A Pornographic Affair


Directed by: Frederic Fonteyne
Written by:Phillippe Blasband
Starring: Nathalie Baye, Sergi Lopez, Jacques Viala, Paul Pavel
Released: September 21, 2000
Grade: A-

Culture is something one never fully appreciates until you experience that of another.  We sit and watch the constant surge of movies from home and the States and comment on their freshness and originality.  A Pornographic Affair is from France and is indicative of what we in Australia are missing out on.

The film stars Nathalie Baye as a lady in need of having her fantasy fulfilled.  She’s been with many men in the past but none have satisfied her ultimate dream.  Determined not to let it escape her, she submits an ad is a pornographic personals magazine and waits for a reply.

That reply comes from Sergi Lopez and the two agree to meet at a cafe.  After small introductions, the two head to a nearby hotel room where they disappear.  The two continue for months, meeting every week and escaping to the seclusion of the hotel.  Everything was “good”, until things got complicated and the two find themselves falling in love.

A Pornographic Affair is a superb film for what it doesn’t tell us rather than what it does.  Hollywood films are always compromised by studio executives thinking the public has a single digit IQ.  Movies are oversimplified, contain no thought process and wrap up in a nice neat package.

It is the intrigue factor that makes this film worth watching.  There is a man who interviews the two all during the film and listens to them as they comment on the relationship.  We never see who he is or why he does what he does.  The names of the two lovers are never revealed as they never during the whole film refer to each other by name.  And then, there’s the question of the fantasy...

This is what storytelling in the real world is all about.  Two characters dominate the entire 80 minutes and there is no room for any other characters.  Romance stories are churned out every week in cinemas but this is totally different - it’s enchanting.

Winner of the best actress award at the 1999 Venice Film Festival, A Pornographic Affair is a film to be seen to be completely understood.  Disregard the misleading title because this film has more plot than any “porno” could provide.