Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: I only watch Green Porno

Monday, May 11, 2009

I only watch Green Porno

By Lissette Decos By Green Porno, I don’t mean the kind of porno that donates its mattresses and left over lumber to Habitat for Humanity after filming is done. I’m referring to the short films on the Sundance Channel, directed by the lovely, graceful and godly Isabella Rossellini doing ungodly, ungraceful things like dry-humping a praying mantis. In each short film, Isabella dresses up like insects and then very visually acts out how they reproduce. The look of the sets is purposely low-tech, with hand-made backgrounds in which you are allowed to see the strings that make things move. The films all begin with Isabella looking directly at the camera and saying something like “If I were a bumblebee…” or “If I were a common house fly.” My favorite intro, and also, possibly my new motto: “If I were a firefly I would light up my ass at night, and look for a mate.” In the eight short films that make up the first season, Isabella does (literally) a common house fly, a bumblebee, dragonfly, earth worm, firefly, spider and a snail. As a snail, Isabella twists herself into a shell... her anus ending up right above her face. The whole time, I'm wondering, "What in the world is Isabella Rossellini doing dressed like a snail? And, oh my God, now her snail poop is coming out of her snail anus, and falling on her GORGEOUS, DELICATE, ANGELIC, ISABELLA FACE!!!" The only thing crazier than watching insects “get busy” via large papier-mâché penises and vaginas by way of puppetry is watching ISABELLA ROSSELLINI dressed like these animals getting busy with other animals. In an interview, Isabella says that she is finally doing what she has wanted to do ever since she was a little girl. She says she has always dreamt of making short films, and also of making films about animals. Somehow, I doubt that this is what little Isabella had in mind... even growing up in Italy. And that’s because this isn’t just about insects having sex, it’s how they have kinky sex. Who knew? And who knew these stories were so tragic - the bumblebee loses his penis during sex, and then bleeds to death - or so funny? The praying mantis get his head eaten by the female during sex which, of course, does not deter his progress. Now, there’s a new season of Green Porno. This time Isabella takes kinky animal sex under the sea. Aesthetically, the six new short films are still hand-crafty beautiful, and they are still super-educational (FYI, whales have a six-foot-long penis). So apparently there are many ways to tell an animal’s story, and not all of them require the narration of James Earl Jones. For example, if you are Disney and you're making Earth you spend big bucks waiting for weeks in the freezing cold with high-tech equipment - in the hopes that what you believed was a polar bear den would indeed be that - praying that a mama would arise from hibernation with her new cubs. Or in the case of Green Porno you can put on an arts and crafts party and create some wacked-out shit. Don’t get me wrong... Earth is gorgeous, with its aerials of beautiful creatures as they migrate over thousands of miles, and blah, blah, blah... where’s the KINKY ANIMAL SEX!? Surprisingly, both Earth and Green Porno do connect you to these creatures, and help you see the importance of your role in their preservation. They just use completely different techniques. Earth makes you feel guilty. I wanted to beat myself up for being born; flying in planes; driving so much; making the ice melt; and now, the poor polar bear is struggling and starving because of me. I’m so sorry polar bear! I wish you could fit in my New York apartment. I really do. I would care for you, polar bear, and I would share my iced lattes with you. Green Porno doesn’t make you feel sad for these creatures. Heck, in these films they are getting more action than you. earth was meant for the big screen, while Green Porno was meant for the smallest, i.e. the third screen: your computer, your iPhone. On that tiny screen, Isabella takes on one creature at a time, tells their story, and in doing that, she brings them up to our size. Actually, to her size. Isabella-size.

7 comments:

MovieMan0283 said...

Really enjoyed this piece. I suppose you could say Isabella's taking up the documentary torch of her father, but somehow I sense old Roberto's rolling in his grave...

Does Guy Maddin have anything to do with this show? He directed her in a tribute to her father which had a similar aesthetic (though she wrote said tribute, so perhaps she was wearing theh auteurist pants in that collaboration...).

It occurs to me that perhaps Rossellini's approach, however flamboyant, is more honest than Disney's...a point you seem to be alluding to in your descriptions of both. After all, we may sentimentalize animals, but they don't sentimentalize us (or themselves for that matter...don't polar bear mothers eat their young?)

Lissette Decos said...

Thanks! Guy Maddin is not involved, these are co-directed by Jody Shapiro. Isabella is creator, producer, writer, director and actress. Maybe dad's not rolling after all...

Fox said...

"left over lumber"...

That's like the eco-friendly version of sloppy seconds.

But no, I agree with Movie Man, I enjoyed this.

Grettel J. Singer said...

i love the few green porno films i´ve seen. where can i see them all?
besos mimi, love your writing.

Lissette Decos said...

Grettel: all the films can be seen at http://www.sundancechannel.com/greenporno/

Kathryn said...

Isabella has a book coming out based on the series that she has created, and it includes all of episodes on DVD. If you think you can handle all of the details in Green Porno then this is a book you should check out.

http://theharperstudio.com/authorsandbooks/isabellarossellini

Tony Dayoub said...

What a great idea. The shorts may have a very "performance art" feel to them. But they are also heavy on graphic design in a way that lends itself beautifully to a nice coffee table book.

Thanks for the link, Kathryn.