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In a Paris Pornplex, Gay Men Get Off Watching Straight Sex

Morose flaccidity: Porn Theatre
photo: Strand Releasing

The original title of Jacques Nolot's Porn Theatre is La Chatte à Deux Têtes (The Two-Headed Pussy)—a misleading appellation considering most of its lonely characters would prefer a nice, juicy cock. In a Parisian porn house that doubles as a drag queen hangout and gay cruising area, the eponymous skin flick plays to an inattentive audience of men prowling for men. "Why don't these faggots see gay films?" barks one cop during a perfunctory raid. Kudos to Nolot for leaving that question unanswered, preferring merely to spend quality time with his anonymous voyeurs and their queen bee—a brassy ticket lady (Vittoria Scognamiglio) who rules with an acid tongue and a nonjudgmental eye. There's plenty of blowing, jerking, and coming, but the overall tone is one of morose flaccidity. Knowingly antiquated in a world of Internet porn, it taps into the sepulchral undercurrents of communal spectatorship (and offers a taste of Tsai Ming-liang's similarly themed, NYFF-bound Goodbye, Dragon Inn). In its own quiet if overly studied way, Porn Theatre mourns a time when, for better or worse, we could all get off together.


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