Canada’s Erotic 80s: Paradise

MV5BMjNhZDAwMTItYzY2Yi00NTZmLTgzZTItYTI1YjRiNmM4ZjkwL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzc5MjA3OA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,664,1000_AL_Paradise (Stuart Gillard, 1982) was the Canadian rip-off of The Blue Lagoon. The latter film was pretty universally panned as softcore garbage. The reception for Paradise was not any better. If anything, it was worse. Cinema Canada’s trashing of the film is one of the more generous:

The second major problem of the film is its sex. In The Blue Lagoon (forgive me, I am about to compare The Blue Lagoon favourably to another movie), one could see the growing sexuality of its heroes because they were marooned as children. The socialization process was not nearly complete. With adolescents (19th century remember?) the taboos are locked in place, so it is thoroughly unlikely that the sexual curiosity displayed by Sarah and the elaborate sexual techniques shared by them are even vaguely appropriate. In this sense. Paradise is sort of a pre-Victorian Porky’s. (Cinema Canada June 1982, 26)


The Blue Lagoon (Randal Kleiser, 1980) has almost no plot but lots of allegory. Sometimes it tries to be funny, but most of the time it is a mix of nature documentary and 60s style male fitness magazines. In spite of starring Brooke Shields, it’s one of the most homoerotic films made in Hollywood. Paradise has an almost deliberately ridiculous plot. It’s allegorical aspects hardly hide the basically exploitational thrust of the film. It mocks any sense of pathos. Its male lead is a dork and Phoebe Cates acts like she’s in a Disney film about a naive lingerie model. Though shot on location, it has a soundstage quality to it that seems to suit its high school theatrics. (more…)


Notes on Groys’ Art Power

“The only thing that saves us from bureaucratic subjugation, is the inertia of the bureaucracy itself.” – Donald Brittain Paperland: The Bureaucrat Observed

imagesSince Duchamp, the old distinction between artist and curator has collapsed. The creative has given way to the selective. The artist is the authorizer of a selection. What makes it art is that it is exhibited, and this status in time is what makes it contemporary. Contemporary art is the space of exhibition, one which places subjective, even arbitrary selection, into a public space. But the authority is more diffuse. Contemporary art is one of multiple authors, of institutions, curators, committees etc. It is a product of the bureaucratization of selection. Artists become identified with their CVs, not works of art. They produce less than they participate. Unexhibited works are reduced to documentation rather than works of art. “And that is the crucial aspect: the artwork today does not manifest art; it merely promises art. Art is manifested only in the exhibition, as in fact the title Manifesta already states.” (98) Museums no longer display seemingly eternal collections but temporary, transient and bureaucratically re-evaluated ones. They become, functionally, like almost any other part of the state apparatus. Their function as documentary performed makes them identical to the cultural bureaucracy that they are funded by. Effectively, budgets for doomed utopian projects are what is produced by contemporary art.

Canada’s erotic 80s: The Surrogate


“The Surrogate …is a reminder that the bad, old, tax-shelter days of Canadian movie-making may not be over just yet.” [i]

“The Surrogate is a porsche with no engine – a slick, empty chassis of a movie.”[ii]

Don Carmody had established his reputation in the Quebec film industry as a producer, a role he would continue to concentrate upon after his single experiment with directing. The film in question, The Surrogate (1984), was made for Cinépix and resulted in Carmody nearly having a nervous breakdown, at least according to the film’s producer, John Dunning. (more…)