Friday, June 20, 2008

Green Porno

Isabella Rossellini's latest project, Green Porno, is a series of short films about the sex life of bugs. But they aren't your typical nature documentaries:
Each film is executed in a very simple childlike manner. They are a playful mixture of real world and cartoon. Each episode begins with Isabella speaking to the camera “ If I were a…(firefly, spider, dragonfly etc.). She then transforms into the male of the species explaining in a simple yet direct dialogue the actual act of species specific fornication. The costumes, colorful sets and backdrops as well as the
female insects (all simple paper cut-outs and sculptures) contribute to the playfulness of the films. The contrast of this “naïf” expression and filthy sex practices adds to the comicality of Green Porno. This child-like manner allows us to describe things that could possibly come across as offensive to some.
The resulting videos are surreal and fascinating. They look like a cross between a kid's TV show and a cheap sci-fi movie where the creature is a man in a monster suit.

The shorts were conceived, written and directed by Rossellini. She recently talked to Scientific American about doing research for the series:
It was difficult. I was always joking with some of the scientists I called that when it comes to insects, you can go through pages and pages and pages of how their mouths work, and I kept on saying, “I want to know how the genitalia work.” There are great descriptions about mouths and not much about sex. I read scientific books that have a lot of terminology that is hard for me to understand. So I bring it back to humans. That’s the process I tried to illustrate when I did Green Porno. I was terrified of making mistakes. I’m a very big supporter of the Wildlife Conservation Society, so I kept calling them, and their scientists are very kind.
And her love of critters goes back to her girlhood:
Also, when I was little, I always said I should have been born in Africa or been like Jane Goodall. That was my dream. And then when I moved to live in the country, I discovered all these bugs in my backyard. I discovered you can do your own safari. Animals are everywhere. Some are more romantic, like tigers and elephants and chimpanzees, and some are less romantic, like earthworms, but they are just as interesting.
You can watch the Green Porno shorts at sundancechannel.com/greenporno.
An interview with Rossellini for the Sundance Channel is below.


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