Cherry Chapman’s film The Model bills itself as a contemporary interpretation of the Guy de Maupassant story of the same title. The director is clearly keen to meet the artistic challenge set by his literary forbear. Indeed he sets out to create that rather rare beast – the porn film with a thrust of the narrative sort.
A quick survey of the offerings on that go-to of the teenage male Redtube indicates of a widespread approach to the role of plot in pornography: Jackie and Alexia are horny (Essays on character motivation on a postcard please), Roxxxy nailed hard (See what they did there?), and (my personal favourite) Hottie opens all her holes. Surely there is room for a more expansive take?
While I commend Chaplin’s good intentions, a storyline to draw the viewer in only succeeds if it is credible. In the case of The Model, the two main performers, though discharging themselves superlatively in the sex scenes, are hard-pressed to meet the demands of the scripted elements. Happily, the voice-over provided by a tertiary character (true to Maupassant’s original) does a lot of the work that would otherwise have fallen to the principals. Yet his artificial intonation and over-emphasis, along with some overwrought thumb-gesturing, provoke a smile where none is intended. My (reluctant) conclusion was that the narrative was let down by its execution. As a result it adds little to the erotic effect of the film as a whole.
Yet this failure doesn’t entirely detract from the success of the piece. This is symptomatic of contemporary pornography and the standards applied to it. Sex is simply not expected to nestle within a broader narrative structure. Nor must its success at engaging the viewer rest on something more than a passing excuse (see Jackie and Alexia above). There are directors who aspire to buck this trend, but they are in the minority. So, while The Model falls victim to its low budget and the inability of porn stars to act with their clothes on, top marks to Chapman for producing an erotic film that goes far beyond 30 minutes of soulless rutting.
The Model, a film by Cherry Chapman, available to download from www.cinemaerotique.com