VANGARDIST paper Magazine – MAY 2019
VANGARDIST: What’s the reason we don’t get to see the typical “gay porn star men” with muscles and six-pack in your movies?
NOEL ALEJANDRO: Mainly because that’s already done. Also, let’s throw a look at my movies: They are not sex-centered, so I don’t prioritize hypersexualized bodies. I center my work on the mysteries and beauty of the human condition, the secrets of our connection with each other and with ourselves, our darkest sides. All those things that truly captives me that are worth to study and to talk about. What is the point of only showing two people having sex? That’s also done.
We also need to be aware that we need to be realistic when it comes to comparing ourselves with most of adult mainstream movies, those people use to focus a lot on their bodies and many times they have privileged genetics.
Because of that your porn films are very realistic and intimate. Are the actors in your movies professionals, amateurs or friends of yours?
I mostly work with dancers, models and other artists far from the industry. It also contributes to my movies to look and feel different. The mainstream porn industry prioritizes the body attractiveness and body sexual attributes rather the development of other skills, like the intellect itself, even body expression technics. Most of times they become slaves of their physic attractive and during this process, they all somehow manage to become very similar to each other. That’s how I see it. But yes, I somehow find more interesting to work with people with artistic needs rather than the money.
Do you have a special message that you want to transfer with your movies or what do you want to trigger at your viewers (apart from the pleasure satisfaction)?
Somehow pleasure satisfaction is basically the last purpose of my films. I try my best in order to not to sexualize my characters. You won’t see any hot typical cliche situation in my movies. Explicit or lazy seduction is something you won’t find neither. I feel especially ashamed when the sex situation in a “post-porn” movie comes with any kind of reason. I find it lazy.
Regarding the common topics of my films, I talk about those things that represent a mystery to me in life, life beyond death, multidimensional worlds, and generally I talk about characters that feel lost in a world they cannot understand or feel as real. Sex in these stories becomes a self-empowering force that often works as an oxygen balloon to the anguished. I feel powerfully attracted to the poetry of our limited skills to get along with the others and with ourselves.
Sex in these stories becomes a self-empowering force that often works as an oxygen balloon to the anguished. I feel powerfully attracted to the poetry of our limited skills to get along with the others and with ourselves.
Current gay porn often shows anything but reality and naturalness. Do you see this fact as a problem that should be fixed?
I’m not here to tell others how do they have to make their films. But if you do a rational analysis of the current industry you might see that it has fallen into some sort of unrealistic cliches and lazy cinematography (or total lack of it). There are not many alternative visions, still today. Where are the nouvelle porn directors?
What needs to change in the porn industry, so that not only the flawless and muscular bodies are shown all the time?
There are different reasons that keep the standards in this way. First, most porn actors are not required to develop their intellect or their culture so the ones that will focus on their porn careers will put in the center of their lives their bodies. Second, somehow most of the people will prefer hot and athletic bodies as an instinctive and primitive needing. A third and most important reason, sex industry forms part of the wheel of the capitalism as it is, and if we consider that capitalism is kind of lazy and prioritizes good money results on the shorter way, the industry ended up leaving behind other kinds of growths, like the artistic approach. I find that the industrialization of porn made these standards. Wha t is needed then, more visions behind the camera, offering alternatives. A willing to change it.
Are there any inhibitions of actors on set? If so, how do you handle it while shooting the scenes?
I always try to create a warm atmosphere, I keep the number of members in the crow as low as possible during the sex shooting, only the mandatory ones can stay in the room. Sex is not guided in my movies, we just set up a limited space where the actors can move on and focus. Once we are filming we just follow their movements. If any of them have any problem or need more time to focus we of course just try to give them as much time and space as they need. We need patience and never, NEVER press on them. Industrial porn actors might have more experience in front of the camera but mine often are amateurs.
How has your own sexuality changed since you became a porn film director?
It actually hasn’t changed that much, or I’m not that conscious. Maybe I see sex a bit more natural as other people, my screens contains nudity often at work environments, of course, it depends on the context where I am. Maybe what changed is that I became more sensitive when it comes tolerating people comments around the adult cinema. Of course, people will easily fall into the easy jokes when the porn topic comes up, and many times they try to make fun. It is hard difficult for some people to take seriously this topic. I think in general we need to do some work in order to deal better with our own sexuality.
“It is hard difficult for some people to take seriously sex and pornography. In general, we need to do some work in order to deal better with our own sexuality.”
As a pornography director you offer sex to viewers, who do not necessarily have to be emotionally involved. Is sex without emotions even possible for you?
Sex without emotions it could be easily called bad sex. Is easy to target those movies quickly. My films are thought and film on a way most people can see the strong connection of the performers.
Where does intimacy end and where does pornography start?
I’ve been wondering and thinking over this around hours. Is there a space for not obscene pornography? it took me a while to understand that this question was wrongly raised. Pornography is intimate, and then, what is intimate and what belongs to the public ambiance?. Is it a porn movie obscene? What makes something obscene is the context where is shown and also depends on who is analyzing it. It is clearly subjective as we all have our own limits. Let’s imagine I’m having a cup of coffee with my mother and suddenly some pornographic images come on the TV, of course not only would feel weird to me but also (rather I can pretend is something natural or not) it would feel kind of over the top, it would feel obscene maybe, this is because I don’t allow myself to access to a specific range of emotions because of the context (and the company). For example, if I’m together with my friends for sure I will dare to talk about many different kinds of topics I would not dare to talk with my mother, but still there are many emotions I don’t want to access to because of this context, so still a porn movie could be too much or not, it depends on who (to me it could feel quite natural, but still not the most appropriate context to watch a sex movie), but when I am with a lover, the kind of emotions I allow myself to access does includes sexual excitation… In this context, I rarely could define some sex images as “obscene”.
The context and your own limits will mark what can be declared as intimate, too intimate or directly pornographic. This makes me think in how interesting are porn film festivals. Somehow when you watch porn movies (“new-advanced” porn or not) in different contexts, together with other people may cause a sort of intellectualization of the genre.
To me feels weird, I said it a hundred times, watching this kind of movies next to friends or foreign but, Is this something I should work in? That’s my business. Deciding if you want to keep this kind of emotions for a specific context belongs only to you. Also separating these sexual excitation emotions when watching a sex film and together with your friends in a screening cinema room, allows you to watch the film with a different critical eye.
We must set our own limits by ourselves.
What is good pornography to you?
Good pornography to me does not need to be beautifully shot or needs to be narrative, or with good performances. I ask the subjects of a sex movie to be totally into what they are doing, I don’t want to see faked pleasure while they’re having sex. When the actors are totally dedicated to the experience the audience will feel powerfully attracted. Also, body diversity or more related to mine are welcome, so I can relate easier and hopefully I won’t judge myself hardly (why is not my body as much perfect as theirs!), so the contemplative experience won’t turn into a self-reflexive unlucky experience ( I suggest being realistic and work on our self-esteem a lot to survive to mainstream adult industry male bodies!).
How thin is the line between art and pornography?
Who says pornography cannot be artistic itself. Pornography has been for many years not a usual context for the artists to express themselves. In my opinion, an art piece is essentially a message, and a big part of the artistic value and interpretation is given by the receptor. So there’s no reason why pornographic films cannot be artistic. If the director/tress is giving a direction, you can feel a vision behind the camera, a volunteer of saying something else through the images.
How has pornography and the use of it in especially social media changed over the last few years?
They set the guideline of what is admissible on a public context and what is not. We all have different limits but we are talking about a specific context where we all have to feel that we fit in. A part of the society is making huge impulse in order to push these boundaries, but right the other pushes on the opposite direction. Who is right? Why we can’t tolerate sexual behaviors in public? Where is the limit? Is it going to keep moving forward or backward? Who depends this on? Is the censorship on the internet a middle point of all the world obscene standards? First we need to put ourselves in other people shoes, then we can decide what is still our position or determinate what is the best movement to do. Of course, sexual diversity has to still be digested by many people, but denying this diversity is easier for most people than face it and understand it.
Sexual behaviors in art is marginalized and pushed to very specific channels. VISA and MASTERCARD keep raising the fees and commissions they keep of any business related to sex. The sex industry is totally unprotected and we suffer abusement from these entities.
“Good pornography to me doesn’t need to be beautifully shot or needs to be narrative. I ask the subjects of a sex movie to be totally into what they are doing.”
How did your career begin? Was it a DIY-thing in your bedroom with an amateur camera or the classic way visiting a film school?
It was actually a very DIY-thing, just boosted by a passion for narrative and good photography. I haven’t studied cinema in a proper film school, I managed to learn some basics but it was enough to start tho. Cinema editing was my vocation, it would allow me to narrate from the very beginning in my room without having to get too involved with other people. I also used to write stories and tales. As I was not very social I enjoyed video editing cause it did not require a lot of human contact. I truly enjoyed generating a rhythm, mixing images of existing movies, dialogues, music at my dictation, re-editing video trailers. It was truly revealing. Later on, when I started to work for Erika Lust as her video editor I felt like making my own films and then I made the first sex film, Eloi & Biel.
You were part of the Porn Film Festival in Vienna in April. How was/is it for you to show your porn movies to a big audience at the same time?
I’ve been part of the jury at the feature film contest. It has been a nice chance to debate and to give a technic dissertation of what is a good porn movie today. I really love being called from festivals and to have the chance to screen my films. Is fun to see how much people connect with them, I never had so much convening power before. But it is also an interesting context to analyze them. When you watch a sex movie at home you can stop, keep for later, rewind the scenes on your convenience. Also when you are alone you will allow yourself to feel sexual excitation. In a film festival context, whether you are sitting next to foreigners or (not less than) friends, the way you are going to receive changes, you will watch the films under a different critic eye. You might easily get bored if the sex scene is too long. Sex movies, usually, have a particular length and rhythm, this might get in conflict when is received in a more critical context. This is because the context always changes the perception of the subject. We intellectualize pornography when we move it out of the private context.
Can you imagine to stand in front of the camera working as a porn actor?
No, I have absolutely not interest in it.