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Filmmaker Liz Canner takes a job editing erotic videos for a drug trial for a pharmaceutical company. Her employer is developing what they hope will be the first Viagra drug for women that wins FDA approval to treat a new disease: Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD). Liz gains permission to film the company for her own documentary. Initially, she plans to create a movie about science and pleasure but she soon begins to suspect that her employer, along with a cadre of other medical companies, might be trying to take advantage of women (and potentially endanger their health) in pursuit of billion dollar profits. ORGASM INC. is a powerful look inside the medical industry and the marketing campaigns that are literally and figuratively reshaping our everyday lives around health, illness, desire -- and that ultimate moment: orgasm. Written by
An entertaining and sometimes shocking look at drug companies
In my opinion there are two great skills required to be an excellent documentary film maker. The first is being able to make your subjects comfortable enough with you to be themselves and the second is to be able to edit together your multitude of interviews, graphics, animations, and other footage into a story. The first skill is far harder to learn than the second.
In Orgasm Inc. Elizabeth Canner, far exceeds any other film maker I have ever seen in the former, and this more than makes up for the ever so slight failing of the the latter. Her ability to get people who have been trained to deal with the media and the public,who have practised for hours in delivering the company line, to then reveal, on camera, things that you can clearly see they know they shouldn't even tell their own mother, is phenomenal.
At first i thought it was just down to the fact that the original company she was hired to work for trusted her because they saw her as an employee, one of theirs so to speak, but she does it with almost every drug company rep and dodgy doctor she speaks with.
The story begins with one company's attempts to corner the market on a "Cure" for Female Sexual Dysfunction, but quickly moves to the question of if this is a real disease or not, then we see the competition's efforts and focus on one women's journey as a trialist for one of the products and finally the efforts of a campaign group in trying to convince the FDA not to approve a drug for this "condition".
Canner was granted access that will probably never be available again and she has used this privilege exceedingly well, my only complaint is that the sequencing and timing of certain scenes didn't work for me, she could have edited the material a little better to improve the overall flow.
However unlike the ability to get people to reveal things they shouldn't, this is something that should improve in her work with experience.
A film that needs a far wider audience than it will unfortunately ever get, Canner has all of the good qualities of Michael Moore, she champions the underdog battling against the big corporate giant, has a playful sense of humour, and an ability to make linear connections, however, she doesn't share his ego, aggressiveness or rudeness, she let's her subjects speak and lets them tell the story.
Fortunately for us, some may wish they never met her.
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