Gonzo pornography is a style of pornographic film that attempts to place the viewer directly into the scene. John Stagliano is considered to have started the gonzo pornography genre with his Buttman series of films.
The name is a reference to gonzo journalism, in which the reporter is part of the event taking place. By comparison, gonzo pornography puts the camera right into the action, often with one or more of the participants both filming and performing sexual acts, without the usual separation between camera and performers seen in conventional porn and cinema.
Gonzo porn is influenced by amateur pornography, and it tends to use far fewer full-body/wide shots in favor of more close-ups (See: reality pornography). The loose and direct camera work often includes tight shots of the genitalia, unlike some traditional porn.
Differences between gonzo pornography and conventional pornography
Gonzo porn films are one of two broad types of contemporary pornographic film, and they can be contrasted with the other type, which is called the "feature" film. Gonzo films tend to focus far less on the plots, dialogue, acting, characterization, elaborate costumes and sets, and artistic camerawork commonly found in conventional pornographic films. According to an unnamed executive at a studio specializing in feature films, "We don't just show you people fucking; we show you why they're fucking." Feature films are often aimed at the couples market, whereas gonzo pornography is usually not. Gonzo porn is always classified as hardcore pornography, whereas some features could be classified as softcore pornography, especially if they are released in softer, edited versions for distribution to hotel pay-per-view services. Some gonzo porn directors like John Stagliano argue that there is a story being told in his movies, and that it is a mistake to assume that gonzo pornography inherently lacks a plot. Due to the explosive growth in its popularity since the mid-1990s, gonzo porn has attained mainstream popularity, lowering the cost of entry into the market for producers, and making it easier for amateur performers to become famous. Several individually distinct styles of no-frills, filmed pornography can be labeled gonzo porn. Today, several companies produce gonzo porn that have excellent lighting, sound quality and (temporary) lingerie costuming. One trait that all gonzo films share, though, is a much greater emphasis on intense sexual performances, and modern gonzo porn is evolving to include more hardcore sex acts than either traditional or amateur pornography. Regardless of camera techniques or the degree of director involvement in the scenes, a gonzo film has "more sex", per se, than a traditional (e.g. Vivid or Adam & Eve) adult video. Gonzo scenes tend to run longer; it is common for a single boy-girl scene to run anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes in length. In 2008, porn star Mika Tan commented that the average gonzo DVD cost around 16,000USD to produce.
Similarities between gonzo pornography and point-of-view (POV) pornography
Point of view pornography (POV) is adult entertainment filmed to look as if the watcher were experiencing the sex act themselves. In POV porn, the shooting style is generally similar to gonzo pornography, with the person receiving sexual gratification holding the camera him or herself—aiming it down at the actress or actor who is performing the sex act. This style of filming is in contrast to having a separate, third-person camera crew filming all the action. The effect is to give the viewer the sense that they are experiencing the sex acts that they are watching, as opposed to simply watching others as a voyeur.
Some POV/gonzo porn sometimes breaks the strict point-of-view convention. For instance, Amateur Allure has a trademark shot where the sexually performing cameraman circles a handycam around the sexually performing model's head. This yields a view that would not be obtainable directly through the eyes of a person while experiencing the sex act. There is, however, no third-party camera work involved.
POV pornography in Japan
In Japan, point of view pornography is referred to as hamedori (ハメ撮り). Hamedori is a genre of Japanese pornography in which a male adult video (AV) actor or director serves as the camera operator. Hamedori-type videos were produced from the beginnings of Japanese AV in the early 1980s. The term "hamedori" came into use about 1988–1989, but it was only a small niche area until it was popularized at V&R Planning by director Company Matsuo.
Matsuo started working in the genre in 1991, saying that this intimate technique was a natural way for him to shoot in order to show his feelings for the girl and to "get her to open up about herself, to show her true emotions". Matsuo used amateur actresses in his videos, and he usually traveled to their hometowns for the filming. He talked to them extensively on camera so that both he and the viewer can come to know them before any sex scenes. A large part of the popularity of these videos is seeing how regular and normal the girls are in real life. As amateurs in a single segment of a multi-part video, the actresses are typically paid only about 50,000 yen (around 500USD).
- 2005 Pov Pervert 5 (Red Light District)
- 2006 Jack's Pov 5 (Digital Playground)
- 2007 inTERActive (Teravision/Hustler Video)
- 2008 Tunnel Vision #3 (Jules Jordan Productions)
- 2009 (Tie) POV Jugg Fuckers #2 (Darkko Productions/Evil Angel) and POV Pervert #11 (Mike John Productions/Jules Jordan Video)
- 2010 POV Pervert series (Mike John Productions/Jules Jordan Video)
- 2011 POV Pervert series (Mike John Productions/Jules Jordan Video)
- 2012 POV Pervert series (Mike John/Jules Jordan)
The AVN Awards have a "Best POV Series" award, which has been given to:
- 2007 Jack's POV (Digital Playground)
- 2008 Fucked on Sight (Evil Angel/Manuel Ferrara Productions)
- 2009 Double Vision (Jules Jordan Video/Erik Everhard Entertainment)
- 2010 Jack's POV (Digital Playground)
- 2011 Jack's P.O.V. (Digital Playground)
- 2012 POV Pervert (Mike John/Jules Jordan)
- 2013 Pound the Round P.O.V. (Digital Sin)
The AVN Awards have a "Best POV Release" award, which has been given to:
- 2005 P.O.V. Pervert 3
- 2006 Manuel Ferrara's POV
- 2007 Pole Position 5
- 2008 Fucked on Sight 2 (Evil Angel/Manuel Ferrara Productions)
- 2009 Jack's POV 9 (Digital Playground)
- 2010 Anal Prostitutes on Video 6 (Jules Jordan Video/Erik Everhard Entertainment)
- 2011 Jack's P.O.V. 15 (Digital Playground)
- 2012 Double Vision 3 (Erik Everhard/Jules Jordan)
- 2013 Eye Fucked Them All (Erik Everhard/Jules Jordan)
The AVN Awards also have a 'Best POV Sex Scene' award, which has been given to:
- 2007 Naomi with Tommy Gunn—Jack's POV 2
- 2008 Goo Girls 26 (Rodnievision/SunnyLaneLive)
- 2009 Double Vision 2 (Double Disc)
- 2010 Kagney Linn Karter—Pound The Round P.O.V. (Digital Sin)
- 2011 Tori Black—Jack's P.O.V. 15 (Digital Playground)
- 2012 Andy San Dimas, Bobbi Starr & Erik Everhard—Double Vision 3 (Erik Everhard/Jules Jordan)
- 2013 Asa Akira & Jules Jordan—Asa Akira to the Limit (Jules Jordan Video)
Notable gonzo pornography directors
- Bang Bus
- Devil's Film
- Diabolic Video
- Elegant Angel
- Pink Visual
- Reality pornography
- Third Degree Films
- Zero Tolerance Entertainment
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