Well-made romance utilizing a classic film structure
Screenwriter Raven Touchstone (who also contributed the fine costumes) based "Of Time and Passion" on one of cinema's most durable structures: the passing of an object (could be an overcoat, a $20 bill or any other device) from person to person to knit together a story of individual vignettes. Julien Duvivier, in many films like "Tales of Manhattan", was the undisputed master of the form, and pornographer Jerome Tanner does fine work here in a XXX context.
Blessed with a fine (and offbeat) ensemble cast, story opens in the present day (of 2000) with foreign star Nina lying in a coffin, feeling world-weary as she waxes philosophically with friends Joel Lawrence and Misty. Misty presents her with a bracelet given to her by her mom and begins telling the tale of the trinket's history, covering generations and many decades of time.
First episode is set in 1925 in a vaudeville milieu, as Inari Vachs receives the bracelet from her partner Kyle Stone, and humps him in the dressing room.
By 1930 the bracelet changes hands again in Hollywood as down and out Vachs needs money and gives it to Rudy (well-dressed gentleman Mark Davis). She hides when beautiful Tera Patrick storms into the dressing room, and Davis pretends the bracelet is meant for her, then makes love to the glamorous girl. The superstar Patrick was just a fledgling actress named "Sadie Jordan" at this time, and the scene is a bit off- balance given her soon-after and all-time prominence in Adult Film history, but it's a hot sex bout nonetheless.
In 1943 a soldier (played by obscure actor Todd Alexander) hands the bracelet to Lola, and the tall beauty services him. Next we jump all the way to 1975 when blonde college girl Kelsey Heart is given the hand-me- down bracelet by her prom date Dave Hardman, who in a bit of comic relief is dressed as an Elvis impersonator, fortunately taking off his wig for their sex scene. Some of the sex is performed with condoms on while other scenes are executed bareback.
Finale takes us back to the initial coffin scene, with Nina feeling she has a new lease on life, and performing a strong threesome with Misty and Joel to climax the film. There's a bittersweet mood to most of the vignettes, as Tanner captures and sustains a romantic mood (aimed at Couples) while Raven's story emphasizes the transitory nature of these loving relationships -something of an achievement in the oft-ridiculed porn genre.
A coda following Joel's cum shot is fanciful, as the two ladies ponder where the bracelet will end up, speculating that Nina's daughter may take it into space on a spaceship and her granddaughter receive it as an offspring of some alien species intermarrying. Most unusual script writing.
After being quite pleased with this feature, I was brought back down to the dumps with the Behind the Scenes short subject on the DVD, in which during a rehearsal Joel tells his female co-stars quite didactically that the dialog does't matter: the consumer is only interested in the sex! This self-fulfilling prophecy, endlessly propagandized within the Adult Industry with hardly any challenging of it as "conventional wisdom" (I have always railed against it, to zero effect) has resulted in the sorry current state of affairs where all-sex has consumed Adult Cinema. The joke's not on me but on short-sighted folk like Joel Lawrence, who was a screen fixture back in the day in myriad acting roles -seemingly booked 365 days a year, but faded out (few roles after 2006) when gonzo took over and he was just another faceless stud to be hired for close-ups of his dick.
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