The curated titles—with more still to come—include historically, culturally, controversially and artistically significant adult films, in genres including sexploitation, kink, all-male, cult, fetish, porn parodies, hardcore classics and more.
Some of these newly added film pages will, finally, round out several directors’ filmographies on our service. For example, Justin LaLiberty has curated a list for us of 30 notable adult films by genre filmmakers, which includes X-rated films by Wes Craven, Roberta Findlay, Abel Ferrara, William Lustig and Stephen Sayadian (whose Fantasia Festival masterclass this week is being covered for our Festiville HQ by Juan Barquin).
Many of the titles will plug holes on Letterboxd around the history of queer cinema, because, as Elizabeth Purchell observes in her essay for us, “you can’t talk about the history of queer cinema without also talking about the history of ‘all-male’ cinema”. For filmmaker Yann Gonzalez (Knife+Heart), the addition of specific adult films from the 1990s means he can at last celebrate the 90s goddesses who got him through his teen coming-out; and for Katie Rife, it is an opportunity to bring feminist adult filmmakers into the light.
In short, we aimed to include legacy and modern films that adult cinephiles would expect to see, without flooding Letterboxd with a tide of web and video porn. A job that, in LaLiberty’s words, is “one that requires a deft hand and not an algorithm to assess”. It’s important to the curation panel that we note that qualifiers like ‘canon status’, quality, theatrical release and sales figures, are not the sole barometers for inclusion, since adult films don’t always operate with traditional release plans, and often include works by and for marginalized communities.
If something is missing today that seems to fit our catch-all definition, it is probably because there is still more work to do. Our curation panel compiled a master list of titles, and helped us improve the The Movie Database pages for these (and more). This took months of work to prioritize and improve the TMDb content for the selected films, including fleshing out cast and crew credits, synopses, studio and production information, sourcing high-quality poster and (for some) backdrop images, and much more. It is thanks to the work of archive and restoration houses such as Vinegar Syndrome that this process has been made smoother for many titles. (If you’re interested in what constitutes an adult film on TMDb, there’s more about that here and here.)