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FETISHES

USA, 1996 (MIFF 1996, Documenta)

Director: Nick Broomfield

The intrepid Nick Broomfield takes camera inside Pandora's Box, an up market New York fetish parlour run by one Mistress Raven. The establishment caters solely 'submissives' or 'bottoms', the partner in S&M or bondage relationship who prefers to on the receiving end of the paddle, so For a modest $175 an hour, clients experience their worst nightmare or give to their ultimate fantasy.

Broomfield, typically annoying the bejes out of his subject in order to extract the v gems of revelation that make his documentaries such compulsive viewing, refers to Dominatrix Raven by her given name, the rather more pedestrian Betty. She attempts to explain to director/interrogator that her establishment less about kinky sex and more about "a transfer of power and control".

The Raven emporium of pleasures and pains gainfully employs a dozen or more staff with peculiar specialities in order to cater for tastes of the Pandora's Box punters Broomfield delights in recording the special tastes of Mare a dedicated masochist who looks upon this the ideal career. Slave Jeff, "the human ashtray who enjoys keeping things spic'n'span at command of a stern 'top' : the wealthy professional with an asphyxiation hang-up and a retired bank manager who just wants to be your dog. Fetishes doesn't set out to ridicule those who frequent Pandora's Box or cast moral doubt upon their left-field sexual appetites. Nick Broomfield wishes merely to open audience's eyes to other possibilities probing a subculture that has literally been behind closed dungeon doors. A daring dead funny documentary.

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