Truly global indie film deity Film Movement, which operates an uber-fantabulous Film of the Month Club, scores another bulls-eye regarding the incredible English-language Swedish documentary "A Life in Dirty Movies." This film about an 88 year-old talented softcore filmmaker can be considered "Joe Sarno Shoot Me" in that it is very reminiscent of the recent film about legendary elderly performer Elaine Stritch, who passed away soon after Film Movement mailed the review DVDs of "Movies."
"Movies," which won the Audience Award at the Cinekink Film Festival, hits VOD platforms and your neighborhood art house theater on September 19, 2014.
The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of a (misleadingly erotic) trailer for "Movies" offers a nice look at the themes of this film and the style of Joe.
"Movies" opening with a very sensual and mildly erotic (but not at all pornographic) black-and-white scene of a male photographer showing two female models how he wants them posed from one of Sarno's classic '70s era films shows the aptness of Sarno earning the title "The Ingmar Bergman of 42nd Street." It similarly allows cinephiles to predict the later statement of Sarno that Fellini is a major influence regarding his work.
Most of the film consists of 88 year-old Joe and his adoring wife/collaborator Peggy discussing both his earlier career and a current effort to produce a film of a script on which he is working. Seeing Peggy loving tease Joe about some corny dialogue in his latest effort is both one of the funniest and sweetest scenes in "Movies."
We also get to see this loving couple, who truly seem to be soulmates, travel from their primary home in New York City to their summer residence in Sweden and to host their charming son for an evening watching a televised sports game.
The audience is further treated to scenes of Joe and Peggy being honored guests at one of the increasing number of festivals honoring his work. These events do not seem to differ from similar ones that pay homage to other film auteurs, such as Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese.
The scenes from Sarno films and hearing Joe discuss his principles provide interesting insights into the seemingly endless debate regarding whether an artwork with an element of sexuality qualifies as art rather than pornography. The clear proof that Sarno movies do not appeal to the "raincoat crowd" subgroup of people who watched those films in Time Square theaters offers further proof of the artistic nature of the productions.
To use a cliche, an element of this awesomeness is that it dispels the cliched myth that producers of non-studio films with even a moderate amount of erotic content are low-life dirt bags. Sarno easily would be very welcome in any home and likely would insist on drying the dinner dishes.
All of this boils down to "Movies" going beyond achieving the twin ideals that a documentary both entertain and inform to introducing a terrific lesser-known public figure to a larger audience and to show that even generally substantiated perceptions can be inaccurate.