Boogie Nights: How Hollywood and porn shaped each other

Yet, while recognizing the potential for exploitation, Pleasure also offers alternative perspectives, showing us areas of the industry where artists are treated with kindness and consideration. Thyberg initially approached the film with a strong anti-porn perspective, but after immersing herself in the Los Angeles world of porn and meeting a host of actors and directors, her vision evolved into something more ambivalent. In Boogie Nights, Anderson chose porn actors in small cameos, but Thyberg takes this approach much further, choosing actors in many roles in the film and working in partnership with those in the industry to shape the film.

This approach itself proved controversial, with some of the artists and professionals involved in the production voicing reservations about their performances, and Thyberg drew criticism for not working with an intimacy coordinator. However, this gray area is inherently consistent with a film that deliberately generates a sense of unease in the audience, leaving the question of whether Anna is authorized or exploited by her work unanswered.

Ultimately, the best pornography movies, like Boogie Nights and Pleasure, reveal something audiences should already be aware of. Cinema, both pornographic and mainstream, is an industrialized art form and such is plagued by the same power imbalances as any industry in a capitalist society. Under the veneer, the glamor, the squalor and the sex, these films remind us that the people who work in these industries are as human, complex and contradictory as any of us, regardless of the work they do. By humanizing porn actors and crews, these films have presented a compassionate case for taking this industry, and the rights of its workers, as seriously as we take any other. What could be more true, fairer or more dramatic than this?

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