Blu-Ray Review – 9 Lives of a Wet Pussy

Abel Ferrara is now one of the most respected renegade filmmakers in the world but he got his feature film start in down and out cheap New York Pornos in the ’70s. Very few mainstream directors have pulled off doing porn (although many have tried) with the possible exception of Gaspar Noé with Love which feels too much like a real movie to fall into the category of porn. Ferrara would later basically disown 9 Lives of a Wet Pussy and it’s credited to “Jimmy Boy L.” but the seeds of Ferrara’s obsessions are already on display even in this very incoherent porno.

The “plot” is about Pauline (Pauline LaMonde) and Gypsy (Dominique Santos), one is a bored socialite and the other some kind of new-age mystic and playing their own sexual fantasies off each other. They have this deep emotional connection but Pauline starts pulling away from Gypsy, so as you might expect Gypsy will resort to anything to keep Pauline under her control. As you may imagine there is plenty of lesbian action in the film and the longest scene by far is a lesbian sex scene.

The performances from the actors for this kind of thing is usually strong, Ferrara actually was going out with Pauline LaMonde at the time and is actually in a three-way scene with her. The film deals with incest, sexual violence, guilt after sexual violence and even religion and class all themes Ferrara would tackle through his 40 plus year career. There is an incredibly nasty rape scene in the film which most certainly paves the way for the ones to come in Ferrara’s later films such as Ms. 45 and Bad Lieutenant. It also has this weirdly dreamy vibe throughout which is amplified by the score batshit jazz-fusion score by Joe Delia who would be a frequent collaborator of Ferrara’s.

It’s still mainly a series of set-pieces but that’s porn for you after all. Its clearly the work of an auteur in the making. It’s worth checking out if you want to see a missing piece of Ferrara’s ongoing long and strange career. The film is uncut after many trimmed down versions over the years and Ferrara explained what happened in an interview with Filmmaker Magazine: “9 Lives [of a Wet Pussy] was this porno film. We shot some cool scenes in that. But when the print traveled around, especially that circuit, you know, once it got south of Philly, the projectionist would just naturally take the best scene out and put it on his reel. We had a beautiful movie and by the time it came out — it was borderline to begin with — now it really sucked. The version now had none of the good scenes. They were all the scenes the projectionist didn’t want. He was the final editor.”

The disc includes a insightful commentary from film historian Samm Deighan and the Original theatrical trailer.

Ian Schultz

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