Seksi‘s initial attempt to merely present the “rise and fall and eventual return” of sexy movies is easy to do — especially if the one’s making it is literally located within the center of the activity. What made the documentary meaty are the talking heads from people involved in making them — to see their point, along with archival footages from Probe edited in parallel to their talking points. Outlier is the segments from an interview with Rolando Tolentino — maybe to put a semblance of balance to things or to put academic legitimacy to the whole scene?
But they have no intention to make a discourse out of this! See how Rolando Tolentino’s attempt to engage “exploitation” here was answered by the documentary with “consent” that happens behind the camera. That much is obvious and Tolentino of course, was referring to something else entirely.
The documentary echo nothing more than what’s already been echoed from before: the story is king. Which is also the slogan of all the other industry bozos who treat cinema as mere avenue for stories. Roman Perez, Jr. would eventually argue for Vivamax’ “mass” character (that it is close to the “masses” and that’s art made for them), which really dismisses different aspects of movie viewing such as spectacle and desire and such is the root of Tolentino’s point on “exploitation” which is opportunistically trimmed to discredit any point of criticism.
Seksi eventually puts an endnote with an archival footage from Probe of Celso Ad Castillo saying that sex-oriented films are what is supporting the industry at the time of that interview with him (1990s), and without them, the industry will collapse. This point was aligned with their claim to support work for the industry during the pandemic, as highlighted by Jose Javier Reyes in the documentary.
It was perhaps a precious moment when actor Sean de Guzman candidly stated that his primary motivation is money when he started accepting them roles. At least we get a glimpse of something that we can possibly believe in.
But all of them statements amounts for us to see this much: that whatever that they were doing, it is only THEM that benefits from it and not the imagined masses they say that they are bringing their “art” to. They don’t have the courage to ask what drove people to see their films that sustained their living — and they don’t have the courage also to admit that the reason they are there is not because they have good stories, but because whatever the motivation is for the montage of sex scenes that they have by the time the documentary closed.
This is a PR stunt. No more, no less. How else can we interpret all these attempts to justify what they were doing ?? Whether or not making a documentary — in collaboration with Probe — legitimize their practice is not the issue here. THEY ARE ALREADY LEGITIMATE as an option for both who participate in production and consumption of audiovisual materials. The documentary adds nothing new to the discussion aside from boasting that it was made in collaboration with Probe, and to confirm that they don’t care about us.