As a writer and editor of erotic fiction, I’m a big fan of sexy stories. Written erotica is at its best when it has the freedom to build characters, emotions and motivation before the inevitable sex scene, allowing the reader’s imagination to colour the scenario with fabulous detail.
Alas, the same can rarely be said for porn films. If the creators bother with any kind of plot, it’s often arbitrary and shallow. The “story” usually exists only to throw together flimsy reasons as to why people should fuck. There might be 3 minutes of “plot” before the inevitable 20 minutes of sex.
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Cabaret Desire, the latest film from Erika Lust, is different. Here, the story is the main attraction. The film features stories about sex, to be sure, but the sex is part of the journey, not necessarily the ultimate goal. In switching the focus to the more traditional filmic aim of telling a story, Erika Lust shows us just how good – and how arousing – porn movies can be.
Cabaret Desire is set in an uber-trendy Bohemian salon called the Poetry Brothel. Patrons pay the poetry “whores” to tell them erotic stories. As the cocktails are served and the cool jazz continues, we settle in to hear four different sexy adventures, each told via means of a voiceover and luscious cinematography. We meet a queer woman having simultaneous affairs, a woman with a full-body gimp outfit and a passion for theft, a young woman given a tantalizing birthday gift and an estranged couple meeting for a fresh date. Each story quickly introduces its characters but doesn’t stint on building atmosphere and tension. When the protagonists have sex, you know exactly why they are doing it and how they feel about it. Naturally this makes it a more compelling experience.
The sex itself is hardcore but doesn’t linger on gonzo style shots. Indeed, the editing is just right. You never get bored with endless pumping.
The sets are sumptuous, the lighting and cinematography high-class, the music stylish and well suited. The actors are natural, good looking in their own way and never stilted or self-conscious.
In short, I really enjoyed Cabaret Desire. It’s like collection of women’s erotic fiction with an added visual element, beautifully told and executed with an artistic flourish. I am a fan of Erika Lust’s work and I think this movie is her best yet. Certainly it raises the bar in terms of what can be accomplished with erotic film. I watched it and wondered how I can ever make porn this good. I guess the best I can do is try.
You can download or buy Cabaret Desire at Erika’s site Lust Cinema.