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 Gerard Damiano R.I.P.

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Mapache

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PostSubject: Gerard Damiano R.I.P.   Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:37 am

Just found out Gerard Damiano, the director of the infamous porn flick Deep Throat, passed away at the end of October. What does he have to do with horror. Nothing, unless you include another of his famous films The Devil in Miss Jones. But he did help pave the way for the proliferation of small indie productions getting more widespread distribution, and brought an arthouse cachet to the Grindhouse genre. The profits from Deep Throat were used to create Bryanston Distributing that also handled several other features including The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, Brian DePalma and many others might not have been possible if it weren't for auteurs like him and Russ Meyer.

BTW Deep Throat remains the highest grossing porn flick still, and if you put it up against all other indies, is the all-time leader, far surpassing Blair Witch. And still has the highest production to profit ratio of 25000 to 1, surpassing Titanic and that Batman fella.
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PostSubject: Re: Gerard Damiano R.I.P.   Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:58 am

Mapache wrote:
Just found out Gerard Damiano, the director of the infamous porn flick Deep Throat, passed away at the end of October. What does he have to do with horror. Nothing, unless you include another of his famous films The Devil in Miss Jones. But he did help pave the way for the proliferation of small indie productions getting more widespread distribution, and brought an arthouse cachet to the Grindhouse genre.

You're giving this man much more credit than he deserves in regards to spreading the model of independant distribution. That model was set in stone years before DEEP THROAT was conceived. If anything, give Damiano credit for the same thing you would give Larry Flynt credit for: pushing pornography as a form of art no different than the populist escapism that floods the theaters, periodicals and books year in and year out.

Also, there is no such thing as "the grindhouse genre".

Mapache wrote:
The profits from Deep Throat were used to create Bryanston Distributing that also handled several other features including The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, Brian DePalma and many others might not have been possible if it weren't for auteurs like him and Russ Meyer.

Giving Damiano credit for Bryanston Pictures is hardly accurate. While the founders DID use the money made off of DEEP THROAT to build Bryanston (those men being Lou and Tony Peraino, two mobsters who conceived of Bryanston as a way to hide the millions they had made off the movie illegially), crediting Damiano for the release of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and other films is ridiculous except in terms of the causal principle.

And regarding Damiano as an "auteur". No, he wasn't. Unless you're using the term in the way most stupid (mostly American) filmgoers who have no idea what the term actually means. Then yes, he is. And so is every other filmmaker who has made more than one film in their career.

Mapache wrote:
BTW Deep Throat remains the highest grossing porn flick still, and if you put it up against all other indies, is the all-time leader, far surpassing Blair Witch. And still has the highest production to profit ratio of 25000 to 1, surpassing Titanic and that Batman fella.

Behold the power of controversy and it's ability to sell tickets.

I liked DEEP THROAT. I really did. And I DO believe that pornography deserves serious consideration (maybe not as a genre per se but as an exercise of spectatorship) but this man simply started the ball rolling in the States. He was already being outdone overseas in both quality and artistry (of which Damiano had none). So while I recognize that he played an important role in not only creating perhaps the most well-known porno in the world but also helping to pave the way for broader anti-censorship laws in the realm of film production/distribution/releasing, I can't say I feel bad about this at all.
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PostSubject: Re: Gerard Damiano R.I.P.   Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:21 am

Dave wrote:

You're giving this man much more credit than he deserves in regards to spreading the model of independant distribution.

Also, there is no such thing as "the grindhouse genre".

Giving Damiano credit for Bryanston Pictures is hardly accurate.

And regarding Damiano as an "auteur". No, he wasn't. Unless you're using the term in the way most stupid (mostly American) filmgoers who have no idea what the term actually means. Then yes, he is. And so is every other filmmaker who has made more than one film in their career.

He was already being outdone overseas in both quality and artistry (of which Damiano had none).

He did bring credence to a film form that, before, had never even been discussed much. As an independent!

grindhouse category, whatever you want to call it.

The money created Bryanston. Not Damiano. "The profits from Deep Throat were used to create Bryanston Distributing..."

Auteur, to me, means an artist with a particular stylistic vision. What does it mean over there?(I'll ignore the slur on my country)

And yes, his artistry had never been seen before in the field of porn. In the US. Europe, for a long time, had been much more lenient. Most porn here was made as cheaply and cheesily as possible. It had to be, as most of it would never get released in any normal route. But Damiano definitely brought something new and innovative to porn. The dialogue was actually fairly good, he grabbed interesting music, and even introduced elaborate sets. Deep Throat still remains, to me, a very memorable film, even tho I haven't seen it in over 20 years.Like wise with Miss Jones. Pretty good considering Lovelace wasn't anything to look at, and probably couldn't even get work in it if she were alive and young now.
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PostSubject: Re: Gerard Damiano R.I.P.   Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:47 am

Mapache wrote:


He did bring credence to a film form that, before, had never even been discussed much. As an independent!

He created a porno film that just happened to receive major theater release in the US. Your original statement was "But he did help pave the way
for the proliferation of small indie productions getting more widespread distribution, and brought an arthouse cachet to the Grindhouse genre. "
That's over exaggeration. You're giving him WAY too much credit.

Mapache wrote:
grindhouse category, whatever you want to call it.

Grindhouse is a kind of theater. Not a kind of film. Not a genre. Not a category. Not a look. Not a feel.

A KIND OF THEATER. And that's it.

Mapache wrote:
The money created Bryanston. Not Damiano. "The profits from Deep Throat were used to create Bryanston Distributing..."

That's true. I didn't argue that. But your original statement makes it sound as if he was somehow responsible for launching the careers of other
now well-known directors simply because his crooked investors made a bunch of money. Causality is on your side there, buddy, but not logic. You can't
give Damiano credit for any of that.

Mapache wrote:
Auteur, to me, means an artist with a particular stylistic vision. What does it mean over there?(I'll ignore the slur on my country)

I'm American. My country too.

I would suggest reading up on Cahiers du Cinema for an idea of what the politique des auteurs means. It's too difficult to explain in a few sentences. It deals more
explicitly with a cohesion of themes, stylistic elements (not simply the way a film is shot or edited), and content. An auteur does not necessarily have to be a director
either - Val Lewton would be considered an auteur - but, depending on which of the Cahiers writers you're reading, a screenwriter cannot be considered an auteur.

It's not as easy as saying "well he shoots tons of long shots so he's an auteur". Kubrick is not an auteur because of his style of direction. He's an auteur because his
body of work is consistent in theme and expression, in tone and content. His filmography feels like a long personal conversation. That is the heart of the auteur
principle. The label of auteur is not to be given out to every filmmakers who shows simple consistency either. It's the totality of the work.

Funny thing is, the auteur principle was never meant to last this long or still be relevant (which it really isn't - the independant
distribution markets have, in many ways, killed it long ago). It was meant as a way to separate filmmakers
from the trappings of the industry, to sort out the unique from the mundane. Auteur principle was created to illustrate how the individual personalities of the great
filmmakers could exist in a highly regimented form of production. That was the point of the politique des auteurs.

It was Andrew Sarris and Sight & Sound that created a new American version of auteurism. In their eyes, mise en scene was the prominent feature, the look of the film
taking presidence over theme. The classic French idea of the Signature became unnecessary. Anyone who hung around long enough could be an auteur. That was good
enough for them. And it's wrong. Flat fucking wrong.

Mapache wrote:
And yes, his artistry had never been seen before in the field of porn. In the US. Europe, for a long time, had been much more lenient. Most porn here
was made as cheaply and cheesily as possible. It had to be, as most of it would never get released in any normal route. But Damiano definitely brought
something new and innovative to porn. The dialogue was actually fairly good, he grabbed interesting music, and even introduced elaborate sets. Deep Throat
still remains, to me, a very memorable film, even tho I haven't seen it in over 20 years.Like wise with Miss Jones. Pretty good considering Lovelace wasn't
anything to look at, and probably couldn't even get work in it if she were alive and young now.

His films were utterly devoid of artistry. Simply making better porno movies than the vast majority of US skin flick filmmakers isn't enough.

And I liked DEEP THROAT, too. I did think it was entertaining. But this man was not an auteur and not a good filmmaker. He was just a guy who made a good porno.
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PostSubject: Re: Gerard Damiano R.I.P.   Sun Dec 14, 2008 4:55 pm

Alright, to cut this short, I'll augment my obit to this- Damiano dead. Crappy US porn director with ties to mob. Had no talent or style whatsoever. For great porn see Jess Franco. or Radley Metzger.


Coming up- 25the anniversary of death of Sam Peckinpah. Crappy US action director. Made some so-so films with 1 or 2 hits. Best (most memorable)film- Convoy. For great action, see Michael Winner.

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