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When Art Porn Works   by Greta Christina

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From: Ecstasy in Berlin 1926

Produced, directed, and edited by Maria Beatty

(45 minutes)

For more pics and information on this film, visit: www.bleuproductions.com/berlin.html
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Reviewer Greta Christina has worked in and around the sex industry for over a decade writing about it, editing books about it, and living it. She edited Paying For It, a collection of articles by all kinds of sex workers: dommes, escorts, peep show girls, T-girls. She's got a novella called Bending coming out this July in Susie Bright's book Three Kinds of Asking For It (published by Simon & Schuster). In response to overwhelming member requests for reviews of sex toys, sexy films, and other sex whatnots, Ms. Christina brings her girl-about-sex wisdom twice monthly to Adult FriendFinder. You can check out Ms. Christina on her web site, www.GretaChristina.com. Here's what she has to say:

(Greta Christina)

Yes. Oh, dear Lord, yes. This is what I've been waiting for, what I'm always waiting for and so rarely get. "Ecstasy in Berlin 1926" is art porn that's actually both artistic and pornographic. It's smut that's exquisitely framed and impeccably timed and created with a passionate creative vision... and that is, at the same time, filthy and nasty and explicit, catering to my most perverted and degenerate voyeuristic lusts.

The movie is set in Berlin in 1926. A blonde beauty, sensual and delicate and a bit like Jean Harlow, injects herself with an unnamed drug, and slips into a fantasy about a dashing brunette woman who appears from nowhere and kisses her passionately, a gloved hand at her throat. The fantasy lover takes control with an increasingly firm hand, slicing the blonde's lingerie off with a straight razor, and caressing her breasts with a touch that's both sensual and sadistic.

As the blonde woman sinks deeper into the drug, the fantasy changes scene. Her lover is now clad in a corset and severely high laced leather boots -- boots for the blonde to grovel at and worship with her lovely mouth.



At this point, the fantasies become increasingly intense and perverse, as the submissive girl is bound with ropes, flogged, spanked, paddled, caned, whipped, chained up, and more -- all flawlessly pictured in her mind's eye.

The film is the love child of Maria Beatty. Beatty has produced and directed a number of erotic videos for her company Bleu Productions: most of them featuring lesbian SM, and many of them quite extreme. I've been a fan of Beatty's for years, and her kink videos "The Black Glove" and "The Elegant Spanking" are among my favorites. She has an eye for the perfect moment, the pose that perfectly captures the moment of submission or pain or taking control. "Ecstasy in Berlin 1926" is a beautiful example. When the blonde is bent over her mistress's lap, or on all fours in front of a mirror, or on her knees with her face on the floor and her ass in the air, the position is always classic, an iconic example of that pose, perfectly blocked and framed to make a delicious picture for the viewer.

But unlike many other "perfect moment, perfectly framed" porn directors (like, oh, say, Andrew Blake), the performers in Beatty's movies aren't merely standing and modeling. They seem like they're really there. The tongue on the boot, the paddle on the bottom, the lash on the back, the look of concentration on the dominant's face, the look of fear and bliss on the submissive's -- all of these feel genuine. The performers aren't thrashing and screaming, to be sure, but they seem very much intent on what they're doing, and deeply satisfied by it.



Maria Beatty is herself a lifestyle submissive, and she's clearly devoted to making videos that capture both the intensity of her fantasies and the truth of real SM play. And when she's at her best, her videos are an exceptional blend of artistry and authenticity.

And "Ecstasy in Berlin 1926" is definitely one of her best. Filmed mostly in black-and-white and sepia-tone with only occasional color, the movie's perverse pleasures are expertly filmed and deftly framed, giving it an air of luxurious decadence. Watching it made me feel like a wealthy sybarite in an elegant bordello, with lovely and expensive girls performing a series of degenerate sex acts carefully staged for my benefit. It looks like a German art film of the 1920s, like a dirty movie by Murnau or Fritz Lange, or like vintage porn photographs come to life. ("Ecstasy in Berlin 1926" was, in fact, inspired by a series of vintage girl-girl kink photos, and one of the extras on the DVD is a gallery of those photos.)

There are a few things you need to be prepared for. One of them is the slow pace of the film, the long, lingering buildup before you get to the "good parts." Personally, I think this is one of the movie's strong points: I think foreplay and teasing and excruciating anticipation are "good parts," some of the yummiest good parts, and one of my biggest complaints about mainstream porn is that it rushes straight to the fucking or the whipping without giving me time to get excited about it. But even if you do get impatient with the teasy buildup (which you can, of course, fast-forward through), I think you'll appreciate the movie's patience. Because once it gets to the juicy bits, it stays with them. It doesn't jump from fetish to fetish or from shot to shot like a music video on speed; it finds a groove and stays with it, letting your eyes linger on the leather boots being lovingly tongued, the chains being carefully wrapped around the naked torso, the bare bottom being paddled again and again. When you come to a bit that you really like, you can relax and trust that you'll be able to watch it for a little while.

You also need to be prepared for the complete lack of dialog. The movie is silent: there's music, but no conversation at all. Again, I personally think this is a huge plus; most porn actors can't act for beans, and most porn dialog makes me want to crawl under the sofa and die from embarrassment. In "Ecstasy in Berlin 1926," there are no awkward, wooden, ineptly written, clumsily memorized speeches to distract you -- the focus is entirely on the image. If what you like in an adult video is the image, this movie will come as a huge relief -- but if you're a fan of dirty talk, it may be a bit disappointing.

Finally, you should be prepared for the somewhat abrupt finish. This is my only actual complaint about the film. The blonde girl's fantasy scenes follow on one another with grace and heat, expertly edited and overlaid, building from firm but gentle dominance to increasingly intense scenarios of blissful pain and submission. But then they just kind of stop. There's nothing to mark the last scene as the last scene -- nothing but the credits. I don't insist on a classic Big Porn Finish, a final orgy scene with six guys shooting on the star's face and boobs. But I do like some sense of closure, something to give shape and context to all those beautiful dirty images, something that tells me to breathe again, or to come. This video doesn't have it, and it's a bit... well, anticlimactic.

But this is a minor nitpick, really, like ragging on Dickens for having a spelling error. I love this film, and I recommend it passionately. "Ecstasy in Berlin 1926" is that rarest of all rare creatures: art porn that works, where the filthiness makes the art more beautiful, and the art makes the sex more hot.

To see more on this hot film and other works by Maria Beatty, Visit: www.bleuproductions.com/berlin.html