Porn History 101: Pornochanchada: If You Never Watched Brazilian Porn from the 70’s & 80’s You Missed a Treat

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SÃO PAULO – from www.worldcrunch.com – In the 1970s in Brazil, there was an explosion of a very particular cinematographic genre: Pornochanchada, a type of soft porn.

In the middle of a military dictatorship, these erotic movies without explicit sex and with naughty humor were phenomenal successes at the box office. For example, O Bem Dotado – o Homem de Itu (The Well Endowed Man From Itu), one such film, was seen by 2.4 million cinema-goers in 1978.

With the end of censorship six years later, Pornoshanchada quickly gave way to hardcore porn. Like in Europe and the United States, audiences started to migrate from seedy movie theaters into the privacy of their own homes with home video. The movie theaters closed and turned into churches.

But then came the Internet and DVDs, making transport and pirating easy – and the porn party came to an end. Now it seems more like a funeral.

Photo: Cinedistri

According to Paula Aguiar, the president of the Brazilian Association of Erotic and Sensual Media (ABEME), erotic films only account for 1% of sales in the erotic media industry. In the 1990s, they represented up to 60% of the market.

According to ABEME statistics, in 2006 erotic productions generated about $150 million in revenues, 50% of the adult market at the time. “In 1962, when the first sex shops opened, there were no movies offered. That changed and video sales eventually overtook the sales of products and toys. But the big boom ended in 2004,” Aguiar says.

It’s not just in Brazil. Steven Hirsch, the owner of Vivid Entertainment, one of the largest adult entertainment companies, went so far as to say that it is the worst time for the industry in the past 25 years. Piracy and the Internet weakened the business for large producers – and so did the bad economy.

But while the traditional porn media like videos and magazines is suffering through a crisis, Internet pornography is booming. According to numbers from PornWatchers.com, the two main porn sites international have a total of 735,000 videos all together, with an average length of 11 minutes each.

With this kind of stock, it would be possible to watch the ‘productions’ for 16 years straight without having to repeat a title. In addition, with fast download times and secure pages, these sites really control the industry. The time of porno producers who drive around Beverly Hills in their limos, accompanied by models, is a thing of the past.

Fetish videos

“In the 1990s, there were erotic movies in all of the nearly 15,000 theaters around the countries. Now they don’t play in even half of the 5,000 ones left,” says Evaldo Shiroma, creator of Erotika Fair and the vice-president of ABEME.

One of the options for fighting the drop in the market is to bet on sub-genres that have better selling potential. “Fetish videos, targeted towards fans of strange content, have a lot of market space, we have even managed to export them to Europe,” says Shiroma. But this has not been enough to lift up the market.

The crisis has caused many producers to throw in the towel. “We used to have 12 big names, between the producers and the distributors. I don’t know exactly how many are left, but the number has dropped by a lot,” Shiroma says. Hardsexy is one of the survivors. The company’s owner, who prefers not to give his name, also makes movies in a lot of different genres, including action films and religious and evangelical movies. The businessman remembers that, in the good times, a video would sell 40,000 copies in the kiosks. Now it is difficult for a DVD to sell 8,000 copies.

This has meant adjustments in the whole of the porn industry, from reducing the final product price and lowering the number of new releases from nine per month to two per month. On the positive side, the cost of making copies has fallen, although that is part of what has made pirating so easy. “I release a movie and the next day it’s on the Internet. There are a couple of steps we can take against piracy, but that is the most we can do,” says the owner of Hardsexy.

In spite of the difficult times, he is not thinking about quitting. “I have been in this market for 23 years, and I have been through all the stages. I earned a lot of money, lived in luxury, but I like to be going against the currents,” he says, adding that one of his projects is to release a 3D Blu-ray erotic movie, which, according to the businessman, would be the first such release in Latin America.

If porn producers are suffering, for porn actors and actresses the crisis and necessitated a total reinvention. “I used to get $750 for a scene without a condom. Now I don’t even make $400,” says Patricia Kimberly, who has been in around 200 productions since 2006, including Carnaval do Frota (Carnaval Fleet).”

In her first couple years as a porn actress, Kimberly could participate in around 10 productions a month, for which she would make around $7,500. “Now I only do one scene in a month,” she says. To make up for the drop in income, she has launched her own site, a move that is increasingly common in the U.S. and Europe. Now the Internet allows anyone or couple to construct themselves an identity – with their own site. They can record home videos with digital technology and offer them for download for a fee.

This is what the Loupan did, an actor who has around 2,000 movies and 11 years in the industry. “I have a partnership with a producer, and we make high-quality videos for a website. A good scene can cost $3,000. That is the difference between a serious production and one that is thrown together,” he says. He has been doing this for the past three years, and he has managed to maintain his lifestyle.

“I used to do between 15 and 16 movies per month, and now I do between 6 and 8, but in terms of the salary it hasn’t changed much,” he says.

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