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  • 50 years ago I was a fanatical jazz fan in college (even a jazz dj at the campus station) and I recall all-nighters debating with friends about the New Wave in Jazz that was shaking things up: Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra and later Ayler & Pharoah Sanders. Even Ornette Coleman was still making waves with a comeback (Live at the Golden Circle in Copenhagen).

    In porn there is an avant garde movement as well, with CAPTURED representing actress/director Daisy Rock's contribution, collaborating with an anonymous guy whose stage name "Trash Meister" sort of gives away their game. Lately I've been watching similar efforts by her peers, most notably Madison Young (in lesbian cinema) and Dana Vespoli (both girl/girl and boy/girl contributions) and as with jazz the most striking aspect of the firebrands is a rejection of beauty (Coltrane was an exception) in favor of ugliness.

    Ugly is the operative word, along with repetitious, for CAPTURED, a British-made feature for the German label Paradise Film. Way overlong (at 164 minutes) opus presents five virtually identical vignettes dealing with a woman being stalked (first person hand-held camera and heavy breathing stalker on soundtrack), and then sexually abused in a dingy dungeon set with realistic cell/cage in the wall for captivity.

    I'll never forget Pauline Kael's assessment of Stanley Kubrick (re: A CLOCKWORK ORANGE) as a German professor dealing with his subject matter so coldly, and that holds true for exercises like this. Porn dating back to the stag film prehistoric era has had elements of shock but is generally about arousal - vicarious sexual stimulation for the viewer. Rock's injection (joining an increasing current bandwagon in the wake of "50 Shades of Grey"'s literary success) of BDSM elements in mainstream porn is an unstable marriage, with violence against women predominating here over sexual content, even though the latter is what counts. It's not subliminal - the alarming and negative content is upfront throughout.

    If CAPTURED were from a major label or had made a larger splash in the marketplace it may have raised some issues, but I'm afraid I toil in solitary fashion charting the trends it represents - the video simply is a non-event in the grand scheme of Entertainment history.

    Apart from content, what disturbed me was the filmmakers' m.o. They present basically a 30-plus minute XXX short subject of Daisy stalked on a remote residential street, grabbed and next seen in weird bondage attire locked in a cell. She has her hair up in a strange red ribboned top knot, her body is covered tightly in Saran wrap and overall she seems the worse for wear. Ritual has a guy in Red military (or some sort of Eastern European government functionary) garb, letting her out of the cell and abusing her. He comes back later in normal dress and humps her, treating her like garbage, and after his inevitable money shot, treats her to a dildo-machine (looks like something out of primitive early '70s porn) as the coup de grace.

    This exercise is repeated exactly four more times with different cast members as if Rock & "Meister" were remaking their short test film over and over. Only the faces change: everything else is the same, right down to the same street look for the abduction, similar big breasts for each British actress employed, and a requisite big dick identifying the male protagonists.

    The familiar married team of Jasmine Jaye and Ryan Ryder are one of the remake couples, and most alarmingly was Lou Lou, a delightful British performer of the last decade, virtually unrecognizable with short red hair and humongous, distorted breasts, evidently having fallen asleep a year or so ago at her plastic surgeon's table to awake botched and ready for her De Mille closeup.

    What emerges is a stunt, a fetish video merged with mainstream sexual content, in which the avant garde structure is merely cryptic. Is this a knee-jerk dystopia presented, with the exact repetition some sort of Sisyphus reference? Is the cold, remote nature of the sex a comment on our times? Is the whole thing just another audience insult, in line with the decades of pornographers looking down their nose at the "perverts" who as consumers ultimately pay their salaries? Or are the perverts behind (and in Rock's case also in front of) the camera, and proud to be perverted in the context of rebelling against "straight" society?

    Such questions are unanswerable, especially because few (read: none) care about such matters besides me when it comes to ephemeral porn. Like a random VHS XXX video from the year 1999 (to pick at random), CAPTURED will soon be forgotten and obsolete, as brand-new erotic projects are cranked out by the tens of thousands with no end in sight.