The world’s only road-show festival of amateur porn returns to the Rio Theatre for four nights of hot action starting Thursday (September 20), bringing a high-res picture of 2018’s politics with it. As the most immediately zeitgeist-y of this year's efforts, “Pizza Roles” is stocked with gender-fluid folk parodying the production of a professional porno shoot, with the film’s producers hiring and firing until they land on their perfect actor: a “queer interracial trans”.
The zippy short doesn’t quite click, but then again, the HUMP! Film Festival—founded as a sex-positive celebration of homegrown smut by sex advice columnist Dan Savage back in 2005—lives on enthusiasm more than technical chops. The cracks are visible (heh) in a polyamorously-themed country-song parody called “Second Favorite Man”, but the spirit is infectious as hell. Another musical short asks “Is Queefing an Instrument?” The answer is no, but as a split-screen appreciation of the pussy fart, it makes a thoughtful case all the same.
Among the more cheerful segments this year, “The Code” offers advice on how to get your Lyft driver into a queer threesome; “Oh the Savings” depicts a lone woman’s particularly inventive use of coupons; and the resourcefully shot “Dildrone” graphically recalls Turbonegro’s timeless 1998 classic “Rendezvouz With Anus”. Meanwhile, opening number “Objectify” demonstrates that you can still have fun with your clothes on, with its deadpan and sometimes baffling sexualization of everyday objects. (Still not sure about that adding machine.)
As ever, there’s at least one outstanding animation, this time in the shape of “Hermetic Dating Rituals”, which will appeal to anyone who’s curious about Goetia or wants more background on the film Hereditary. For pure, nasty raunch, nothing really touches the trans-oriented fisting opera “Dark Room”, which adds a vividly prolapsed backdoor to the catalogue of things projected over the years onto the Rio’s big, inclusive screen.
In a stiff race for the most impressive piece overall, the Vancouver-made collage “Paramnesia” is a genuine thing of beauty, featuring latex she-gimps in huge platform shoes and elven woodland dykes caught in amniotic embrace. “Connection” imagines a gorgeous pas de deux between two strangers in a cafe, and looks like something that might have gotten a BravoFACT grant if it wasn’t for all the genitalia. As for bracing, high-end spectacle, the utterly bizarre “Turiya” is a humdinger of nonbinary dinger humming.
A very honourable mention must also go to “Morning Comes”, in which a crisply shot two-man fuck plays beneath a candid account of a dying relationship, with a fascinating detour into the subtle psychological horrors that accompany la petite mort. Still, for all that artfulness, one cannot help but notice that the ridiculous “Boys at the Beach” only needs 45 seconds of slo-mo dick-swinging to make the most efficient impression of all.
As ever, HUMP! isn’t kidding around about protecting the privacy of its participants, so keep those phones firmly in your pockets. Anything else you want to whip out is presumably at the discretion of theatre management.