Writer of O

Writer of O

Writer of “O”

directed by Pola Rapaport

starring Dominique Aury

Zeitgeist Films

Oh, sure, nowadays you kids can get all the porn you want, free, and in the privacy of your own iPod. But back when I was your age, not only was the snow up to here, but you had to walk five miles UP hill each way to get smut, and that was assuming Big Brother would even allow the book to be printed. That’s the subplot of this lovingly crafted documentary about Dominique Aury’s mysterious 1953 novel The Story of O. When published, it shocked the world with its explicit description of sadomasochism and love. In a matter-of-the-fact manner it describes how a woman willingly enters a world of pain and humiliation for her lover. She gladly accepts the rape and whips, all to prove her love and hold onto the man she fears will leave her. Many saw it as a tale of abuse, yet it might equally be viewed as tale of love and manipulation by the female. Whichever view you take, its understated form and style make it a significant work of literature, and it remained illegal in the United States and Britain until the ’70s.

The author was herself in love with a married man, and while they carried on a discrete affair for over a decade, he cheated on her as well as his wife. The book was written one chapter at a time, late at night and in longhand. No copies were kept, and each chapter was a love letter, a novella, and a risk to both parties. Writing for real, and not preserving your work is to me the greatest act of trust possible, but more significantly, it had the desired effect.

In the documentary, you meet the 90-year-old authoress, who announced her real name to the world in 1994. The documentary mixes regular interviews with her friends and cohorts, a re-enactment of the story, and replicated interviews with the authoress. The effect is stunning — you are pulled back into the post-war ethos and its cultural battles. On one hand, we see the prudish victors, and on the other, we find the Carpe Diem attitude toward sex promulgated by the existentialism that arose out of the horrors of the war. Is sex such a fundamental part of society that it must be regulated, or is it the personal business of any adult and a fundamental right? The debate carries on today, although your right to download B&D, S&M, and any other alphabet soup of perversion is pretty safe for the moment. We have no objections to our children watching hundreds die flaming death at the hands of B actors, yet four pixels of Janet Jackson’s fake boob is a national crisis. Clearly, SOMEONE around here needs to be spanked.

Zeitgeist Films: www.zeitgeistfilms.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

  • Demons/Demons 2
    Demons/Demons 2

    Synapse Films reissues Lamberto Bava’s epic ’80s gore-filled movies Demons and Demons 2 in beautiful new editions.

  • Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson
    Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson

    Searching for the Disappearing Hour (Pyroclastic Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Payal Kapadia
    Payal Kapadia

    Earlier this year, director Payal Kapadia was awarded the Oeil d’or (Golden Eye) for best documentary at the 74th Cannes Film Festival for her debut feature, A Night of Knowing Nothing. Lily and Generoso interviewed Kapadia about her poignant film, which employs a hybrid-fiction technique to provide a personal view of the student protests that engulfed Indian colleges and universities during the previous decade.

  • Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

    A classic children’s tale re-imagined by America’s greatest composers.

From the Archives