JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Adored: Diary of a Male Porn Star (Director/Writer: Marco Filiberti) - May 28, 2004
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Adored: Diary of a Male Porn Star

Poco Più du un Anno Fa

3 3
105 min.

Reviewed for the 2004 Insideout Leabian & Gay Film and Video Festival
Lens tremendi

“Liars and cheats invent another world in order to survive the one they're in,” comments the buffed and overhung Riki Kandinsky (played with genuine narcissism by Marco Filiberti, who—naturally—also wrote and directed), referring to his departed, estranged father. But the hedonistic environment of the gay pornography industry, where Riki's legendary tool is worshipped and adored so long as it lifts and comes on cue, is really no different than the financial corruption and Whores “R” Us world of traditional family values.

The film explores all manner of relationships, but the overwhelming truth is that Riki's only meaningful one is with the camera as it records every angle, crevice and sensual sweat of his body while having sexual contact with other men whose primary purpose is to heighten the star's image of himself. No wonder he abandoned the family estate and escaped to Rome: his father was a bastard and he feared that his mother's favourite was older brother Federico (convincingly morphing from disgust to self-understanding by Urbano Barberini, demonstrating the wide-ranging scope of his talent—last seen as Cassio in these pages; cross-reference below).

The huge photograph of the perky-nippled star—doubling as head-board in the bedroom of his tony digs—should serve as a warning to all prospective boyfriends. One of those, part-time pornographer Claudio (Claudio Vanni) makes the unforgivable mistake of kissing his partner with actual meaning and passion rather than maneuvering him to the end of the bed for the “2” shot. But Claudio—like a Somerset Maugham character—keeps coming back for more rejection.

All of this is observed by Federico who moves in with Riki ostensibly while trying to settle their father's estate only to realize that the old man squandered his wife's fortune even as he discovers that his brother's butt has had more visitors than the Catholic Church on Easter Sunday. His own relationship record isn't much better: divorced but a father himself, his French fiancée reveals her true self while, in a hilarious scene filled with her revolted cries of “No!” alternating with Riki's screams of “Si!,” she slips a video into her future brother-in-law's VCR (where he plays a plumber responding to a customer's assistance with a leak) and observes his turgid impalement by the grateful tenant. Too much for the poor girl, but—at this point—par for the course with the “Now where's my world gone?” older sibling.

From this point forward, both brothers are on the prowl for meaning in their lives. Federico falls for Riki's sculptor friend and soul mate Luna (Rosalinda Celentano), while the star of The Insatiable Prick tries to adopt a young orphan Plapla (Edoardo Minciotti, who disses his conservative grandparents with relish). Following an outing of his day job on TV (with Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 in the background, the composer, Riki admits, that turns him on as much as his tricks) the guardians play hardball and a court battle ensues. Perhaps a Beethoven fetish would have been a better choice given the master's own attempts to adopt and salvage some other achievement beyond his genius (cross-reference below).

In an especially moving moment, the two brothers embrace even as Riki's chance to have a “son” evaporates. Stefano Pancaldi's sensitive camera (as it did throughout) conveys the outcome with visual sensitivity; nary a word required.

This is the crux of the film. Filiberti's script has his alter-ego bemoan “If I quit [the porn business in order to have a son] now, I'd be admitting I've been swimming in shit.” But compared to, finally, having a human being to care for and, moreover, one who cares in return, what's a little crap? Rather than noble, Riki ends as he began, a totally self-centred egoist whose alternative lifestyle yet “honest work” is truly fucking ridiculous. JWR

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Further information, future screening/performance/exhibition dates,
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Cross-reference(s): Please click on the image link(s) below
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