Lesbians and Porn
I just heard from Mike Stimler at WaterBearer films that he is releasing the revived edition of “Kamikaze Hearts”. Originally made in the 1980’s, the film is a documentary about actresses/filmmakers/lovers Sharon Mitchell and Tina Mennett who are spiraling downward. Now the film gives us an inside look at the lives of Sharon and Tina (Tigr) as they try to come to terms with their lives and their relationship while they work in the skin trade at demanding jobs of exposing themselves on the screen in an industry that demeans those who work there. The women lead gritty lives of sex, drugs and personal conflict as the camera show us.
The film is distressing and contestable and distressing and educative at the same time. Juliet Bashore directed it and in 1986 it was released. Sharon is an older woman who is cynical and yet a seasoned porn star. Her lover known as Tigr is newcomer to porn and uneasy about it and drugs are very important in her world. The film deals with body modifications, feelings and emotions and life. Bashore’s camera is witness to certain events and stimulus and catalyst to others. The downside of this is that we can become confused about the women’s relationship to both the film and each other. Nevertheless what we see is something we rarely get to see—the dark side of porn and its deconstruction as well as the taking apart of the relationship of two women.
Bashore looks at the status of women in porn and then leaves us to draw our own conclusions. The camera serves as providing a viewpoint but it is also, at times, a peeping Tom. Our sympathies move back and forth between the two women. Sharon (Mitch) tends to hog the camera and she speaks about the fulfillment that porn provides for her while Tigr is less superficial. This is Mitch’s film who comes across as a woman who is empty and whose life has been turned inside out. She is tough and she is a study in contradiction.
This is not an easy film to watch but the rewards for watching it are many. We are lucky to have it back again.
- Posted in: GLBT Film