‘Pornocracy’ follows the changes in porn world

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Nate Glass, from Takedown Piracy, an atiu-piracy agency, discusses porn sites with Ovidie, the director, in "Pornocracy." Credit" Magneto Presse

“Pornocracy” takes a look at the porn industry from a self-described feminist perspective, so you might think it would be anti-porn. Not so fast.

The director is France’s one-name phenomenon and so-called “porn-star intellectual” Ovidie.

In a Q&A from the press kit, Ovidie describes how she Googled herself one day and found “certain pirated videos featuring me in them” and that they were on “Tube” sites, and that “it was impssible to get them taken off. “Some of the videos were from films I performed in toward the end of the ’90s, films that only had a few hundred copies made — they had suddenly resurfaced and been seen by upwards of several million people,” she told interviewer Jason Whyte.

If you’re wondering about specific examples of such “Tube” sites, one such site, Ovidie contends, is called “pornhub.”

By the time of this discovery, Ovidie had moved into film production and direction, with lots of studies and research devoted to erotica, which eventually led her to complete her dissertation. So Ovidie began to collect information about sites, and it turned into an international investigation as well as the new documentary.

The essential point of the documentary is this: that websites showing amateur and pirated clips have transformed the way porn is made and consumed — and that a group of programmers have hijacked the adult industry to creat a multinational corporation that has a big influence on the international industry.

So, what has been the influence: Ovidie contends that traditional porn studios are closing, and actresses “are forced to shoot increasingly hardcore scenes for less and less money and protections.”

It’s a challenging documentary, and it doesn’t address head-on some of the feminist criticism of porn. Instead, Ovidie thinks that pornography should not be left purely in the hands of men.

“Pornocracy” will not please such feminist critics. Then again, SXSW has always been about stirring up controversy and presenting different points of view. With “Pornocracy,” the festival has succeeded.

“Pornocracy” screens again at 9:30 p.m. Monday at the Alamo South and 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Stateside Theatre.


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