Sean Baker, independent film reference: "We live more comfortable with violence than with sex"

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Michel Foucault maintains that sexuality is not so much, as we tend to believe almost instinctively, a revelation of a hidden and secret desire as one more element of our freedom. We create sex for the simple reason that sex is our making. And, having said and reasoned this, the thinker solemnly concluded: “Sex is not a fatality, no; it is a possibility of creative life.” Sean Baker (New York, 1971) He has an entire filmography, with exceptions of course, turning this around: sex. Like everyone else, but in a more systematic, creative and even radical way, if you will. His cinema, and here there is no exception, is a stark and brutally honest chronicle of the margins, of what society does not want to see and of what is simply not available to us or to approved forms of representation. And there, without a doubt and against what it may seem due to its omnipresence online, the sex. “There is a kind of double standard. Sex is everywhere, just look at the phenomenon Onlyfansbut the current cinema has discarded it as an argument. We live in the paroxysm of an exhibitionist society that avoids talking about its obsession”says the filmmaker.

Baker, whose last film Red Rocket It had a porn star (Simon Rex) as its protagonist, she talked about porn and porn spoke for her, she is currently in Valencia at the festival Young Cinema where he receives a lifetime achievement award. For this reason, for the distinction and for the cinema itself, she says that her next work, already in production, deals with a sex worker (her expression is hers), that the film responds to the name of Anora and that it is already the fifth time that, in one way or another, he deals with the matter. “Perhaps it is the hypocrisy that he was commenting on that is the reason why I insist on the argument. The exploration of sex and eroticism is something we shy away from. Perhaps it has to do with the rise of Puritanism in my country and in the rest of the world. We’ve gotten to a weird point where we’re more comfortable with violence than sexuality,” he says.

Your movie Starlet (2012) was entertained by the unlikely friendship between a porn actress and a widow. Tangerine (2015), her breakthrough work filmed entirely with an iPhone, gave an account of the day-to-day life of a transgender sex worker. Shortly after, the most popular film of hers with space at the Oscars and everything, The Florida Project (2017), included in the cast a single mother who used prostitution to pay the rent of the motel where she lived with her young daughter. Then came the aforementioned Red Rocket (2021) and now, the next one, which is also the last one. “This one has more of comedy than anything else,” he says and continues: “To tell the truth, it was not premeditated to return to the same thing. We developed a story and then we realized that it could easily be applied to a sex worker. And, As is clear, it is a subject that I am familiar with and on which I already have many advisors. In truth, it is an infinite pool of arguments that can be developed and that current cinema has completely ignored. I think it is important to give representation to those who do not has it. That is partly the work of cinema and art: to give a voice to those who do not have it”.

It counts that yes Red Rocket ran today, the tape would be another. The plot of a pornographic star hunting for new actresses, that’s what it was about, no longer happens. “Onlyfans has changed everything as the latest evidence of an industry that keeps changing with every step it takes,” she says. And he adds as a sociological coda: “In reality, everything changes at an incredible speed and in all aspects. Four years ago we spoke of a polarized society as something insufferable and extreme. Time has passed and now the division is infinitely greater” .

In his opinion, part of the silence that covers sex has to do both with the very delicate nature of the plot and with the state of paranoia in which we live associated with an increasingly reactionary society. “We live delivered to a constant denunciation. Any debate has to be dynamited because someone feels offended. I remember that in my previous film, everything quickly came down to the age difference between the protagonist and the young woman he was trying to recruit (Suzanna Son). Everything else ceased to matter”, he recalls and, as he speaks, a current example comes to mind. Now with the movie Without bad rolls, which is simply an adult comedy, the controversy is the same. What would have happened if he was the oldest [la cinta protagonizada por Jennifer Lawrence platea una relación de conveniencia (por dinero) entre una mujer de treinta y tanto y un joven de apenas 18]? We have forgotten to talk about cinema, about movies… In fact, these kinds of comedies suddenly disappeared. we are fearful“.

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