A relatively new addition to Netflix Instant Watch (if you are into that sort of thing) is a documentary film called “Kink”. If you don’t have Netflix, you can get it on Amazon here.
As always, I was relatively cautious when opening the description of the video. Most films that make it onto Netflix that have a sexual bent are pretty horrible and I expected this to be the same.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is a documentary about the people and projects of the good folks at Kink.Com and that it was produced by (of all people) James Franco. Yes, that James Franco.
For those of you who do not know, Kink.Com is a unique porn project based in San Francisco that focuses mostly on BDSM. In fact, many of the foremost experts in the world work there, or have in the past. They have a lot of talented people and an amazing facility. The operation is housed in the former San Francisco National Guard Armory and Arsenal, which they bought in 2006 for $14.5 million. Now they just call it the Armory. It’s an enormous building with more rooms than they know what to do with. I spent about a week there last December when I was teaching a few classes as part of their Sexuality Workshop Series. For a sex/bdsm educator, that’s a big deal. It’s like a musician getting to play Carnegie Hall. I was awed by the facility, but I was even more impressed by the people. Everyone that I met during my time there was amazing. And I was happy to recognize a few of them in the documentary.
Here’s a quick preview of the film:
And here’s James Franco Talking about the movie after it was selected for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Seeing James Franco talking about this is honestly amazing.
I was shocked by how much was shown in the film. They show just about everything. You will see all body parts of all genders. You will see scenes being filmed. They don’t show penetrative sex, but that’s about it.
I really appreciate how little of the film-makers own views went into the film. They really seem to have tried hard to portray it exactly as it is, no better, no worse.
I found the film very compelling and interesting. I liked the range of people that they interviewed and the range of views and opinions that those people had of the industry and of the idea of porn in general.
But more than that, I like that this film exists and is on Netflix. I like that it has a reputable name behind it and that it has gotten some critical acclaim. I like that discussion of BDSM in mainstream media is going beyond 50Shades and Rihanna’s “S&M”.
There was very little that I didn’t like about the film. I thought it might have been interesting if they went a little more into the history of the industry or of kink.com specifically. More information about the building might have been cool. But ultimately, they seem to have decided instead to take a snap shot of where it is now and leave it at that. And that is a perfectly valid choice.
If you aren’t terribly familiar with Kink.com, here are a few of their subject-specific sites. After you watch the documentary, if you feel compelled to watch some porn, this is some of the highest quality BDSM you will find. The first one is actually not porn, it’s their educational series. I highly recommend it. For the rest, you can click the banners to see a description of the site before you actually enter.