“If pornography were high school, we would be the goth table.”
Produced by actor James Franco and directed by his frequent collaborator Christina Voros, the simply titled Kink is a behind the scenes look at the legendary San Francisco Armory, where they talk to porn directors, producers and performers that shed light on the many real and positive aspects of the BDSM lifestyle and help demystify the traditional perceptions on the bondage community.
The film was met with positive reviews when it screened at Sundance in 2013. Last summer it premiered in a limited theatrical run in selected cities around the States, but this time the movie has been made available to a much larger audience through the streaming-media provider Netflix.
Franco had shot some scenes for a previous (mainstream) movie of his at the Kink studio, a giant castle-like building that a century ago used to function as an armory and arsenal for the United States National Guard. Kink.com purchased the Armory for $14.5 million in late 2006, and they not only use it as a huge (and ridiculously appropriate) set for the videos they’re well known for, but also host public daily tours of the Armory, conduct sexual education workshops and provide social forums.
Many people’s preconceptions about BDSM are shattered once they get acquainted with the actual community. Director Voros wasn’t the exception; she was a bit apprehensive about the subject at first, until Franco talked her into having a meeting at the Armory. After that, she was in.
“The people that I met were really bright and really funny and really driven and very creative and incredibly relatable,” Voros said in an interview. “I found myself fixated on how somebody ends up in that world as a director; what drives someone to become a director in pornography? I walked away from that first meeting knowing that there was an incredible story there that a lot of people don’t see and don’t expect to relate to and thought it would be fascinating to take this sort of foreign world and make it relatable.”
While there’s a lot of nudity throughout the film, there are no actual sex scenes in it. This is not a porn movie, but an exploration of a truly iconic place — the biggest BDSM studio in the world — told by its insiders, an enthralling community that deserves to be explored.