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article imageOp-Ed: ‘Inside Lara Roxx’ exposes pitfalls of porn

By Sarah Gopaul     Feb 3, 2012 in Entertainment
Toronto - ‘Inside Lara Roxx’ is a documentary about a former porn actress dealing with the repercussions of contracting HIV from one of her co-stars, including sickness and addiction.
The porn industry is a peculiar society that in some ways exists in a world of its own – but it’s always welcoming new members. Another novelty is the insistence that everyone is a part of an extended family and most of the negative incidents can be attributed to an “other.” They supposedly self-regulate regarding issues of safety and health, but there is also a lot of pressure to break the rules or risk being black listed. Lara Roxx was 21 and just starting out when she encountered all these aspects of the industry – then she contracted HIV. Inside Lara Roxx is her story.
Lara was a rebellious teenager in Montreal who made the gradual transition from stripping to being an escort to making porn. She moved to L.A. to become a star. In 2004, persuaded to perform a sexual act she wouldn’t usually, Lara, along with two other women, were infected by their male co-star. The story made headline news and Lara got her 15 minutes of fame. Director Mia Donovan decided it was important people know what happened to Lara after the news cameras shut off.
Over five years, the audience follows Lara from Montreal back to L.A. then to the adult entertainment convention in Las Vegas. In between, she has several hospital stays for reasons ranging from depression to illness. Donovan’s first contact with Lara occurs in a hospital room, but she chooses not to resume shooting until Lara is in better health, displaying not only good filmmaking ethics but the first glimmer of the compassionate friendship she would develop with Lara over the course of the film. The director’s relationship with her subject undoubtedly influenced the contents of the documentary, but it also gave her intimate access to Lara’s life.
The film provides Lara the opportunity to revisit and, in some cases, confront people from her past. Those encountered include a man known as “Papa Bear,” the ex-actress that founded AIM (Adult Industry Medical Associates), her counsellors from a juvenile detention centre and porn celebrity Ron Jeremy. Their reactions to what happened to Lara vary from blame to empathy to support for her current efforts to raise awareness. Her efforts did not make her a hypocrite; she doesn’t say don’t do porn, but rather don’t betray yourself for the industry.
Donovan’s documentary style is far more intrusive than the typical fly-on-the-wall picture, but conducting frank interviews with Lara throughout the film was definitely the best way to portray her life. In addition, the cinematography is excellent, capturing some beautiful images of Lara as well as the rawness of her everyday existence and emotions. They also use footage from some of Lara’s movies to represent her previous life, but never reveal more than her breasts or anything beyond the talking stage of the selected scene. The only noticeable hitch is a lack of subtitles when the camera is present for conversations that do not actually include the filmmaker.
Lara’s journey is a rollercoaster that peaks with revelations of self discovery and bottoms out with drug abuse and negative influences. Donovan does an excellent job depicting Lara’s life during the good times and bad.
Director: Mia Donovan
The trailer is available on YouTube, but contains content restricted to those 18 year of age and older. Inside Lara Roxx opens Feb. 3 for a limited run at The Royal.
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This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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