Review – Erika Lust’s Cabaret Desire (2011)

Erika Lust is pretty amazing…

In addition to having my second favorite first name, Erika is a filmmaker, a writer, and the founder of Lust Films in Barcelona. She is considered an “indie” and feminist porn icon worldwide.

Erika’s first featured film, Five Hot Stories for Her (2007), and her subsequent Life Love Lust (2010) both won Feminist Porn Awards for “Movie of the Year.” Further, her Barcelona Sex Project (2008), an experimental independent documentary, won “Best Erotic Documentary” at the E-Line Awards in Berlin. AND, in addition to all this film stuff, Erika is also the author of Good Porn – A Woman’s Guide and Love Me Like You Hate Me (among several other books).

It’s all very impressive.

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(pictured: Erika Lust)

Recently, Erika partnered with New Sensations to distribute her film Cabaret Desire (2011) via their Erotic Stories Collection line… and I’m so glad they did!!

Cabaret Desire is set during a night of erotic readings occurring in a bohemian pleasure-poety brothel. Dancers, musicians, and some exotic elixirs help create a sensual atmosphere while people sit back and listen to intimate readings from a poet or artist.

The body of Cabaret Desire then consists of four sensual vignettes, each a stand alone story and each true to the film’s overarching vision of intimacy, love, passion, and sex. Consider…

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(pictured: Cabaret Desires – buy your copy here)

“The Two Alexes” (featuring Sofia Prada & Saskia Condal intertwined with Sofia Prada & Toni Fontana)

The first vignette tells the tale of Sofia and her relationship with two Alexes – one Alex lady and one Alex man. At first, Sofia finds these relationships emotionally and physically satisfying. The intimacy build-up sequences and the actual sex are filmed beautifully, alternating shots of Sofia with Alex …and then Sofia with Alex.

But things run aground when Sofia, who opens with the statement:

“I’m tired of having to define myself. Sweet or savory, black or white, friend or lover, man or woman, dominant or submissive, saint or whore… Fuck everything having to be labeled and classified.”

…is asked to choose between the Alexes (and, according to the dialogue, being lesbian or heterosexual). Not wanting to be labeled or classified, she refrains.

 

“My Mother” (featuring Lady Diamond & Mario Mentrup)

Though this vignette was sexy and edgy, I was slightly off-put by the highbrow-as-ultimate-erotic-stimuli message and the fact that the tale was told by the main character’s child. I also did not like the idea of burgling fancy offspring via burgling fancy semen from fancy men. But these are my issues.

Interestingly, the narrative here touches on some uncommon themes related to social class – namely, juxtaposing highbrow cultural markers (refined tastes, education, etc) with a lack of money. The narrative also dances around individual’s multifaceted relationships with societal pressures. For example, the main character is willing to shirk some significant social trappings, but she is simultaneously compelled by others. (ie some aspects of social class are so important to maintain you should steal for them..?)

Regardless of my nitpicking though, this story was very smart, well-produced, and gorgeous. It would be especially appealing for those into lighter femme-dom depictions.

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(pictured: from “My Mother“)

 

“In Wonderland” (featuring Liandra Dahl & Matisse)

“I always thought that when I turned 30, I’d be an adult, living the life I’d always fantasized about… the one we create when we’re little girls – a beautiful apartment, two children, a dog, a completely fulfilling job, and a handsome and loving husband. These thoughts couldn’t be further from my life today.”

All I can say is that if the idea of a random fuck – but one that’s not exactly random – with a guy who could be Eric Northman’s older brother is appealing to you, watch this. It’s delicious, the best of the bunch in my opinion.

(we also get a flash of “Eric” getting a condom… though you can’t really ever see it because of the way the scene is shot, one assumes it’s being used)

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(pictured: viking… BTS shot from “In Wonderland“)

 

“Wet Sheets” (featuring Samia Duarte & Didac Duran)

A man and a woman who had an intense three-day-long intimacy fuck fest are meeting up for the first time in over a year. Both are nervous and both are reflecting as they make their respective ways to see each other once again.

This vignette is especially hot, as we get to see this couples’ torrid sex and romance interspersed with voice-over narrative detailing their current anxieties – what do they have to lose, what do they want, and what will happen next..?

In the end, it all works out.

 

All this is not even to mention the cabaret sequences that couch each vignette – they’re beautiful and interesting and really add to Cabaret Desire‘s exceptional overall tone.

If you need more convincing, here’s the trailer…

 

I found this film to be absolutely refreshing on multiple levels. Though not at all hardcore (so if that’s what you’re looking for, this is not for you), Cabaret Desire is convincingly intimate and exceptionally erotic. It will definitely invoke a different kind of breathlessness.

 

Recommended for: high art aficionados, fans of more cinematic content, and those looking for something more erotic than hardcore – think Camille Crimson & Art of Blowjob, Juicy Pink Box (ie Taxi: Vol 1 and Therapy), Alpha Femmes, etc.

Written and directed by Erika Lust. Originally released in 2011. Distribution via New Sensations began in March, 2013.

Buy your copy and/or watch it now here.

 

BTS and Extras: trailers, two bonus vignettes (both super hot and within the same tone as Cabaret Desire), and a mini-documentary exploring/explaining the pleasure-poetry brothel.

 

Incidentally, Cabaret Desire has won ALL these awards:

2012 Feminist Porn Awards, Toronto – Movie of the Year

2012 Erotikos Film Festival, Jamaica, Official Selection

2012 Soho House, London – VIP Member’s screening

2012 Soho House, Berlin – VIP Member’s screening

2012 CineKink, New York – Audience Choice Award

Pretty impressive!!

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 (pictured: from “Wet Sheets“)

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PVV Recommended Films – a special distinction for exceptional content.

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Cover image used with permission. Other images pulled from CabaretDesire.com and ErikaLust.com.

You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from Porn Valley Vantage/PVVOnline, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD (www.PVVOnline.com).”

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