Friday, February 14, 2014

A Labor of Love (Vinegar Syndrome DVD) - How to Make Love... or A Movie About Boning

First off... HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!! What better way to say I love you than a review of a Vinegar Syndrome feature about making the love. 

A Labor of Love is ironically titled because what about fucking on camera is actually about love, but I’m afraid that it’s also just about as accurate as a documentary about the making of an X rated feature from 1975 could be. Vinegar Syndrome has given us a unique look into the golden age of adult cinema though not necessarily though it’s primo effort into the old in-out features. Like most of the other adult entertainment releases put out by the great V.S., there are moments of intentional and unintentional comedy, but more or less we are looking at a time capsule. We shall never see a moment in the history of adult cinema quite like we are allowed to witness in A Labor of Love. It’s the grimy side of gorgeous. It’s what happens when you let the highly smut-able grindhouse out of the film can and show the wizard painting on each frame… with fluid. This is part art, part dirt and part laugh.

Synopsis from Vinegar Syndrome:

In the winter of 1974, a naive independent filmmaker based in Chicago found funding to make his first feature, to be titled “The Last Affair.” The one stipulation mandated by his financial bakers was that the movie needed to include hardcore sex scenes. A LABOR OF LOVE documents the ensuing heart felt and earnest attempt to create an X rated movie


While this is an intriguing release, and it will keep your attention, it’s not entirely the movie you want to see. What I mean by that you might prefer to be watching the making of a more serious adult feature (thinking of Misty Beethoven or maybe the making of a Dark Brothers feature). Still, the hijinks and accidental moments of real truth about what happens when real people turn into actors is humbling and, even more so, watching them turn into sex machines gilded for love is about as bold as watching young folk imitate apes. Our bodies are pretty funny things when we stop and allow them to be the simian forms they are. Imagine gorillas with cameras and bananas in all the wrong places. The jungle is a laughable place and so is life in front the porno eye.

More or less the thing I took away from A Labor of Love and The Last Affair, the subject of this documentary, is that adult filmmaking really is filmmaking or at least it was before the digital age created a web camera under every toilet seat. When actors are chosen for being true professionals rather than simply the willing meat in front of the lens, you get well-crafted smut. When you take the willing and able and cram them onto a frame, you might as well go to the goddamn zoo and laugh rather than cum.

This feature is fairly short, 67 minutes long. It contains the original theatrical trailer and a video interview with one of the directors of A Labor of Love, Robert Flaxman (the other is Daniel Goldman). While Daniel Goldman only worked on this feature, Robert also worked on Japan (2008) as a producer and edited Suburban Roulette (1968) and The Magic Land of Mother Goose (1967). These were not men who created a plethora of works that became notable. They created one movie that captured the under belly, dick and vagina of an industry perhaps at its most innocent and vulnerable.

Note: 1.85:1 AR

If you want to take a look inside more than the private parts of the female lead, you can pick up A Labor of Love from Vinegar Syndrome.

-Doc Terror

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