It used to be my opinion that art porn was to be avoided because the majority of the sucking was often done by the writers.
“ Zazel” (1997) changed my mind about this. A golden somewhat-oldie in the Fairvilla Megastore staff favorites rental shelf, it’s the story of a famous artist who is commissioned to invent the most sensually arousing perfume in the world, to be called “Zazel,” (which is actually the name of a very powerful angel). As our heroine loafs around around in high end settings, gardens and galleries jotting notes and drawing pictures to capture her ideas about what the scent is going to be she has some of the most wildly imaginative, bizarre and beautiful fantasies on adult video. Ken Russell, we’re quite sure, would approve.
The film stars the exotic beauty Sasha Vinni, who plays not only the artist but a number of entities in her own dreams. If you were swift, you caught the word “entities” instead of “people” because the perfumer’s fantasies are populated by angels, demons, goddesses with a little room left over for mere mortals, but damn, the entities are intriguing. Sasha, for instance, plays the breath-taking blue-skinned goddess; with her wide red lips, gold turban and snake-like tongue against her unearthly cobalt skin and long, blue fingers, her writhing around in the water is probably the most striking and memorable looks I’ve ever seen in an adult film, and that includes Paris Hilton and her creepy night-vision sex scene.
Speaking of creepy, there’s a segment called “Hell” in which Anna Romero (imagine a pornographic version of Kelly LeBrock, circa “Weird Science”) plays a demon with massive red PVC horns on her head and a red PVC tail lodged as firmly in her butt as a hand up a puppet, and who makes love to the severed head of a woman played, again, by Sasha Vinni. If it sounds savage, it isn’t – it recalls more Aubrey Beardsely than Texas Chainsaw and the sheer weirdness of it makes any pious tizzy kind of level off, almost out of sheer wonder. And there is a segment with angels (as in the title) that has a very ambitious, elegant 90’s feel to it, an other-worldly veneer.
Another unique attention-getter in “Zazel” is the boots – more seasoned adult viewers than I may have seen these before or since, but several of the women in the film wear boots with PVC dildos that stick out of the heel. Rock back on those and one imagines one cares drifting away. They look like they’d be the perfect perk-up to any tedious kneeling you might have to do to locate a book on a low shelf, clean a floor or go along with the choreography in church.
Finally, "Zazel" has next to no dialogue, brilliantly dodging the camp-o-licious potential dilemma of what we will call 'porn acting,' which was so well-parodied in "Boogie Nights." Porn acting is actually one of my favorite things about adult films, but my pop culture sensibilities were forged in the fires of the 1980's, when people went to see Ed Wood movies on purpose, so there will always be a bit of me that thinks bad is good. At any rate, not having much dialog as a distraction has its merits.
“Zazel” has walked away with 13 AVN awards over the years – so the sweet smell it was after turned out to be “success.” Its imaginative beauty certainly justifies all this recognition, so if you have any curiosity about where artistic aspirations meet dildo boots (and in my mind they’re peas on a pod) look no further then Heaven, Hell and the serene pool of the blue goddess.