Pinochet Porn

2008-16, 123 min, b&w and color, sound, Super 8mm film on HD video, English and Spanish with English subtitles

An epic experimental film, Pinochet Porn, embodies – though a dizzying array of stories and narrative methods – the multifaceted work of artist Ellen Cantor. Using her 2004 series of eighty-two drawings, Circus Lives from Hell, as an unconventional “script,” Cantor worked on Pinochet Porn, her most ambitious project, for the last five years of her life. The feature-length, episodic narrative, about the intertwined lives of five children and their maturation into adulthood, would be completed posthumously by her close collaborators – including her cast and crew – according to her directives. Using Super 8mm film, archival video footage, and digital animated drawings, Pinochet Porn takes the form of a soap opera, at once tragic and comic, and marked by a subversive sexuality. Its story weaves between personal, political, and historical circumstances, obliquely revolving around the political discord in Chile during the regime of General Augusto Pinochet. The film is also a document of an extended moment in New York and London avant-garde art and culture, featuring a range of artists, curators, writers, filmmakers, fixtures of the underground, musicians, and their children.