Dudes. I just had my brain blown out the back of my head. I finally got my grubby paws on a copy of This is Love, a short art/porn/snuff/? film by Danny Wylde, one of my personal porn faves and a guy who’s gotta be one of the coolest, smartest young men on the major porn scene in LA these days. It’s a short art/porn film that’s about… well… hard to say what it’s about, really. But you’ve gotta see it.
I say all this in a tone of surprise, honestly. I think Danny Wylde is one of those types of people who’s kind of a visionary and an artist without even really wanting to be, which makes me inherently trust his creative output. But I have to admit that when I saw the trailer for it:
…I kind of went, “Ummmm…. crap.” Because, hey, look, I live in New York. I know hipster art films. And this gave me a strong East Williamsburg PBR kind of vibe. Then again, I’m a bit paranoid about hipsters cause I despise them so much and find their art so generally stupid, so maybe it doesn’t breathe “I wear neon pink framed sunglasses and jeggings” quite as much as I thought it did, but suffice it to say I was apprehensive about the film.
But no more, friends. No more. This is Love is, I really hope, the first in a series of films from Danny that are absolutely and completely worth watching. Now.
It’s a graphic and gritty depiction of the lengths sexual obsession makes us go, but it’s also a heartbreaking portrait of what love, or a twisted idea of what love can and should be, can do. And it’s… I really don’t want to sound like a starstruck fangirl here, but it’s really kind of incredible to watch Danny Wylde perform in it. In a tense, pared down scene he films for his lost lover, he masturbates and then shoots himself, his eyes glued to the camera–the stand-in for his love–the entire time. And it’s intense. Because I know that Danny is acting–he’s a better actor than ninety-nine percent of the field of porn performers but rarely gets to show it off–but it feels so deeply, deeply real. His eyes, his open-posed body, his desperate jerk-off motions… I guess the thing that’s blowing me away is how vulnerable he is showing himself to be in this scene, which is obviously filmed and acted for a movie he’s making but is using very real emotions. He’s really felt these emotions and he’s really showing them to us through a thin lens of fiction. Anyone who’s ever been obsessed and depressed recognizes that face-slap, that look of unhealthy glee when he stares into his lover’s face, that panting, breathless need. It’s powerful subject matter, and it’s a powerful depiction of it. It’s brave to show that face to a camera and to the public.
And how crazy is that? No, really, think about it: when’s the lat time you watched a film that could classify as porn (though I think This is Love is more art than porn, at leas as far as established film genres go) and really felt a connection with the male lead, whether it was gay, straight, queer, or anything in between? How many times in professionally made film in which a male character is shown in a sexual context do you get a feeling of authentic vulnerability and not a phoned-in version of it? Sure we have the occasional “uh-oh, he lost his hard-on” scene in a mainstream film where we get to see “male vulnerability” in effigy, but how often do the realities of the complexity of sex and sexual obsession get to be shown from a powerful emotional male perspective? Not many a’ tall, friends.
Of course, Danny Wylde is not in any way a typical male performer, and that’s worth bearing in mind when you’re thinking about his performance in This is Love. He works for companies all over the spectrum from vanilla to kink, he openly admits to his bisexuality and films a lot of it; he caters to fans of all orientations and genders who follow him around in very lost-puppy fashion; he dominates and subs with ease; and he even records his experiences and thoughts in a very honest, very insightful, very well-written blog. He interviews other porn performers about their experiences with empowerment and degradation; he’s an outspoken advocate of the porn industry while being openly critical of its shortcomings. He does these things with a quiet honesty that one doesn’t often see in Hollywood, much less in porn. He more or less breaks every stereotype that the mainstream media and the porn establishment has set up for men in America, and yet he continues to work with some of Porn Valley’s biggest names and hottest companies. And now he’s making art-house/porn/snuff films that speak very clearly about the male experience of obsessive lust? Yes, PLEASE!
I very much want all of you to watch This is Love, but Danny is only releasing it through private sale via his website to avoid piracy–kind of a good idea, no? If you’d like to see it (and you probably do if you’re an open-minded fan of artistic film), you have to contact him directly. I think you should, because it’s a short film that will really make you think and feel slightly uncomfortable that you’re turned on, and because you might get some personal attention from Danny, who, as you can see from my trying-really-hard-not-to-fawn fawning above, is so totally cool you definitely want to get to know him. It’s only $10, and it’s so worth it.