"The Affair" is an excellent introduction to the new wave of porn from Britain, cleverly made in Bristol by the team of Cathy Barry and her hubby Phil. Besides the uninhibited XXX sex it is interesting for several reasons.
First, the Barrys have utilized the methods of Reality TV and its movie ancestor cinema verite to create something different: a self-aware and self-mocking slice of porn life for the fans. In addition the show's title rebounds to show the strange relationship of these Adult mentor/star teams, similar to the great ones preceding them like Armando Bo and Isabel Sarli several decades earlier in Argentina or Hans Moser and British-born superstar Sarah Young in Continental Europe in the '90s. In each case (I guess John Derek in America is another precursor) the filmmaker exploits his better half but clearly vicariously enjoys watching her have sex with other men, latterly unsimulated in XXX.
Opening scene of the nearly 3-hour extravaganza is telling: Cathy is on the streets of Bristol with Phil holding the camera, as she repeatedly flubs her lines in recording host narration for a documentary they're shooting. Among real-life folk wandering around on a busy plaza, Omar spots Cathy, they strike up a conversation and go off together, hubby handing his camera to an underling and storming off in disgust at the unprofessional behavior.
This phony "reality" sets in motion a complex yet simple-seeming narrative of the sexy duo's exploits while Phil looks the other way - an affair carried on right under his nose (and actually under his supervision since we sense he' s back manning Camera A later on). The actuality shooting fits the porn subject matter but is never taken seriously, as the unscripted duo make a barrage of cheeky remarks when not actually humping.
Group sex is Cathy's trademark and threesomes and foursomes are provided to spotlight some new talent, including big-nippled Katie Raymond in a trio finale and earlier Elle Brooke as a fellow-model for an Omar-directed photo-shoot in which the young blonde who only does girl/girl is transitioned to boy/girl and a mini-orgy when Omar and his cameraman Mat Pool pretend to turn off both cameras. Of course what we are watching is staged and professionally framed in terms of camera angles and composition, but the audience is primed to accept such artifice as if it were "real", unlike Reality TV where we are bamboozled into thinking what we are watching is spontaneous and unscripted. "The Affair" ultimately plays fair with the viewer, and we are rewarded with sex that embodies a joie de vivre not found in similar-content gonzo crap nor especially in the morbid, brooding melodramatic approach (think Gerard Damiano post-Deep Throat success) that I personally favor.
For an ultimate Omar/Cathy match-up, I recommend their debut scene together in "Cathy's Diaries 10", part of an excellent series that shows off La Barry's talents almost as well as the brilliant "The Goddess of Love" series did for Sarah Young released shortly before on DVD in 2002.
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