The Fetish Garden
Pirate Fetish Machine
Let's be clear about what The Fetish Garden offers. In the mode
of the worst "theatre workshop" / "I'm a tree" cliché, women in
patterned leotards adopt poses in the fantastical surroundings of
Guell, one of the most famous creations of Catalan architect
Antoni Gaudi. It seems that director J.M. Ponce, with no pun intended,
feels the need to bring such influences to bear on this pornographic
movie. I'm sure it's not only the devout Gaudi - presently rotating
at around 2000rpm in his tomb - who would protest at such a notion.
And if I were to tell you that such pretentious conceits are the
best thing about this movie…?
Well, I wouldn't be entirely honest. The soundtrack is reasonable,
and two of the movie's loosely connected sex scenes present some
visually stimulating material. To wit, pneumatic blonde bombshell
Stacy Silver - fake bust or none - in wicked red leather and black
nylons, being soundly stuffed by Ramon Nomar as she's suspended
in a heavy leather harness. And later, the feline Claudia Claire
enjoying a girl-girl session with a funky dreadlocked chick called
Miercoles, whose unconventional appeal and willowy form are highlights
of the movie.
Top class rubber and leatherwear from DeMask clads the cast in style,
and at times this stuff looks good. A blonde dominatrix in shiny
PVC, waist cinched tight in a constrictive corset, shaven headed
slave girls in cages…unfortunately director Ponce chooses to wander
off to film extremely pedestrian sex at every opportunity. For example,
just when Claudia and Miercoles are heating up, camerawork from
the "we've got a dolly and we're going to use it" school meanders
off to a much less stimulating encounter in the dungeon setting.
Not that I can really quibble with this, in a way - Ponce admits
that the movie is entirely about the objectification of women, and
in that regard it's largely successful, as there's precious little
charisma or personality displayed. The performers are utilised as
rubbered-up robots to fit Ponce's vision.
And that's perhaps the biggest issue with The Fetish Garden. It
grasps at notions that are well beyond its creative reach, which
rarely extends beyond perfunctory competence. The visual flair that
would really be required to make some fairly outlandish concepts
work is simply not in evidence. The connecting premise of the movie,
a slim (read laughable, depending on your level of cynicism) notion
about attaining higher levels of sexual abandon in the fetish garden,
ultimately becoming plants, is unconvincing enough on its own, but
is rendered utterly cringe worthy by dire voice-over acting - the
entire thing is narrated rather than acted by the cast, and the
script is woeful. Such voice-overs explain the aforementioned tree-women
and the images of BDSM scenarios that intersperse the painfully
conventional porn sex scenes.
While things look superficially stylish, it takes little in the
way of close examination to reveal the cracks, from the billowing
dry-ice smoke failing to create the desired level of mystery to
some odd choices in lighting - the opening oral gangbang scene,
in which pretty but sadly fake-busted Spanish brunette Malena Conde
has numerous men come on her face, is set in a fetish bar, but bizarrely
lit in a garish green. Other scenes seem just too stagy - perhaps
such formality is intentional - and the finale, featuring Stacy
Silver, men in cloaks and a welter of DP, is mechanical, heartless
pornosex of the worst kind.
Somewhere in there, Cristina Bella and Claudia submit to their burly
men and lay it on in similar style - I gather some of the cast have
a background in live sex shows, so it's perhaps unsurprising they
ham it up a touch - and there's also a foot-fetish scene where Bibian
Norai and Malena dominate a bound slave with their tender tootsies
before treating him to some impressive oral. A rare highlight abruptly
cut short with a strange jump cut.
This is, of course, a relatively truncated analysis of the Fetish
Garden, and doubtless there's an element of personal taste involved.
One thing I should point out is that as inappropriate as Ponce's
influences might seem, I certainly am not criticising him for reflecting
the world outside pornography in his work, whether these ideas work
or not. Given that the vast bulk of pornography is made with minimal
concern for aesthetics or artistry - not that I am necessarily making
any such claims for Ponce - it is at least worthy of some commendation,
however half-heartedly offered.
What I do dislike about the Fetish Garden is the sex, which is energetically
performed but still too lacking in even the illusion of real passion,
and the failure to maximise the potential input of its stars. Cristina
Bella might be on the cover, but I wouldn't recommend this to fans
expecting to see her featured as Stacy Silver is. And despite a
few welcome moments where hardcore sex and bondage are tastefully
(a relative term) combined, as is so often the case, another hardcore
porn flick simply tools around with the fashion and the pose of
BDSM without fully marrying the two with real conviction.
Despite a short running time, Private has put fair effort into the
overall package. There's a decent behind-the-scenes clip, further
extended interviews with the cast (though a twitchy Claudia Claire
makes me worried for some reason), plenty of photos, cast and movie
information and the usual trailers and promotional DVD-Rom gubbins.
The movie itself has very good picture quality indeed, and is unusually
presented in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen. It's just a shame there
isn't much to back up the initial visual impact.
Bella, Stacy Silver, Claudia Claire, Malena Conde, Bibian Norai,
Miercoles, Andrea Moranti, Antonio, Carlos Dario, Lucas Foz, Mariusz,
Ramon Nomar, Robby Blake
/ All regions / 16:9 anamorphic widescreen
of, interviews, trailers, photos, profiles, production notes, DVD-Rom
catalogue, audio languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Italian),
subtitle languages (Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Portuguese, Polish)