Destricted - Censored film now acceptable? September 2010– Daily Beast

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Bringing together sex and art by some of the world’s most innovative and provocative artists and directors, this week’s Los Angeles Downtown Film Festival (launching September 8th) is shadowed by controversy with the screening of the much talked about art/sex film series -Destricted.”

Destricted is an art-based film where seven directors, including controversial director Larry Clark (Kids), and artist Matthew Barney (husband of popstar Bjork) explore modernistic views of sex, sexuality, and pornography in modern film. The film features seven short films all of which are explicit in nature. – After being banned in the US since 2006 – censors have finally allowed the film to be screened and distributed ---

While porn is now a mainstream commodity, its shock value challenged by over saturation and corporate marketing, the seven films comprising Destricted aim to explore and underscore a still vibrant polemic “highlight controversial issues about the representation of sexuality in art; opening up for debate the question of whether art can be disguised as pornography or whether pornography can be disguised as art.”

Rex Bruce, key organizer of Digital Art LA, a component of the Downtown Film Festival hosting the Destricted screening says the festival is the perfect vehicle to show the film.”I was approached by the Destricted people some time ago and have been waiting for the right time to screen it.

Bruce adds, “This collection of videos is finds difficulty screening venues due to their controversial nature, most museums and institutions will steer clear, though we have the kind of environment that will gleefully run it . In fact our initial screening sold out within hours, hence we had to arrange another screening to meet the demand.”

Formed in 2004, the Destricted brand is the first in a continuing series. Originally released in September 2006 in the UK, Destricted has subsequently won awards at a range of international film festivals, including Canne, Sundance, Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Locarno.

Following Destricted’s debuts at Sundance and Cannes in 2006, the film was banned from US release. Destricted became the most controversial and sexually explicit film to be released in art institutions and conventional theaters and stores in the UK, as the notoriously conservative British embraced Destricted as a celebrated work of art.

After four years the Destricted team amassed the necessary documents needed to clear the film’s US release, due to its explicit content. Finally, Destricted has met US guidelines and added four new shorts to the collection, bringing freshly stimulating angles the project. Destricted will finally reach a US audience via DVD distribution this fall.

Eight films comprise the Destricted screening at the LA Downtown Film Festival, each unique and visionary in their own right, they commonly explore the fine line where art and pornography intersect, highlighting controversial issues about the representation of sexuality in art.

Balkan Erotic Epic (Marina Abramovic): The first of the films features an observation of old Balkan Rituals. The movie's narration describes various sexual actions that members of the Balkan culture performed. Acts include a Balkan man drilling three holes into a small wooden bridge and simulating intercourse . Another portrays multiple men lying nude on the ground simulating intercourse with small holes in the soil in an attempt to help fertilize the ground before planting their annual crops. Hoist (Matthew Barney): Opens with a slug-like creature covered in leaves, dirt, and other debris. After some time the images begins to move and it becomes apparent that it is a penis and growing erect. There appears on the screen a large machine called a deforester, a wax coating is found its driveshaft A man from the beginning of the scene is seen rubbing his erect penis against the wax-coated drive shaft, ultimately he ejaculates on it.

Sync (Marco Brambilla): In the shortest of the short film collections, Brambilla presents a collage of pornography scenes from a large amount of various movies. Featuring quick edits and a drum soundtrack scenes are cut in a way where it can be perceived that one action is happening.

Impaled (Larry Clark): A young man, seated on a couch answers questions about his penis size, sex life, and the effect of pornography in his sexual mentality. Throughout the interview, multiple other males take his place answering the same questions. The interview of the males (shown one at a time) are interchanged as all of them strip nude in front of the camera. At the end of this interview process, the young man chooses an older actress who was willing to have anal sex with him.

We Fuck Alone (Gaspar Noe): We Fuck Alone holds a warning that a strobing effect is used and should not be viewed by individuals with medical conditions. The strobing effect last throughout. It portrays a young woman in midst of a masturbation session. She is watching a pornography film on the television as she lies on the couch. She eventually simulates oral sex using her large stuffed teddy bear. She shoves the bear into her exposed crotch. She climaxes.

House Call (Richard Prince): House Call takes a scene from an older 70's pornography film and replaces the soundtrack to it. It appears as if the movie is being played on an older television with the camera hovering directly in front of the screen. A voluptuous blonde woman lies in bed and a doctor appears. In the midst of the check-up, the doctor and patient begins to have sexual relations. This last until the film's end. Death Valley (Sam Taylor-Wood): Perhaps the most simple of the seven films, there is appears to be an empty and vast valley located in an unknown location. The camera never moves, but only zooms in and out. A young man appears walking into the middle of the open range. He begins to remove his pants and masturbate. The scene ends with the ending of his masturbation session.

The 2010 Downtown Film Festival L.A. will be held Sept. 8-12 in venues throughout Los Angeles’ historic core. Destricted will show at the festival’s cinema lounge on Thursday September 9. In addition to Destricted, more than 100 feature-length and short films – narrative, documentary and experimental – will be presented along with filmmaker Q&As, panel discussions, cocktail parties, live music events and receptions. More information can be found at

Written by Craig Stephens

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