Gay Essential Review: Until Porn Do Us Part (Até Que o Porno Nos Separe) at Merlinka Festival

We are introduced to Eulalia as she sits in front of a luminated screen in a dark room. She scrolls through messages shared with her son dating back years, left unread or responded to. As she scrolls further and further back, the flurry of words blur until we reach one message. “I’m so disappointed in you”. Director Jorge Pelicano takes a look at the relationship between a mother and her son who are at odds over his profession as a pornstar in Until Porn Do Us Part (Até Que o Porno Nos Separe) which focuses on the way in which a family can become strained and look to rekindle the love for each other.

Until Porn Do Us Part

Using a dual narrative that follows both Eulalia and Sydney as the two go about their lives after he emigrated to Germany and we see how the two have grown apart. To keep some type of connection to her estranged son she uses his Facebook to keep an eye on him and his career. With little communication between the two, it’s the only way she is able to feel apart of his life still as she struggles to come to terms with his profession. As the story splits, Sydney (also known by his stage name Fostter Riviera) is shown working as Eulalia remains a spectator, watching his life from the outside in.

The way in which director Jorge Pelincano frames the story between mother and son is remarkable. With Eulalia shown mostly within her own home with natural lighting and speaking in voiceover, Sydney is instead shown in coloured lighting shown speaking in the present. This contrast in both visual and audio creates a stark parallel of how the two lives have changed since their relationship broke down. Mixing this with archive footage from the family growing up that show the tight knit relationship that was shared, we see the great distance they have grown apart, leaving the audience with hope that perhaps that two can reconcile their relationship.

Using a non-intrusive style that allows the camera to be a fly on the wall for private conversations allows for the film to feel as though we are included within the relationship ourselves. We never hear offscreen voices from the crew and instead left to piece everything together from the interviews, conversations and snippets we see from Facebook of how the two have grown apart. The film paints a powerful picture of how social media has an effect on how we view those closest to us and the way in which we try to connect with each other. Eulalia struggles to come to terms with their distant connection and over the course of the documentary attempts to become more accepting of her son’s choices through meeting those like him.

With the focus mostly on Eulalia and her story, Sydney serves as a prize just out of reach for both her and the audience as we are left wanting to understand him more. While the film spends time on his life in Germany, it is shot more like a fictional drama with dramatic lighting and unnatural closeups, creating a sense of distance as though we are a voyeur in to his life. This speaks most true when he has a conversation on the phone with his sister with the camera outside of the window, as though we are peering into this personal chat. The lights of cars passing by reflecting on the window leaving us feeling as cold and outside of his life as Eulalia is feeling for her own son.

Until Porn Do Us Part (Até Que o Porno Nos Separe) is a very effective documentary in the way that it brings you along on the story that helps you to both understand the struggle the mother experiences as well as the resentment the son is right to feel. Neither person is painted as the villain of this story and we are left to tackle our own perceptions of how we view sex workers and whether we can grow past our own prejudices to become more understanding. This documentary offers us the chance to grow, as long as we are open to do so.

3.5 Stars

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Shaun Alexander

Shaun Alexander

Shaun Alexander is a london based Freelance Film writer. He has previously written for Film Stories, Much Ado About Cinema and Screen Queens. His writing often looks at themes of gender, sexuality and masculinity. He has been looking to delve deeper in to nostalgia in film as a writing topic of interest
Shaun Alexander
- 2 hours ago