The Drama of Porn Stars
Writer and Director Daniel Armando takes us onto the drama behind the closed doors of a porn studio. We meet four young men—shy and gay Manuel who with Max, an adult travels to New York City for a video shoot, Manuel’s older brother, Jorge who dances away the emotional toll of an abusive relationship and Fabian, a young Puerto Rican, hiding his homosexuality who deals with navigates the world of a first-time father. When the worlds of these four men collide, they explore the depths of their sexuality and find their lives changed forever.
Four young men, each somewhere near the crossroads where boyhood and adulthood meet, find their lives come together in the strange world of low-budget porn and male burlesque photo shoots in New York City.
Max (Al Miro) is a suave, handsome Italian living in Canada and who has become somewhat of a regular in the adult film scene. When he checks into a hotel before the shoot, he struggles to put his feelings toward his distant father into a letter. Max meets and exchanges phone numbers with Fabian (Joe Lopez), a Puerto Rican from Queens who has latent homosexual tendencies and is grappling with the challenges of becoming a father for the first time and hearing and learning some unexpected news from his own dad. Manuel (Jonathan Iglesias), a quiet but confident midnight cowboy from Arizona who comes to New York to shoot a porn scene with Max. While there, he reaches out to his older brother Jorge (James Koroni) from whom he is estranged and who works as a dancer and is in a loveless relationship with an very critical photographer.
Director Armando brings together themes of fatherhood, family, and manhood into a stylized, evocative, and highly erotic look at contemporary New York City and because the film is shot in black-and-white feels timeless.
This is the story of “four young men leaving boyhood behind and shedding more than just their clothes and inhibitions.” This is a meditation on same-sex attraction with plenty of suggestive male nudity. It is also a poetic meditation on fatherhood. We see and hear two brothers reminisce about their father’s disapproval over finding one of them dancing in their mother’s heels— something he still enjoys doing. a practice the grown up young man still enjoys. We visit the cruising spots of New York City like the Chelsea piers, we go into lonely hotel rooms, and sit on park benches, we see a bearded male dancer rehearse shirtless in heels, lovingly exhibiting and admiring his movements in the mirrors around him. The film also celebrated the male body and looks at what it means to be a man. This is actually acollage of character portraits of men adrift in the city.
Armando was interested in finding out who are the guys who go into this business. Because a lot of people just see them as these objects of sexual desire, we do not think of them in terms of how they get to this position to making these videos. He was particularly interested in their issues with their fathers. This is an intense look at a world we rarely hear much about.