Porn Theatre (AKA La Chatte Š Deux TÍtes and Glowing Eyes)

Ladymol's Review

This is a surprisingly engrossing film. Surprising because it is nothing more than seedy encounters between men in a porn theatre. I think the film is quite allegorical: the theatre is a microcosm of life in the wild. Presided over by the middle aged cashier who has seen it all and done it all (by her own admission) a succession of men pay to sit in the dark, watching straight porn and having their gay encounters. Transvestites hover like exotic species of birds, swooping down upon the leftovers of the more carnivorous feeders. When some action occurs, the men circle, voyeurs, feeding their appetites vicariously. The acting is impressive, to the extent that you donít feel you are watching a movie. The film is gently amusing in places. I defy you not to find the constant soundtrack from the porn film hysterically funny after a while. There are some wonderful deadpan faces from the men as they pursue their little trysts. I particularly liked the transvestite who arrives a hairy trucker and puts on his silky blue top and beads in the gents and proceeds to flounce around the theatre with his fan thinking himself the most beautiful diva in the worldóonly, heís not: he still the hairy trucker with the huge beer belly. But which interpretation is right? I also liked the genuinely beautiful transvestite who only watches, slowly moving around the theatre in a sleek gold dress, her eyes saying it all. Who is she? Why doesnít she pick men up, too? Itís amazing that I was interested enough to think these things watching a film that should be incredible boring and sleazy.

I was so taken with this film that I actually wanted to know how it ended for the characters.

However, I add a note of warning. Iím fairly sure this film wouldnít be to everyoneís tastes. Give it a go if you can rent it or borrow it, but donít buy until youíve seen it for yourself!


Cerisaye's Review

The first time I tried to watch this movie I fell asleep.† I just wasnít in the mood, and found it tedious.† Well, having watched every other gay film in my possession I gave it another chance, and Iím glad I did because this time I was quite moved.†

It covers all the bases: young guys and older men, fat and thin, gay and straight, active and passive, doers and voyeurs, male and female, hustlers and johns.† The action such as it is takes place in a seedy Parisian porn theatre, the kind of place where patrons light a match to check carefully before sitting down.† We follow patrons from the ticket booth, downstairs to the seating area where they show straight porn flick La Chatte Š Deux TÍtes, and into the sleazy toilets.

The female cashier dispenses sexual advice and her philosophy on life & love as well as tickets.† An intriguing love triangle forms round this worldly wise woman, a hunky ex rugby player from Gascony whose eyes have been opened by six months in Paris, and a rakishly handsome regular, a rather worn older gentleman living longterm with AIDS.† The cashier fancies the man who in turn has the hots for the hunk.† I found their interplay the best aspect of a film so typically French itís laughable. †Thereís a surprisingly positive ending with the three leaving together after closing time, perhaps to enjoy the three-way that the wily cashier engineers so the older man gets what he wants and the shy and confused boy the gay sex she thinks every man should try at least once.† I loved her, a real ballsy dame!

The film has pretty explicit sex, as the audience members variously masturbate themselves or each other, cruise for tricks, engage with one of the many drag queens or watch public sex acts for vicarious thrills.† Itís all very sleazy and not terribly nice.† I didnít find it erotic and I donít think weíre meant to.† We see men gather round the drag queens like bees to a honey pot, flies undone and groins thrusting, predatory and rather unnerving.† It made me feel a bit queasy.† I found the voyeurs particularly pathetic until I realised watching the film made me just like them.

Like the policeman who raids the place I wondered why the men didnít go somewhere they could watch gay porn when clearly theyíre there for sex with other men.† And thatís what made me think about what the film is trying to say.† The patrons of the theatre need to hide their desire for men, something dirty and shameful to them.† Thatís why they fumble in the dark with men dressed like women.† We see a client enthusiastically fondle the male genitalia of a busty blonde.† Presumably many are married with families.† The handsome man is a former hustler who wears a wedding ring to reassure potential tricks.† Itís all a performance, like the simulated sex constantly playing in the background.†

We all need to make a connection, to find what comfort we can in contact with another human being however brief and meaningless.† Itís a sad film, though thereís hope at the end.† Itís not a film everyone will enjoy but if youíre up for it you might find it has some insight into the human condition.† Though youíve got to get past those fat drag queens in the bad wigs with their five oíclock shadows.