CINEMANIA

Ardente·x·s, a hot documentary about ethical porn 

Summary

J’ai eu la chance de visionner en primeur Ardent·e·s, réalisé par Patrick Muroni, dans le cadre d’un partenariat avec le festival CINEMANIA, et je vous confirme que c’est chaud bouillant!

This article is presented by the 29th edition of the Francophone film festival CINEMANIA, which will take place from November 1st to 12th, 2023.

Ardent, ardente [aʀdɑ̃, aʀdɑ̃t] adj. (French)

  1. On fire.
  2. Which produces intense heat.
  3. fig. Full of ardor; very lively, intense.”

Relying on the word’s definition, we could say that the documentary Ardente·x·s lives up to its name. I had the chance to preview this feature film directed by Patrick Muroni as part of a partnership with the CINEMANIA festival, and I can confirm that it is steaming hot!

In this fiery protagonist-filled documentary, we are following OIL Productions, a queer collective based in Lausanne, Switzerland, which makes ethical, dissident pornographic films.

Porn movies like no other

For OIL Productions, what does it mean to make ethical and dissident pornographic films? Throughout the documentary, we see the members of the collective take various measures to ensure that filming takes place in the best possible conditions. An actor wants a break mid-wank? We grant him a pizza break. Unwanted spectators approach a nude performance? A human barrier—clothed—is created without a word in order to protect their nudity.

For OIL, feelings of safety are combined with those of pleasure, and this union is inseparable from ethical pornographic films production. During a conversation between two members of the group, it is even mentioned that the notion of safety, or of safe spaces, is what makes OIL stand out from other unethical pornographic production companies. For the collective, it is important to create an environment in which performers feel safe and comfortable and where they are encouraged to experience pleasure in complete trust of the production team.

And it doesn’t stop there! For OIL Productions, ethical and dissident pornography involves constant communication between collective members—and with performers—in order to comment on and evaluate the filmed scenes. Throughout filming, collaboration is continuously built between all parties involved. The resulting films then become something akin to participatory erotic works of art. Spoiler alert: I found this work environment to be hot af.

What is also interesting in Ardente·x·s is seeing how members of the collective adopt a queer and inclusive approach to the production of their films. All bodies, desires, and exchanges of bodily fluids become objects of pleasure and activism. Whether we follow the members to a protest, to the cheese shop, or in the middle of a sexual performance, sexuality is approached liberally; no taboos here! All this tongue liberation was super exciting to see on screen!

Hot and steamy pornography without violence

The documentary explores the intimacy involved in the production of pornographic films, both in everyday life and in the spotlights. The members of OIL also discuss their relationships with pornography and how these have evolved since the collective’s creation, whether in terms of the frequency of their porn consumption or some of their negative beliefs surrounding pornography.

Throughout Ardente·x·s, we sense a real desire for erotic liberation on the part of OIL. Sexual depictions may or may not be realistic, as long as they arouse viewers’ feelings of excitement.

Throughout the documentary, OIL Productions shows us snippets of hot and steamy scenes in which we discover various forms of BDSM practices and power play, but sexual excitement and pleasure are never paired with violence.

Videos depicting domination without violence are so few and far between on my favourite porn sites, that it was a delight to see such practices in Ardente·x·s. I’m not going to lie: it also raised questions for me about the ethical side of the pornographic videos that are easily accessible online…

Ironically, it’s not always fun to adopt an activist approach in the world of porn. Members of the collective mention notable difficulties in disclosing their work to those around them, talking about it in the media, and funding their video productions, which are carried out on a small scale.

Ardente·x·s is clearly a documentary you need to watch this year at CINEMANIA. The documentary will be screened at the Cinémathèque québécoise on November 2nd at 8 p.m. in the presence of director Patrick Muroni.

As one OIL fan wrote on Facebook: “You have to see OIL’s films, it’s an unforgettable sensory experience.” I can confirm, without a shadow of a doubt, that Patrick Muroni’s documentary is no exception.

If reading this article has piqued your curiosity about the world of pornography, this episode of À quoi tu jouis? addresses pornography consumption and its underlying myths.