Thursday, April 30, 2009

Oruba Reveals What's Behind The Green Door


I never figured myself as one who'd take the untimely death of a pretty righteous woman as an opportunity to watch 70's porn. The journey of life is about finding new things about yourself.

The reason for my interest in Behind the Green Door is that I knew nothing about it. My ignorance had been bugging me for a week before I finally succumbed to my curiosity. Why didn't I know about one of the two main movies behind the Golden Age of Porn?

I'm well aware of Deep Throat despite never having seen it. The movie about the woman who's clitoris is in the back of her throat? Who doesn't know the premise behind that movie? That's a name that brought down a president. But what is behind the Green Door?

It took a week because I had to overcome my unease with watching a dead woman have sex, but I'm glad I gave in. Quite a pleasurable experience I must say.

What is behind the Green Door? A fantasy world constructed to sate your carnal appetite. If I may apply the bullshitting skills I acquired in Film Studies 101, I would say that the Mitchell Brothers, obvious students of Hitchcock, use the color green to the same effect as Hitchcock, to symbolize desire. The door of course is a portal from the Real World to the World of the Watched. Behind the Green Door, like Hitchcock's own Rear Window is commentary, meta-commentary even, equating movie viewing with voyeurism.

All bullshitting aside, I was surprised at the overall production. It seemed not far from a low budget, non-sex movie of the period. I think Linda Lovelace was onto something believing that pornography would merge with mainstream movies. More on that later.

I patiently waited almost 20 minutes for the sexing to start and watched everything straight through. This is a rarity. I skip through porn. Under normal circumstances it would've taken 15 minutes to watch all of Behind the Green Door. The difference was the way the sex was staged. Porn has settled into a formula long ago. Foreplay (if any), Oral, Position 1, Position 2, Position 3, Cum Shot. The End. This was different. Organic. As if what we are watching is the process, the actual lovemaking, rather than the outcome.

Maybe this will make me take back my previous statement. Maybe porn can be art. There's a theory of art, conceived by R.G. Collingwood that states art is process focused. His thinking is that if you're outcome focused, what you're making is classified as a craft. Like making a table, or a basket, or a poster advertising something or other. You could make the case that contemporary porn for the most part is like cabinent making. Art is a process by which the artist attempts to make real an intangible idea, feeling, or impulse. The physical outcome is never in his head, only the Platonic Form he is trying to represent. I don't completely buy Mr. Collingwood's theory, but Behind the Green Door does fit quite nicely into this description.

A few particular things I like:
  • The first Boy/Girl doesn't end with a cumshot, but with her orgasm. That's mind blowing! That would be pioneering shit even if it happened today, nearly forty years later.
  • The cumshots that are shown last seven minutes and given an avant garde feel.
  • That has to be the classiest gangbang I've ever seen. Guys in tights with the crotches cut out; Trapezes; A Greek chorus of sucking, licking, caressing women in the periphery dressed in black; a beautiful woman in the center of it all who sincerely looks like she's enjoying herself and not in pain or in some cracked out frenzy, or reliving some heart wrenching childhood experience.
As I watched Behind the Green Door I marvel how different it is from today's porn. I wonder what happened. How did we get to where we are? Was it Reagan pushing it underground? Was it the advent of VHS and the camcorder? Was it the subsequent decline in production values and the capitalistic need to push out a mass produced product?

I couldn't help thinking of Brave New World. The people of that world go to what are called "feelies," porn movies shown in theatres where all the attendees feel the sensations of the actors onscreen. The stories behind the "feelies" are abysmal. It's the communal aspect of the feelies that got me thinking. Many people saw Behind the Green Door in the theatres. With other people. Packed houses, I am told. I think at that point we reached a juncture in human history and went one way instead of the other. Perhaps there's a split in the space-time continuum, and an alternate universe exists where Linda Lovelace's prophecy did come true. Where Porn and Mainstream movies did merge. Where porn theatres weren't only populated with perverts and cruisers. Maybe AIDS doesn't exist in this world. Maybe women are our complete equals there. Maybe Jerry Falwell choked on a sandwhich when he was 12. Maybe it was Ronald Reagan who was snitched on to HUAC and blacklisted from Hollywood, running for governer California an insane pipe dream for him much less president. Maybe the people of that world look back at Behind the Green Door as the harbinger of a Golden Age.

I do have one gripe, not a huge one. Why does the first black dude I see look like a Zulu warrior? Well at least Marilyn didn't tell him to fuck her with that nigger dick.


Sigh

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