Documentary Days: After Porn Ends

AfterPornEnds_Documentary_Poster

I know I’m going to get some weird traffic with the word “porn” in my blog title, but that’s the name of the movie, so that’s what I’m writing. This one was an odd choice, but a good one. It’s something that I added to the list for nights when I’d need to get The Man to agree on my movie choice (he’s not that into documentaries, so I knew I’d need something different to entice him). And it was enticing, alright – lots of skin, lots of awkward scenes, and from where I was sitting, lots of sad stories…but there were good ones, too.

I’d venture to guess that this movie would probably appeal more to people who have any idea of what’s going on in the porn industry, or what has gone on in those kinds of films for the last 30 years. If you’ve never watched anything like that, you’d have no idea who the people being interviewed are. I’ve only ever watched one movie, and was bored out of my mind with it, so I had no clue who these “stars” were.

The documentary is broken up into conversations with a number of different male and female ex-porn stars, and manages to capture a wide section of lifestyles pre/during/post sex trade. The people they interview are old and young, single and married, some seemingly irrevocably broken and others mostly well adjusted. The Man remarked to me at one point that it was 50/50, with half of them living tough and scared, and the others getting on with their lives after porn. To me, it seemed pretty much like any other random selection of folks you’d talk to in the rest of the world. Half of us have our shit together, while the other half are still figuring it out, or maybe just failing for good.

I enjoyed seeing some of the older stars talk about their careers and share their current lives with the camera. One man has a happy married life and lots of artsy hobbies. A once-gorgeous older woman talks proudly of her screen career, and happily talks of first meeting her husband, now an elderly man. Another plastic-y woman bemoans her inability to get a job, and talks about battling cancer. About 3/4 of the interviewees have used or abused drugs of every kind. One woman talks about locking herself in the bathroom with a bag of coke, and another gets out of porn to quell her addictions, just to get back into the business with her husband. One woman runs for governor of California, and another lets fans photograph her crotch. Yes, I said “crotch.” I’m KNOW I’m going to get some weird spam this time.

This is one of those movies that doesn’t teach you anything you didn’t already know. Almost all of the women got into porn because they were broken and abused beforehand. The men got in because it was easy and paid money. No one got out unscathed. The industry leaves an invisible yet still indelible mark on its participants; there’s no such thing as being anonymous. Even when one ex-star runs away to the middle of nowhere, Utah – she’s accidentally identified by her kids’ Google-happy preschool teacher. Hell, even I know who they are, now, and that’s saying something!

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2 thoughts on “Documentary Days: After Porn Ends

  1. Phil Lengthorn says:

    Sounds interesting. I watched a great documentary by Louis Theroux about the porn industry about ten years ago and he recently revisited the people he met in another documentary. Really interesting.

    • Anna says:

      I’ll have to look those two up – I find the subject matter alien, yet fascinating (or maybe fascinating because it’s so outside of my realm).

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