Erika Lust you ask?
10 years ago, you inquisitively would’ve frowned and wondered who could be behind this lustful name. But since then, the name itself has become a part of the lingo and only has a positive connotation when heard. Her films and her mission to produce ethical and feminist pornography which aim at stimulating, serving and educating female fantasies have gained her many admirers and followers. Sex can be dirty, but ethics cannot: a motto with which still remains parallel to current trends and creates new generations of pornography.
It is thanks to her that we now know that red rose petals and satin sheets are not a must in order to reach a female orgasm – neither in the movies nor in reality. We should be grateful to her as in the early 2000’s she introduced a whole new world of adult cinema in which fake orgasms and silicone breasts were proudly replaced by female pleasure and real bodies women could identify with.
In 2004, she started making porn because there weren’t enough films that were aimed at women like her: sex positive feminist women who wanted to be turned on and switched off. “I was always conflicted when it came to porn” she said. “I loved the idea – it was fascinating to be able to look at people who were sexually interacting and feel attracted to them. But I was so disgusted with the content I saw.”
Without further ado, she and her husband Pablo Dobner founded a production company in 2005 in order to give a rebirth to the chauvinistic world of porn and to become and avant-garde for intelligent, feminine and feminist erotic cinema. As it was totally unchartered territory and ahead of its time, many new groups and voices have formed to this day that joined their mission or developed their own one. Projects like the Finnish KUTU Collective, the Berlin Sex School or ThousandFaces Films show different ranges of pornography that is constraint free but full of aesthetics, sensual, playful and experimental gimmicks…among many other sexy elements.
One can easily imagine how this approach was not only met with approval nor acceptance. Clearing up a male dominated field as a woman and putting new rules into place for the production conditions was not well received everywhere, especially in the hierarchical structure of the porn industry. But what she wanted was to break the mould and try something new. Working towards new ways means you will make mistakes from which you will be able to learn from, as quickly as possible. Describing herself as a feminist producer also involved certain roles and tasks she had to follow which often led her to have to explain herself. Only last week, the discussion about the “Architecture Porn” production of April 2017 came up once again: delayed shooting schedules, unplanned location changes and some allegations of sexual assault raised many questions. To take a look for yourself, we recommend reading Rooster and Erika Lust’s statement here about the dividing situation.
Viva la vida
Erika Hallqvist was born in Stockholm in 1977 and grew up in a calm Sweden. After school, she attended Lund University where she studied political science and came across Linda Williams’ book “Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the Frenzy of the Visible” (published in 1989) , which influenced her and her way of making films. Jean-Jacques Annaud’s “The Lover”, a Franco-Chinese love story set during the times of the French colonial rule was also an important source of inspiration for her. With a degree in her pocket and a specialization in human rights and feminism, she was drawn to warm and buzzy Barcelona. She traveled to Spain by boat and bus for two days and passed via Copenhagen to land in a rougher version of today’s Barcelona – a city that she said freed her and gave her a feeling of being able to do what she wanted. “I had no eyes on myself and was away from the high standards in Sweden that forced me to be a good polite girl.”
Inspired by the creative diversity of feminist filmmakers, she started Xconfessions Series, a series in which she transformed the fantasies of different people into extraordinary short films, with the richesse of talented women in front and behind the camera. We will be showing our favorite picks from the series at CHEEX this summer. It will give you a summery tingling feeling with “Analóxica”, a beach romance with real life couple Marc and Iana, their tanned skin and salty beach hair. Poppy Sanchez was filmed on the Costa Brava and didn’t only give Erika her eye for detail but also brought an unmistakable summery retro vibe to the scene with her beloved 8mm camera.
Another editorial favorite is the fantastic orgy “Fantasy hotel: The gardener” by Nikki St. Sasses who created a world with her own vision which we aren’t accustomed to usually with conventional pornography: as from another world, three oily bodies in flowery spheres merge hidden in a garden.
“Sex & Sensibility” is also another sort of experience based on a classic medieval novel, sounds sexy right? We promise that it is!
We look forward to the summer and thank you Erika for the pornography picture you’ve managed to create which is a bit more open and diverse through you.