‘Kamikaze Hearts’ Review: Truth or Fiction

Juliet Bashore’s porn-world quasi documentary is a delirious and distressing portrait of two women’s tempestuous relationship.

Juliet Bashore’s “Kamikaze Hearts” is a porn-world quasi-documentary about the underground scene in 1980s San Francisco that shivers spit and cold sweat. Originally released in 1986, it is now receiving a national rollout courtesy of a new 2K restoration.

A prism of ideas about performance, sex, identity, addiction, labor and much more, the film also plays like a bout of frenzied, opioid-induced delirium. It’s not exactly pleasurable — and it’s filled with disorienting longueurs — but it really sticks.

The apparent drama centers on the tempestuous relationship between the unhinged porn star Sharon Mitchell and her hapless lover Tigr. We follow these women over the course of a few days working on the set of a new adult film based on the opera “Carmen.”

That project will never be completed, because there is no adult “Carmen” film. The entire work — the tensions on set between the women performers and their sleazy male bosses, Mitchell and Tigr’s increasingly intense spats — was scripted and storyboarded, with the performers, many of them actual adult film professionals, improvising and playing versions of themselves.

Much like porn, in which real sex acts are performed in fake contexts, this self-referential haze of a film blurs the boundaries between truth and fiction. Perhaps the technology-inundated audiences of today, numb to the unstable realities and meta-universes that characterize the online experience (and franchise films, for that matter), won’t feel as impressed. Yet Tigr and Mitchell feel as alive as a fresh fever. And when we see the two women, who are actual heroin addicts, shoot up on camera, what could be more real?

Kamikaze Hearts
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 27 minutes. In theaters.

Source: Movies -


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