Desperately Seeking Seka - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Desperately Seeking Seka Reviews

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½ June 2, 2005
Seka was, at one time, one of the biggest porn stars in the world. In the early 80's, at the dawn of video, you couldn't go past an adult bookstore without some picture of her overfeathered hair and Marilyn Monroe-esque eyes peeping out at you. Well, unless it was a gay adult bookstore, obviously.

A documentary on Seka made today should have been interesting. With porn as big as it is and with the industry having changed so much in the past twenty years, something reconciling the Seka of the silver age of porn with the woman she is today should have been something fascinating. And in the hands of Swedish documentary filmmakers Christian Hallman and Magnus Paulsson, it does, in fact, almost become fascinating, because they've found a way to make a documentary on the sex film industry irritating, pointless and boring.

[i]Desperately Seeking Seka[/i] follows a Swedish journalist on his quest to find the elusive Seka, who, as it turns out, isn't particularly elusive so it isn't much of a quest. Still, the filmmakers seem determined to force this sixth-rate Nick Broomfield shit to feature length, so the journalist goes to the AVN awards and talks to porn stalwarts like Al Goldstein and Jane Hamilton (the star of Cleo/Leo) before dutifully finding Seka, now a middle-aged housewife, in downtown Chicago.

Now, documentaries on the porn industry can be interesting, provided you put them together well and find people with something compelling or impressively stupid to say. [i]Desperately Seeking Seka[/i] has neither of these. A porn starlet talks about butt plugs for a bit, but it feels like she's just trying to keep the camera on her long enough to get her name mentioned. Hamilton (aka Veronica Hart, the star of [i]Cleo/Leo[/i]) is the sole interesting subject of the bunch, and an entire documentary about her might be good if it were done my more competent filmmakers, as she seems to have genuinely mixed feelings about her career, and she certainly comes off as an intelligent woman with a sense of humor. Hamilton actually talks about Seka instead of the industry as a whole, unlike most of the interviewees, which makes the film's already-shaky focus vanish even more.

Making matters worse is the awful editing, which quickly cuts back to a montage shot of whatever city they're in every couple of minutes, in order to remind you, apparently. This might make sense if, for example, the film was shot in several different cities. It was, in fact, shot in two different cities. And they're completely seperate parts of the film, so the continued jump cuts to the city's establishing shot quickly becomes an unintentional running gag.

As for Seka herself, well, it's kind of interesting to get a look at her, but she doesn't seem to be that interested in talking about her porn career, and the whole thing feels like being part of a group of folks that show up unexpectedly to some nice middle-aged woman's dinner party to make everything feel a little awkward. It's an anticlimactic ending to a documentary that's done such a lousy job of building things up that it's hard to even care.

There's plenty of good documentaries on the adult film industry, and there's probably even a good short documentary on Seka ready to be made, but is sure as hell isn't [i]Desperately Seeking Seka[/i]. This is honestly one of the shoddiest treatments of a potentially fine subject I've seen in a documentary in a long, long time.
½ June 2, 2005
Seka was, at one time, one of the biggest porn stars in the world. In the early 80's, at the dawn of video, you couldn't go past an adult bookstore without some picture of her overfeathered hair and Marilyn Monroe-esque eyes peeping out at you. Well, unless it was a gay adult bookstore, obviously.

A documentary on Seka made today should have been interesting. With porn as big as it is and with the industry having changed so much in the past twenty years, something reconciling the Seka of the silver age of porn with the woman she is today should have been something fascinating. And in the hands of Swedish documentary filmmakers Christian Hallman and Magnus Paulsson, it does, in fact, almost become fascinating, because they've found a way to make a documentary on the sex film industry irritating, pointless and boring.

[i]Desperately Seeking Seka[/i] follows a Swedish journalist on his quest to find the elusive Seka, who, as it turns out, isn't particularly elusive so it isn't much of a quest. Still, the filmmakers seem determined to force this sixth-rate Nick Broomfield shit to feature length, so the journalist goes to the AVN awards and talks to porn stalwarts like Al Goldstein and Jane Hamilton (the star of Cleo/Leo) before dutifully finding Seka, now a middle-aged housewife, in downtown Chicago.

Now, documentaries on the porn industry can be interesting, provided you put them together well and find people with something compelling or impressively stupid to say. [i]Desperately Seeking Seka[/i] has neither of these. A porn starlet talks about butt plugs for a bit, but it feels like she's just trying to keep the camera on her long enough to get her name mentioned. Hamilton (aka Veronica Hart, the star of [i]Cleo/Leo[/i]) is the sole interesting subject of the bunch, and an entire documentary about her might be good if it were done my more competent filmmakers, as she seems to have genuinely mixed feelings about her career, and she certainly comes off as an intelligent woman with a sense of humor. Hamilton actually talks about Seka instead of the industry as a whole, unlike most of the interviewees, which makes the film's already-shaky focus vanish even more.

Making matters worse is the awful editing, which quickly cuts back to a montage shot of whatever city they're in every couple of minutes, in order to remind you, apparently. This might make sense if, for example, the film was shot in several different cities. It was, in fact, shot in two different cities. And they're completely seperate parts of the film, so the continued jump cuts to the city's establishing shot quickly becomes an unintentional running gag.

As for Seka herself, well, it's kind of interesting to get a look at her, but she doesn't seem to be that interested in talking about her porn career, and the whole thing feels like being part of a group of folks that show up unexpectedly to some nice middle-aged woman's dinner party to make everything feel a little awkward. It's an anticlimactic ending to a documentary that's done such a lousy job of building things up that it's hard to even care.

There's plenty of good documentaries on the adult film industry, and there's probably even a good short documentary on Seka ready to be made, but is sure as hell isn't [i]Desperately Seeking Seka[/i]. This is honestly one of the shoddiest treatments of a potentially fine subject I've seen in a documentary in a long, long time.
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