- Reviewed from the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
Perhaps the most eye-catching aspect of Ninja Thyberg’s daring debut is the sheer number of erect penises on display, but its portrait of the porn industry is what makes Pleasure such an unforgettable film. Set in L.A.’s ultra-competitive world of adult entertainment, it shows 19-year-old Bella Cherry (Sofia Kappel in a remarkable first role) jet in from Sweden with porn-stardom in her sights.
Thyberg shows both the good side (supportive, safe and well-organised sets) and the incredibly ugly side (a toxic environment where coercion constantly blurs the lines of consent) of a brutally cut-throat industry. It’s a challenging and incredibly uncomfortable watch but the emergence of Thyberg and Kappel as envelope-pushing talents makes it a rewarding one too.
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