Ms Naughty, webmaster, blogger, and expert in female erotica, says this about my last movie LIFE LOVE LUST:

“When Barcelona-based filmmaker Erika Lust released her first short film The Good Girl in 2004, it heralded the start of a new wave of female-friendly adult movies. In the six years since, she’s proven her erotica credentials with two award winning features – Five Hot Stories for Her and The Barcelona Sex Project.

I’ve reviewed both films for For The Girls and thoroughly enjoyed both of them. Erika’s style of chic, engaging and visually stunning erotica was a very welcome addition to the adult industry landscape and raised the bar when it came to smart and sensual erotic filmmaking.

Now Erika is back with her latest feature Life Love Lust and damn, if she hasn’t upped the ante again. This film just blew me away with its elegance, its simplicity and its honest and arousing portrayal of sex. It’s a shining example of how a sexually explicit film can be thought-provoking, emotionally satisfying and arousing, all at once.

Life Love Lust is comprised of three vignettes, each telling a different story. It should be pointed out these are more than the mere “sex scenes”, as occurs in most porn films. These are “sex stories” – they’re short tales about people and why they’re having sex, not merely explicit depictions of sex with a couple of lines of dialogue tacked on. Context is always important and here Erika Lust effortlessly makes us care about who these people are and why they should be getting it on in the first place.

The first story, Life, portrays a loving couple who both work long hours in a restaurant. At the end of a hard day they meet for a passionate celebration of his birthday. It’s easy to believe this couple genuinely care for each other as they make love; the sex is intimate and realistic. There’s not a lot of explicit close-ups or endless position changes and the scene is really very short compared to most marathon sex sessions in porn. We see more of their faces than their genitals. It really does feel like you’re peeking in on a real life couple, sharing a special moment together and renewing their relationship amid the stresses of everyday life. That simple acknowledgement that sex needs to fit into the structure of the rest of our lives is such a refreshing perspective and one rarely seen in porn.

Love, the second story, is a little more melancholy and ripe with longing. It depicts a pair of lovers who, after a chance meeting, regularly rendezvous in a hotel room for laughter and sex. Inevitably, one of them wants more. Erika tells the story via flashbacks and fast cuts, giving us a glimpse of the fun times enjoyed by this casual couple before we see them make love on the bright white sheets of the hotel bed. Again, there aren’t too many explicit shots or extensive footage of fucking although the emphasis does move a little more towards the thrill of sex rather than pure emotion. Like the last scene, her orgasm has priority although his pleasure is not neglected. As the sun sets and the story concludes, the viewer realises they’ve just seen an entire love story in under ten minutes. That’s impressive filmmaking.

Lust, the final vignette, is perhaps the most sensual and arousing piece. It tells the story of a shy woman who decides to expand her sexual boundaries by having a bodyslide massage. She visits a woman’s apartment and is treated to a luxurious and intensely sexual experience, sighing with pleasure as the other woman covers her in oil and runs her fingers – and her breasts and her whole body – across her skin. She is then licked and manually stimulated to orgasm, laughing in her afterglow. Lit by candles and warm light, the scene is a tribute to pure sensation, demanding the viewer engage and really feel the glory of flesh-on-flesh. It’s all about the sexual possibilities of touch, combined with the idea of being gently and thoroughly serviced by a caring person. It’s a lesbian fantasy quite unlike what you see in most hetero porn – or even dyke porn for that matter – and a joy to watch.

One of the most wonderful things about Life Love Lust is that it’s visually breathtaking. The lighting is flattering and captures each situation perfectly. The sets are sumptuous and make extensive use of reds and blacks to create a luscious and lusty atmosphere. There are extreme close-ups with short depth of field, clever shots taken through prisms, knotwork and glasses; the kind of 35mm-like shots you usually only find on big-budget mainstream film productions, not adult films. It makes the whole thing feel professional, stylish and extremely artistic. If you’re over gonzo porn with strip lighting, this is a feast for the eyes.

The music is another highlight. Each scene features original music by Spanish artists, most of them with a grungy, indie or urban feel. The songs compliment each scene well, adding extra depth to what we see on screen.

The dialogue is all in Spanish but there’s so little of it that I didn’t need subtitles. That’s the other fantastic aspect of this film: the viewer is able to easily garner information and follow the storyline without vast amounts of exposition. Erika Lust tells her stories through carefully selected images, props and judicious editing, leading us subtly through each scenario, letting us fill in the gaps to create the context for each erotic pairing.

Similarly, the lack of explicitness in the sex scenes makes for an unusual yet refreshing surprise. Most of us are used to constant hardcore in porn. Erika reminds us that a quick flash of cock-in-pussy can be like an erotic shock; it sticks in the mind and allows us to use our imaginations to construct the rest. Sometimes a little taste can be more enticing than the full banquet.

It’s hard to find anything negative to say about this film, beyond the fact that at 35 minutes, it’s probably too short. The DVD does come with two extra stories, both fetish-related. The first, Handcuffs, won Best Short Film at the Feminist Porn Awards this year. It’s a moody and fascinating 7 minute piece built around voyeurism, BDSM and public sex, again making use of story and suggestion rather than lots of full-on sex. I haven’t seen the second, Love Me Like You Hate Me, which is also BDSM related, because I saw the film via download.

All up, I loved this film. It’s smart and sassy and absolutely beautiful to watch. Erika Lust has made it primarily for straight women but I don’t doubt that men will enjoy it as well. Fans of erotic fiction will be rapturous; this is like snuggling in with the visual equivalent of three satisfyingly hot short stories. Of course, if you enjoy down-and-dirty hardcore, you may be a little disappointed but there’s still lots here to enjoy. I know I could happily sit and watch it again – and there’s very few adult films that merit this. In short, it’s an erotic triumph and I wish there was more of it.”

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