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Not a Love Story: A Film about Pornography

(Ç'est surtout pas de l'amour)

Year: 1981
Language: English
Format: 16mm Colour
Runtime: 70 min
Director: Bonnie Klein
Producer: Dorothy Hénaut, Kathleen Shannon
Writer: Bonnie Klein, Andrée Klein, Rose-Aimée Todd, Irene Angelico
Cinematographer: Pierre Letarte
Editor: Anne Henderson
Sound: Yves Gendron
Music: Sylvia Moscovitz, Ginette Bellavance
Cast: Margaret Atwood, Robin Morgan, Kathleen Barry, Kate Millett, Linda Tracey, Susan Griffin
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada

Definitely the NFB’s most controversial film to date, Not a Love Story is the archetype of anti-pornography feminist sentiment.

Film­maker Bonnie Sherr Klein and Linda Lee Tracey, a stripper, examine pornography using carefully selected examples of photographs, sex clubs, peep shows and films to provoke an awareness of how pornography af­fects the viewer. Klein and Tracey interviewed photographers, actors and publishers of pornography as well as feminist authors and theorists who have analyzed the phenomenon. (The people interviewed include Kate Mil­lett, Suze Randall, David S. Wells, Marc Stevens, Ron Martin, Richard Snow­don, Patrice and Rick Lucas, Robin Morgan, Susan Griffin, Dr. Edward Donnerstein, Kathleen Barry, Mar­garet Atwood and Kenneth Pitchford.)

This indict­ment of pornography aroused considerable debate on the issue. Though few critics were as extreme as Jay Scott in the Globe and Mail, who condemned it as "bourgeois feminist fascism," some feared it would revive censorship. Ironically, the film was banned from theatrical release by the Ontario and Saskatchewan censor boards. Paradoxically, the film also became popular among porn enthusiasts who flocked to see the graphic imagery.

Most critics, however, praised its argumentative structure and its plea for love and sensuality over brutality. Not a Love Story has been the focus of ongoing debate by feminist critics on the nature and func­tion of pornography.

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