Interview: Director of Porn To Be Free, Carmine Amoroso

July 30, 2015
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Interview: Director of Porn To Be Free, Carmine Amoroso

“I realize now that even today the word ‘porn’ scares,” said controversial director Carmine Amoroso, an Italian filmmaker in the final stages of bringing a groundbreaking documentary about adult entertainment to the public. Porn To Be Free, the latest film from Amoroso in a career of narratively innovative pieces, delves into the sexual revolution from the 70s and 80s, following the genesis and proliferation of the porn genre.

Porn To Be Free, which tells the stories of many of the people who made sexual advances in society possible, is a completely independent project. Amoroso did not turn to any broadcaster or institution to fund the film, instead launching crowdfunding campaigns to bring his accounts of sexual repression and liberation to the world. Currently, the creative team behind Porn To Be Free has an Indiegogo campaign available, which ends in a few days, so the time is now!

For supportive contributors and casual viewers alike, this film carries great importance, and could spell greater understanding of a part of culture generally kept in the dark. Its scope is vast, and takes the viewer on a journey from all over Europe to the valleys of California, showing the trials and tribulations of people that faced taboos and fought to use pornography to shatter sexual hypocrisy. It’s a film of rebellion, both societal and sexual.

Featured in the documentary are revolutionaries such as porn star Cicciolina, the first porn star to be a national parliament member in 1987, and a lifelong advocate for sexual freedom, as well as pornographer Riccardo Schicchi, who was given the moniker of the Che Guevara of porn. Also importantly featured are director Lasse Braun, and feminist icons Giuliana Gamba and Lidia Ravera, the former being the first female porn director in Europe. Siné, a caricaturist for Charlie Hebdo, is also part of the film, as Amoroso includes the tale of the artist’s unpublished porn animation.

Creating this film, said Amoroso in press releases for the film, was a chance to give “a voice to those who have fought for the freedom of speech and for all kinds of freedom.”

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Amoroso about the film and his stance on pornography. Amoroso, an award winning filmmaker whose debut film, Embrasse-moi Pasqualino, was the first Italian movie to follow the experience of being transgender, is passionate about changing the conversation and bringing taboo topics into the light of meaningful, artistic discourse.

In speaking about his inspiration for the film, Amoroso said that meeting Schicchi, the “Italian equivalent of Larry Flynt” was powerful for him. Schicchi is, according to Amoroso, “an extraordinary person who has overturned the idea of porn in Italy, as well as in Europe.”

Interview: Director of Porn To Be Free, Carmine Amoroso

“At the beginning I had an idea of porn that is more playful, connected to personal pleasure and masturbation,” said Amoroso about his perception of adult throughout the process of making the documentary. “Later I understood that ‘porn’ is not just movies, images, or videos. Pornography is one of the most important social manifestations of history, that influenced media, political affairs, and our social behavior.”

His goals for the film seem to be very clear, the message being powerful and combative. Amoroso declared, “I would like that porn movies be seen in a different way. Through pornography we fought so many battles. We battled against censorship, we fought for sexual liberation, for a real freedom of speech and other important civil rights.”

From speaking to Amoroso and seeing the trailer for the documentary, it becomes very clear just how influential pornography has been in the past and continues to be now and into the future. The film creates awareness for not only the fight itself, but the people who fought for their ideologies. However, Amoroso commented that there is still work to be done.

Following this line of reasoning, Amoroso spoke about the struggles of making a film about pornography and censorship, having experienced barriers himself in bringing the film from the cutting room floor to festivals and theaters. He remarked, “No producer, no institutions have taken part in this project.”

“Pornography is still taboo,” he said, analyzing how the mainstream still perceives pornography, as well as informative representations of the rebellious art form. “It is something dark, dirty, something that makes us feel embarrassed. Pornography is usually connected with something bad. The word ‘porn’ disturbs and scares us.”

Ever the more reason why a film like Porn To Be Free is so important, and why supporting the movie is paramount to helping the conversations on censorship, taboo, and sex reach a wider audience. To Amoroso, sex is intrinsic, and introducing more art such as this documentary adds more to the understanding of sex as communication.

“Sex is part of our lives,” said the director. “We were born from a body that expelled another body. Sex is the primary form of relationships and communications with the world and with other people. It’s like a door that unfolds out to awareness. We express ourselves with it. Through sex, we can understand the whole of life.”

According to press information, supporters of the documentary project can be some of the first viewers of the piece, and for their contributions could receive rare cuts of Amoroso’s previous films, as well as the first feminist porn by Giuliana Gama, and the cult movie Cicciolina and the Atomic Orgy. Contributing to this film means being an integral part of a growing discourse, and actively participating in the discussion of the creation and consumption of pornography will lead to one very important feeling, as Amoroso so eloquently declared, “respect.”

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