There first

Presenting The “Slavesex” And “Pain” Movie Series ( at the 2008 Berlin Porn Film Festival)

It’s very easy to be kinky in 2008: there are clubs, associations and dun- geons for rent; there’s an ample and very varied filmography, covering just about any kink you can imagine; there are websites to educate and entertain you, made by real practitioners for genuinely interested people. But there was a time, not long ago, in which being into very intense kinds of love, like BDSM or extreme fetishes, was very much a niche thing. In the early eighties, the beginning of the golden era of VHS (and the shift from movie theaters to VCRs), fetish cinema was very underground. Video cameras were still low quality and most of the porno sold on VHS tapes was still shot on film.

Porno at the time was mostly fiction based, it had a plot and – unfortunately – actual acting bits. The editing, and sometimes dubbing, was often so extreme (and blatantly unlikely) that it was hard to get any feel for the situation: lousy dialogue, genital close ups, screams, the customary cumshot (not yet facial) and little else. Some german producers, like Dino, sometimes inserted some different action (like anal, pissing, or light BDSM) in mainstream features just to spice things up.

Two of the first widely distributed BDSM series, Slavesex and Pain, were spoken in German, and mostly featured a couple, plus occasionally someone else. Their screen names were Anita, or Anita Feller, or Martina S (for Sklavin), and Master Günther. It’s very difficult to gather informations about dates, but i believe it was in the early eighties. These movies were radically different from anything else on the market at that time, as far as I can tell. They had no music but strictly live sound, little or no editing, almost no close ups but much wider angles; they weren’t shot on movie sets but in what looked like a well equipped dungeon. The people weren’t “actors”, and you could tell right away: which porn actress would be hanged by her tits – and look like she’s into it? The movies obviously showed a dynamic, a relationship, and an action that would probably happen even if the camera wasn’t there. The shooting style was more documentaristic than porno, and it would occasionally zoom in to capture faces, not crotches. The overall package, from the stark boxes to the bare credits and the abrupt ends, smelled like underground, although it was very obvious that these people weren’t post-punks, didn’t listen to heavy metal or wear rubber in public: they were very much into BDSM, but regular people otherwise. It’s hard to calculate the impact of these films on the BDSM scene, but i believe it’s huge. At the time, this was the only credible BDSM one could see in action, comfortably at home, even in smaller towns; and if it’s true that porno educates (or miseducates) people about sex, this is 10 times true for the so called niche porno. So one could guess that they showed first what BDSM (and more) was about to a large number of people in the world (including myself).

Anita/Martina then moved on to a brief but very varied solo career, appearing in quite a few German and Dutch productions during the second half of the 80s/early 90s (again, it’s very hard to gather informations on dates). She never did straight porn thou: her parts were always fetish, or outright kinky. Sometimes extremely so. There are movies, both in the Slavesex/Pain series and in othe productions, in which she per- forms things that probably had never been filmed before (including genuine tears and kisses on the cheeks – unheard of in porno), and some of those performances still hold as extreme after so many years (eons, if you consider the digital revolution). But this lady had class to burn, a style which to me is still unsurpassed today; at times she did look kinky, very extreme, even way over the top, but never gross or sloppy, or even nasty: she looked extra natural, just the way it should be. This woman’s filmography reads like a history of alternative sexuality of the last 15 years – but 15 years before.

The two films presented here belong to the early Slavesex/Pain series. They are shown as an example of seminal porno, as amazing films in their own right and to give credit and visibility to authors that pioneered an imagery that is very, very much in fashion in 2008 – but that they devised 25 years ago.

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