It’s Winter, but just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to shiver inside – unless you’re shivering with anticipation at the chance to warm up with one of SBS On Demand’s hot dramas.
Blame Moulin Rouge when it comes to history’s sexiest times, there’s nothing Victorian about Victorian-era France. This series, set in a Parisian brothel in 1871, doesn’t waste any time in getting down to the business of pleasure, as three women in three very different situations discover that when you work in a brothel there’s always one thing you can count on.
Rose (Jemima West) arrives at the Maison Close looking for her mother, only to discover that advertising your virginity at a brothel is a good way to get auctioned off to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, thirtysomething Véra (Anne Charrier) has an exit strategy in place – one that her lover and brothel madame Hortense (Valérie Karsenti) has no intention of allowing to take place. It’s lush and decadent while never letting the plight of these women fade from view: it’s a series about sex work where the work is what counts.
Tipping The Velvet
Sometimes it takes a dose of reality to make a sexual fantasy come alive. That’s the big strength of this coming-of-age tale of trans life and lesbianism in 1890’s London: because there’s relatively little actual historical record of sexuality from that time, there’s absolutely no reason why everything that takes place in this series (adapted from the novel by Sarah Waters) isn’t one hundred percent true. Joyfully diverse and firmly positive when it comes to all manner of sexuality, this exploration of the Victorian era’s underbelly roams wide and free, delighting in just about everything it touches.
How do you get ahead in the world of prostitution? If O Negocio – which translates as “The Business” – is any guide, the same way you do in any other line of work: good marketing and plenty of it. So while it might seem that Karin (Rafaela Mandelli), Luna (Juliana Schalch) and Magali (Michelle Batista) have a product that pretty much sells itself to the wealthy residents of San Paulo, this series from HBO Brazil reveals - amongst other things - that even the world’s oldest profession can pick up a few tips from modern sales techniques. Focus groups, consumer-led pricing, and high-profile sponsorships are just the tip of their marketing thrust. This is a smart and sexy comedy you can legitimately claim to be watching just for the business advice.
With a series titled Erotic Tales, you have a pretty good idea what you’re getting going in. But this is an anthology, which means you have plenty of reasons to keep coming again and again to this series of salacious stories. There’s a long list of big name actors and directors getting down and dirty here, including directors Nicolas Roeg, Ken Russell, Melvin Van Peebles, Hal Hartley, Susan Seidelman, and legendary gay German director Rosa von Praunheim, while performers include Mira Sorvino, Vincent d'Onofrio, Victor Argo, and Arliss Howard. But for Australian film fans the must-see episode is “Touch Me”: directed by Paul Cox and starring Claudia Karvan (who disrobes) and Barry Otto (who does not). It’s a masterpiece of not-always-subtle (check out the service station scene) sensuality – even if artist Otto using a fax machine to send his pupil (Karvan) his smutty drawings does date it a little.
Every kind of erotic art form has a period in history where it reaches its peak, so to speak. For pornographic movies it’s the 70s, which means this brash Brazillian series totally nails the sweet spot. It’s about Vicente (Marcos Winter) a government film censor in early 70s Brazil who falls fast for porn star Dora (Simone Spoladore) and soon finds himself working hard on set. This retro drama has a lot to say about the conflicts and hypocrisies of government censorship, but it’s also a salute to the time when movie porn was a cutting edge business where there were no rules. And what could be sexier than getting together with a group of people and making up the rules as you go along?
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