PFF Review: 9 To 5: DAYS IN PORN

There is not that much titillation to be found in the German documentary 9 To 5: Days In Porn. Sure, there’s an occasional flash of nudity, but that’s part and parcel of the fact that this is a look at the porn industry and the people who populate it. Culled from a year’s worth of filming, director Jens Hoffmann takes us on a tour that reveals that the business side of the adult film industry’s particular brand of show is surprisingly normal as any other office job and perhaps even a bit dull at times. But the film itself is about as sexy and erotic as a glimpse behind any other industry would be, that is to say, virtually not at all.

Moralists and their ilk will probably be distressed to learn that the documentary doesn’t present the adult stars as a bunch of strung out junkies or naive waifs lured into the business as they stepped off the bus from middle America onto the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Instead, the adult stars interviewed give various reasons for entering the field, none of which involved coercion. Some definitely are in it for the quick money that they can earn. But rising star Sasha Gray seems the most considered, offering some thoughts on how she sees pushing boundaries in her own adult film work as a method of empowering women to fully explore their own sexuality. No matter what their reasoning, though, their eyes are open about what they do, the limited amount of career time they may have in front of the camera and where they might go afterwards.

One former porn starlet is Dr. Sharon Mitchell, who used some of the money she earned in the industry to set up the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation. Now one of the leading industry watchdogs, Mitchell illuminates us for us the regular health testing that all porn actors go through and describes the steps that would be taken if a performer was to test positive for a sexually transmitted disease. If her statistic that the STD rate in the industry is 12% less than that of the comparable age-range of the general population is correct, then they must be doing something right.

Sure there are a couple of sleazy characters that pop up – Yes, talent agent Mark Spiegler we’re looking at you – but a majority of the people in the industry are just working stiffs, if you’ll forgive the pun. One small producer has his mother handle all the shipping of his product. On porn film sets, there is as much standing around and waiting while technicians set things up and make adjustments as there is on more mainstream film sets.

The film also poses some interesting question pertaining to people’s consumption of the porn industries product. With $12.7 billion in revenue, there is no denying that there is consumer demand for porn, though Adult Video News publisher Paul Fishbein suggests that the market may have reached an oversaturation point. But is the industry’s increase in producing more extreme product a side-effect of producers trying to put out films that will stand out on overcrowded video store shelves or is it just a greater recognition of what consumers, i.e. society, secretly desires? It’s also acknowledged that the internet is currently transforming how consumers access pornography, so it is possible that 9 To 5: Days In Porn might also serve as a snapshot of an industry on the verge of transformation.

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About Rich Drees 6724 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture.
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