“A Labor of Love” (1976)
In the early 1970s, with the emergence of Porno Chic as a passport for the average moviegoer to casually experience that which heretofore had been the patron territory of the vaunted “raincoat crowd”, there was briefly an earnest question presented as to whether the “legitimate” commercial cinema might ever find occasion to meld with the newly prolific mirror industry whose efforts at dramatic replication were defined by the necessity of baring all and Just how would “legitimate” thespians surrender to those performance demands consistent with those whose chosen trade is centered on sexual acts?
Robert Flaxman and Daniel Goldman’s “A Labor of Love” is not an X-rated film per se, but a documentary about the making of one, or more exactly, the effort of a group of fledgling independent filmmakers in their efforts to produce one: “The Last Affair”, a low-budget independent which had the merciful virtue, by all evidence, of a rapid expiration date and path to instant obscurity save for any source of interest generated by this documentary.
That in its conception “The Last Affair” was not planned as an “adult” feature, but rather as a prerequisite demand of its financial backers and that it was so easily adaptable into a porn film, should give some indication as to the pliably lurid nature of the material even at the incipient stage. Ostensibly a drama about a woman desperate to have a child despite her husband’s sterility, the story of “The Last Affair” takes a bizarre turn when instead of consulting the normal courses of either adoption or third party reproduction, the wife employs the services of a house of male prostitution for the required zygotic progenitor. As it turns out, this decidedly uncommon approach to motherhood is directly the result of “Affair” director/writer Henri Charbakshi’s lifelong fascination with prostitutes; a creative fixation which will color his filmmaking effort with a discomforting air of depravity regardless of how many times a performer is prodded to work with the promise of the film they’re making is akin with the artistic traditions of Fellini, Bergman and Truffaut.
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