A man and a woman encounter each other on a mattress and engage in heated coital action until reaching mutual satisfaction. With the exception of an equality emphasized in the pleasure principle, the scene is hardly more remarkable than any countless number of filmed vignettes which exist for no other reason than to stimulate the libido. That this sex scene can be reasonably identified as the sole reason for the existence of the film as a whole is not without significance in the debate between Art and populism, eroticism and pornography.
Directed by self-professed “feminist pornographer” (as opposed to the normal brand of porn director who objectifies a woman by filming her naked having sex?) Jennifer Lyon Bell, “Matinée” is a short vignette which professes to address the matter of the legitimacy of live sexual performance as an enhancement to a greater artistic enterprise. That this is a central area of discussion in the greater conflict between the “legitimate” arts and pornography gives the film an appearance of an underlying intellectual purpose. However, the actual threadbare scenario, after an introductory dialogue suggesting a situation in which a move into graphic sexual performance can be construed as the only possible course in displaying a dedication to artistic purpose, exposes any declaration of higher ambitions to be disingenuous and firmly fixes the film in the unsavory arena of pornographic vignettes, to which the “adult” film industry has willingly surrendered a once promised attempt to elevate into a merging with commercial and artistic legitimacy.
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