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» » Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography (1981)

Short summary

This documentary is an examination of the pornography industry such as in strip shows, sex shows, film and magazines. Furthermore, the film explores how a large portion of it takes a denigrating view of women, leading up to depictions of sexual violence for titillation.

Linda Lee Tracey felt she was portrayed inaccurately in the film. She viewed her work as a stripper as a positive, liberating pursuit. Her anger inspired her to begin her own career as a documentary producer and reporter.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Mozel
    I'm giving NOT A LOVE STORY half of a good rating - because that's exactly what the film gave me - HALF of the story. This exploitative "documentary" is completely biased and shows absolutely no objectivity in the subject-matter and was obviously created by someone with a personal vendetta against the adult-entertainment industry.

    We basically follow a woman (who I assume is the director) as she recruits stripper Fonda Peters to go to different peep-show houses and strip-clubs to talk to the owners and the girls that work there. There are a few "round-table" type discussions with other porn-haters and a few "facts" mixed in as well, and at one point, Peters volunteers for a Hustler-style photo-shoot with famous erotic photographer, Suze Randall. The "slant" of the film is that porn is violent and misogynistic and detrimental to women and sexuality in general...

    Couple of problems with all this. First off - while staging protests and talking about how "degrading" her photo-shoot was, Ms. Peters NEVER once seems to regret her profession as an adult-entertainer, and in fact defends herself for her choice of careers on several occasions. I found this a bit odd. For such a "straight-and-narrow" documentary of the perils of porn, we're treated to several scenes of sex-acts in nightclubs, a hardcore live-sex show, and several scenes from B&D types of films. What's the purpose? To me, it seemed like an exploitative attempt to "sell" this film to the exact market that it so blindly accuses. I also found it interesting how the film focused solely on "roughie" style porn and related ALL porn to that particular sub-genre. The scene where they claim that the only women who watch porn are coerced into it by their boyfriends is ridiculous too. Also - why no talk of the male sex-trade? There are plenty of male strip clubs where men are objectified - why no discussion on that topic? The reason is because as soon as the roles are reversed, then it's a non-issue. Obviously men could NEVER be looked at as "objects" or "exploited", right? This sort of thing could ONLY happen to luckless women forced into this horrid profession. Personally - I think it's all bullsh!t. I have no sympathy for anyone (male or female) who as an adult chooses their path in life. There are very few cases (if any) of a woman (or man) being forced into the types of peep-show establishments or porn industry in general portrayed in this film. It's this constant cry-baby finger-pointing and lack of taking personal responsibility that has begun the gradual downfall of this country.

    NOT A LOVE STORY is semi-entertaining in terms of watching these early 1980s women's-libers get all uptight about sex. The "message" itself is so obviously skewed as to be laughable - and there is a good bit of explicit nudity so that made it tolerable too. True documentary fans will see this film as the joke that it is - other porn-haters and staunch anti-porn feminists will probably salute this film as an important work to further their "cause", and then masturbate to the sex-scenes when no one is there to hold them accountable...5/10
  • comment
    • Author: Windbearer
    I'm giving this a nine out of ten, because, despite not portraying soft-porn, it addressed a serious issue: violence in pornography, when viewed, changes the person who views it. It's hard to justify portraying women in pain as sexy or sexual, and yet, that is what Dave Wells attempts while being grilled by Klein.

    I watched this film as part of a seminar series on the developmental view of sexuality. I can truly say that the types of porn portrayed in this film are depraved.

    I've watched, and enjoyed erotica. I've read, and enjoyed erotica. I have, and enjoy sex often. But there are limits and boundaries to what is acceptable, and I think Klein finds them.

    I do wish she would have addressed the positive aspects of erotica, because her focus purely on hardcore porn, and on the sleaziest sides of the adult entertainment industry do not do justice to argument. However, for those who haven't yet made the connection between what men view in fantasy and how they treat women in reality, this is a truly eye opening shot.

    I wouldn't label it as "feminazi." That's an atrocious misogynistic term used by conservatives to mislabel and marginalize women who fight for the civil rights of women. It's a term thrown around by troglodytes who would like to keep women silent, bound and gagged, on their knees, or barefoot and pregnant.

    I would say the film is very one-sided, but if you watch the film knowing this in advance it is a real eye opener.

    There are positive portrayals of sexuality out there. It's just a bit hazardous looking for them!
  • comment
    • Author: MrDog
    This so-called documentary was anything but objective. It was produced by a feminist with an axe to grind. It took a predetermined negative stance towards pornography and had a clearly one-sided, unilateral, anti-porn agenda. It only showed the hardest, roughest forms of sex and avoided showing the much more prevalent sex-is-fun films. It tried to claim the women were being "degraded" and portray them as victims, while failing to mention that everything that occurs to women in porn also occurs to men. Men must "cum on command", they are "objectified" too,and there are numerous porn films where men are portrayed as inferiors. (slave-films, femdom, domination, etc.) In fact, one of the porn actresses in this film (who enjoyed her work) was so angered over the edited and skewed manipulation that the director had used to make her appear as a "victim" who was against porn, that she later went on to become a filmmaker herself in protest. This film was obviously a hack-job that didn't even accurately portray its subjects and intentionally tried to artificially portray them as victims of the porn industry. Obviously, this was nothing more than a feminazi propaganda film.

    Erotic and sexual images have been viewed by people since ancient times. Such images have been found in every ancient culture in the world and were commonplace and acceptable in ancient Rome, Babylon, Egypt, and India. It is absurd to think pornography is somehow new or "harmful to women". LOL Only the media has changed. Attempts by man-hating feminists to outlaw pornography are nothing more than misguided misandry. Feminists want to outlaw pornography as a method of oppressing men and taking away men's freedom. They don't want men to be able to masturbate and satisfy themselves sexually, but want women to have a monopoly on sex and use it to control men. That's the REAL reason why man-hating feminists seek to outlaw it. There is no legitimate, objective evidence whatsoever that porn leads to "violence against women" or is harmful to women in any way. Its just an attempt to take away men's freedoms and oppress men. Outlawing porn also takes away women's freedoms too. In fact, cultures where porn is illegal (like Iran) are cultures where women have the least rights, and cultures where porn and prostitution are legal (like Denmark/Sweden) are where women have the most rights. If anything, the empirical evidence shows a positive correlation between pornography in a culture and women's status. In a society that really respects women, women would be free to do what they want with their OWN bodies. If a woman wants to strip, perform in porn, or perform sexual acts then that is HER choice and should be respected. She doesn't need some dumb feminist trying to take away her right to choose by outlawing porn. I thought it was "Our bodies, our choice" (the famous feminist slogan regarding abortion). If that's the case, then why do feminazis insist on interfering with other women's rights to do what they want with THEIR bodies? Each woman should be allowed to choose to either do porn, or not. Feminazis try to take away that choice by attempting to outlaw porn and prostitution. Feminists are the REAL oppressors of women!Each woman should have the right to choose to do what she wants with her body.

    Commissions were formed in the 80's by the Reagan administration to try to form links between porn and social harm to provide a "justification" for outlawing porn, but even these commissions had to concede that no harm whatsoever can be shown. The Supreme Court in the USA and Canada both made several modern rulings on pornography and came to the conclusion that pornography should be available to those consenting adults that choose to view it. Those who don't like it don't have to watch it. The feminazi's lost their war, thankfully. Now we can view porn easily through mainstream media such as pay-per-view and the Internet. Hooray for men's rights!! The feminazi's failed to oppress us; even with inflammatory one-sided propaganda films such as this!

    I give it 5/10. Zero for intellectual content (since most of this was misinformation and politically-biased feminazi propaganda), but 5 stars for the good skin and explicit sex shown.
  • comment
    • Author: Cerar
    My friend's Mom took us to see this because she thought we were getting the wrong idea about porn. (I think) WE were about 14 or 15 at the time and had only see playboy and penthouse. I don't think I have seen anything this disturbing since. I definitely thought more about what's going on behind the scenes but I also developed a much broader idea about what people did, wanted to do, or are forced to do in the realm of sex. I would recommend seeing this but not before you are at least 18 or have had some experience with sex, because I can still picture a woman's breasts tied into a purple tube with the distended bulb at the end being pinched and bitten. Fun for some but a little much for the young
  • comment
    • Author: ME
    This film simply shows how the porn industry reiterates the oppression against women in a symbolic and sexual way. A man in the business stated that men have fun seeing women being submissive because of female emancipation, because "men don't want to be equal to women". Men have always had power over women. Even today, women are hurt, raped and humiliated in most societies of our world, and female sexuality is still controlled. So that's a good film to think about all the consequences porn has in our everyday lives, for this is sex education, but this is also a reflection of the mentality of our sick society.

    Of course, if a guy sees in a film women being raped and the rapers are seen as cool guys, this will desensitize him, as the psychologist states. The pornography shows violence against women as something exciting and there's no way it could be a positive thing.
  • comment
    • Author: Ferri - My name
    I caught this documentary at a small art house cinema back in 1981. There was no rating but you had to be over 18 to be admitted. I have never forgotten it.

    It's about pornography and how it degrades women. They specifically target porno films where women are tied up and used. To make their point they do have to show clips from these films--and they're just revolting. I have nothing against porn--but not when it's violent and people are being tied up or forced.

    They also talk to people who run porno shops and women who perform sex acts live. The most interesting interview I remember was when they talked to a wife and husband who preformed live sex acts to each other on stage (she's white, he's black). She actually defends what she's doing quite well and had me believing her! Just fascinating with hardcore sex--but it IS necessary for the integrity of the film. It's also horrifying that some people enjoy this sort of "entertainment". Hard to find--it deserves wide distribution. A 10.
  • comment
    • Author: Hiclerlsi
    First of all, this is a documentary about the XXX scene in the states. Made around a time when horror and the XXX scene became violent. It was the time of the slashers and the porn horrors. Girls were humiliated in that era. As seen in the documentary some directors stated, it's a men's world outside and all movies are made so that men can have fun, and what's more than having pride as a man when a woman kneels down and give it to you. A time when Britain started the hunt for those movies as the so called 'video nasties'. The US didn't follow so women protested against those violent movies. But the fun in this documentary is the fact that it was banned also due the reason that they showed strip acts and some photo shoots of women showing their genitals. Further on they visit 42nd street, visiting the scene and showing explicit parts. So it's hard to find this flick, oh yeah, you can order it in Canada were it was made but you will have to be a teacher to get it and they copy it on VHS. Fun to see that they are talking about the rise of the VHS in which the XXX scene sells three time more than a major Hollywood film, and the fact that there are 4 time more XXX clubs then Mc Donalds. The thing that offended me the most is the part were a psychiatrist explains what XXX movies are doing to your mind. He says, if you watch them a lot were women are raped you will won't get offended about it anymore, so when you see a rape in real life, you won't be bothered. What a stupidity to say, nowadays we know that people who watch XXX don't become rapists and people who collect horrors aren't serial killers. Anyway, a must see but place yourself in the time being. I can tell, I walked around 42nd when 42nd was still as seen in this documentary. And it was indeed sleazy, even my hotel was located in between. 10 years later I was back on 42nd, everything was gone...So watch this one before the last copy has gone.
  • comment
    • Author: Kanal
    I saw this movie when it first came out and have been trying to see it again ever since. Very powerful and enlightening. It certainly raises the idea of whether or not pornography should be legal---in the sense of the havoc that it wreaks in the lives of the women involved in that industry. Worth seeing. Catch it if you can.
  • comment
    • Author: LeXXXuS
    I saw this movie today in my documentary class. Unfortunately, I won't be able to show this movie to others because it's impossible to find. What a shame really..

    This movie was amazing. I'd never really considered pornography from a feminist point of view, so to be exposed to this movie was really shocking. Some of the scenes are hard to watch, I must admit.

    I think it's great that the director is accompanied by Linda who is a stripper. It's great to see Linda's reaction at the end of the film when she has been through a "Hustler" type photo shoot.

    And was I the only one completely disturbed by the lady photographer? Eek.

    If you have any social conscience, you must see this movie.
  • comment
    • Author: Bralore
    I saw "Not A Love Story: A Film About Pornography" at the Renoir Cinema, London two years' ago. I put the word 'sex' in inverted commas because what we see in porn films, whether hard-core or soft-core is ACTING. It is not real BUT it purports to show real, 'hot' sex. By interviewing people who actually work in the industry, in magazines and on film, and in live shows and peep-shows, both as producers and performers, this documentary shows a behind-the-scenes look at what really goes on. Watch the film to see for yourself; I'll just give one example here of an interview which stuck in my mind. The top porn actor Marc Stevens appears as himself and related the following anecdote. After a great date, he and a woman went home together the same night and had sex. Afterwards, she was angry that he didn't perform for her again immediately. To be friendly, he said if she gave him some time to recover he would try again. She was outraged - she'd seen him do it FIVE TIMES IN A ROW on-screen. Stevens said, "but it took me five DAYS to make that film!!" Unfortunately, Stevens wasn't joking when he told us that. People are fooled into thinking that the acting and gloss and smiles and enthusiasm are real. They watch the films and expect their partner to perform like that; they see the magazines and expect their partner to look like that. Conversely, OTHER people say the porn industry is all FANTASY and that NONE of it is real. Unfortunately, although the gloss isn't real, the misery behind it is. Real human beings, not fantasies, perform in those films. 10 out of 10 to Not A Love Story for reminding us of that.
  • comment
    • Author: Gosar
    Well this was my first time seeing anything like this. And it was very good. For this film shows what the porno industry is really all about. I saw it at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia as part of a 'lecture series'. After viewing it there was a time for discussion which made it even better.
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Linda Lee Tracey Linda Lee Tracey - Herself, Stripper 'Fonda Peters'
    Bonnie Sherr Klein Bonnie Sherr Klein - Herself (as Bonnie Klein)
    Suze Randall Suze Randall - Herself, Photographer
    Kate Millett Kate Millett - Herself, Writter / Artist
    David S. Wells David S. Wells - Himself, Editor / Publisher
    Marc Stevens Marc Stevens - Himself, Porn Actor
    Ron Martin Ron Martin - Himself - Producer
    Richard Snowdon Richard Snowdon - Himself, Member of Men Against Male Violence
    Patrice Lucas Patrice Lucas - Herself, Sex Show Performer
    Rick Lucas Rick Lucas - Himself, Sex Show Performer
    Robin Morgan Robin Morgan - Herself, Poet / Writer
    Kenneth Pitchford Kenneth Pitchford - Himself
    Susan Griffin Susan Griffin - Herself, Author of 'Pornography and Silence'
    Edward Donnerstein Edward Donnerstein - Himself, Research Psychologist (as Dr. Ed Donnerstein)
    Kathleen Barry Kathleen Barry - Herself, Poet / Writer
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