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Cast: Lolita LeMarchand, Darian Caine, Tara Indiana, Mariah, Mistress Charlize, Inga.
Director: Lunar Eclipse (aka Tina Tyler)
Writers: Anders Manga and Tina Tyler
Production date: 1/25/02 (box); 1/27/02 (opening statement)
Length: 68 min.
Extras: Trailers for the feature and three additional titles.
Audio/visual quality: It's a little disconcerting to see so many artifacts in the opening slides, but they vanish the instant the movie begins. On the whole, the visual quality of Affliction is strong and appealing. The lighting is appropriately spartan—the stark ambiance perfectly matches the "personality" of the movie. There are minor issues with shadows and soft focus shifts, but the mix of camera angles is extremely pleasing. (Because of the unfortunate legal issues that plague the BDSM genre, no vaginal penetration is ever directly shown. But Affliction does contain explicit footage of oral penetration—with a dildo—in conjunction with bondage.)
The music is limited to a haunting instrumental theme at the beginning and end. There are occasional traffic noises, a few bumps against the microphone and a low audio hum that cuts out wherever the editor has removed extraneous sounds. These are minor distractions, however. The overall audio clarity is quite good. It's easy to hear the "clink" of the metal O-ring when a dominatrix plays with her slave's collar, for example.
First impression: I'm sorely tempted to visit the Den of Iniquity (the location for this shoot) the next time I'm in New York City.
Scene highlights: Lolita LeMarchand kneels motionless in a small cage and silently observes the activities in a professional dungeon. Tina Tyler's spare, beautiful narration reveals Lolita's inner dialog as she watches two female slaves please and appease their respective dominatrices. There's almost too little plot to categorize this movie as a feature, but each scene flows very nicely at a natural pace and according to its own logic.
Darian Caine takes slow, sweet, seductive command over Inga. "Your hair flows down your back so beautiful," Darian purrs while stroking Inga's blonde tresses. "It's your hair, Mistress—it belongs to you," Inga proffers with a shy smile. Although Darian is very gentle with Inga, there's no question about who's in charge. Inga is not allowed to touch, only to be touched, and she scarcely dares to look into Darian's eyes. Darian exposes Inga's breasts, caresses her body, removes her sheer black teddy and blindfolds her. The mistress then teases her slave's skin with feathers, fingernails and fur and provides a light paddling. Darian also unzips her red PVC corset so she can rub her lovely natural breasts against Inga's lovely natural breasts. As a final treat, Darian decorates Inga's body with white and purple candle wax. Although the intensity of this scene is low-key, I find the rapport between these two women to be extremely hot. If I ever engage in any BDSM play, this is exactly how I would want to dominate my slave.
Mariah acts up and tests Mistress Charlize's patience with her snotty attitude. She wants to be beaten, and she taunts Mistress Charlize in the hopes of receiving quicker and harder punishment. Mistress Charlize is no fool, however. She tickles Mariah's ass with the merest swishes of her flogger until Mariah gives in and finally shuts up. Mistress Charlize rosies Mariah's butt with increasingly firm slaps of her hand. She then gets to serious work using a paddle and cane. At one point, Mistress Charlize pauses to sensuously rub her soft ebony breasts all over Mariah's fire-red buttocks. Eventually her blows grow strong enough to inflict actual welts and bruises (and break the cane). Oddly enough, I find this scene just as juice-inducing as the first one. I can't imagine that I'd personally want to endure or impose this level of pain, but Mariah's contented smirk at the end of the scene speaks volumes about her experience.
Tara Indiana (the real-life proprietress of the dungeon) offers Lolita the key to her cage. Lolita shrinks away from it, and Tara finally yanks her out and tosses the petite slave over her shoulder like a rag doll. The mistress plops Lolita down on a bondage table and blows cigarette smoke in her face. Dissatisfied with Lolita's response, Tara secures her wrists and ankles, flips her gauzy white nightgown up over her mouth and threatens to suffocate her. She uses a hand crank to hoist Lolita's feet and ankles high into the air. Tara attaches weighted clamps to her slave's nipples and labia and then punishes Lolita's pussy with a flogger when the weights slip off. She "instructs" Lolita on proper blow job technique by moving a clear dildo in and out of her mouth (the dildo looks like the Birth of Mars model from Inner Space, which seems amazingly appropriate). The mind fuck is extreme enough that a tear slips out of the corner of Lolita's eye. Tara then thrusts the toy around Lolita's genital area; it's not possible to see where it's actually going, but it is possible to see a lot of lubrication on the mistress' hand afterwards. Tara also uses a ridged metallic (aluminum?) dildo on Lolita before gathering her up into her arms and comforting her. Intense.
Thumbs up: The authenticity factor of this movie is very strong. This is not a set; this is an actual dungeon, and the participants are women who actually work at the dungeon (I believe Darian Caine is the one exception—she's a mainstream actress who plays her role here very convincingly). These women are extremely good at what they do, and I am extremely aroused as a result.
One additional footnote: Affliction was nominated as a candidate for Best DVD Packaging at the 2003 AVN (Adult Video News) Awards. Although it didn't win, the cover art for this movie is quite striking and compelling.
Thumbs down: The production quality is slightly rough. The aspect which bothers me most is the way the background hum cuts in and out. I'm not sure what, if anything, would have eliminated that problem. I don't have much experience with these types of movies, but according to astroknight's review, the overall quality of Affliction is superior to many others in BDSM genre. And because I do find it so stimulating, I'm inclined to be forgiving. My only other complaint is the lack of extras. The trailers that have been included, however, are quite good.
YogaGrrl's motherly advice: For hot wax play at home (which I've done solo and enjoyed), I encourage beginners to read the motherly advice in this review. Or see this excellent (and far more detailed) article. Darian appears to be using good, safe technique in the movie by placing her hand between Inga's skin and the direct heat of the candle flame.
Themes: Light to heavy BDSM (primary theme), lesbian, sensation play (feathers, fur, hot wax), sensory deprivation (blindfold), spanking, flogging, paddling, caning, weighted body clamps (nipples, labia, perineum), toys (dildos), smoking (cigarette), voyeurism, fetishwear, interracial.
Condom use: None (n/a).
Juice-o-meter: Very high. Please note, however, that it's essential to set down the remote control to fully appreciate the eroticism of this movie. Each scene has its own inherent momentum.
Final analysis: This is the first real BDSM (bondage/domination/sadism/masochism) movie I've watched, and I wish I could be confident that they're all this excellent. Don't let the budget price scare you away, since the problems in production quality are limited. Affliction is beautifully varied in the moods of its scenes and in the interactions between the women. It's easily one of the most interesting (and arousing) adult movies I've ever bought.