) is no enviable task. But at least the marketing people know what their doing; with a name like Pornography audiences will watch for at least fifteen minutes or so.
Pornography screens at Outfest on Saturday, July 18. For tickets call 213-480-7065 or visit outfest.org