Kay Brandt's CHERRY (episodes 1 & 2) is a masterpiece of lesbian cinema, a story with characters that had me wishing for more. Unfortunately, the two volumes were shot in 2010 and in the five years since no continuation of the saga has occurred.
That may mean CHERRY is Kay Brandt's CITIZEN KANE, but in a bad way. Just as that triumphant feature debut was an albatross for Welles, who never lived up to the incredible promise in future projects, I've seen Brandt's more recent lesbian videos, and they pale in comparison to CHERRY.
Non-X actress Judy Thompson is terrific in the title role, an enigmatic puppet-master who runs an exclusive, private lesbian night club which has "dancers" who cater to the sexual needs of her well-heeled female clientèle. It creates a parallel women-only universe, that had me wishing Kay would option and film the classic (and long-forgotten) Philip Wylie sci-fi novel THE DISAPPEARANCE, which I read in the '60s and has stuck with me since. (It portrays a future where magically men and women have been suddenly separated to inhabit two parallel worlds, and the resulting chaos (differs on each) that results.)
There are many classic set-pieces in Episode 1 (and 2 as well, which I have reviewed separately in IMDb), starting with the fantastic opening of Thompson at her sexiest, traipsing in a dream in see-through negligee, pursuing in vain the ethereal, undulating Talia (Tuesday Cross), only to wake up in her bed surrounded by two exquisite blonde (and topless) beauties, film's star Riley Steele plus Lux Kassidy.
The long episode (nearly 3 hours) is bloated by the slowly paced but extremely sensual XXX sex scenes, but does manage time out to develop key characters, many of whom recur in Episode 2 (and would hopefully continue further if distributor Digital Playground chooses to resuscitate the project).
Cherry's right-hand woman is Dusty (butch actress Karen Anzoategui, who like Thompson is foreign to Adult entertainment); her main lover at present is Riley, the trademarked Digital Playground superstar who is mighty jealous of any newcomers to Cherry's world (and seems like the diva on the set as exclusive contract talent); dancers Nina Mercedez (ultra-busty Latina who gives the film's best sexual performance) and Nixie (Vicky Chase, another torrid Latina); new kid on the block Sinn Sage as Winterlynn (most sympathetic character as a would-be dancer essentially thrown to the lesbian wolves and victimized in a memorable backstage "mean girls XXX" set-piece by Mercedez, Chase and Riley); and the fun team of Zoey Holloway and Diamond Foxxx, representing the club's clientèle as bored ostensibly heterosexual housewives on the girly make (they get to actually get down in Episode 2).
The club atmosphere is effective with plenty of extras, even more impressive in Episode 2 than here. Brandt knows how to quiet the mood and shift from bombast to intimacy, most notably in a classic scene wherein Mercedez literally pops the cherry of 18-year-old virgin Ash Hollywood in a back room at the club, while her perverse step-mom (all-time great Veronica Hart, looking good in a non-sex role) watches with approval. Hart and star Thompson are doppelgangers, with Judy essentially a double of the great mainstream actress Polly Walker, but also bearing an uncanny resemblance (especially the pointy nose) to Hart/aka Jane Hamilton. Brandt does not feature them together on-screen and no mention is made of the resemblance in the otherwise thorough BTS short subjects, but i'm not imagining it.
Film ends with a beautifully choreographed dance/sex routine by Chase and the talented Ann Marie Rios, playing a happily married friend of members Zoey & Diamond who goes to the club reluctantly but is rewarded with Chase's sexual favors. Nothing is resolved, but more unfolds in Episode 2, itself ending with most story threads still left up in the air.
So until Episodes 3 & 4 come to pass, or perhaps a full 9 like George Lucas has planned for his magnum opus, I am happy with these two views into an interesting parallel world.
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