Adored: Diary of a Porn Star is a sometimes humorous, sometimes dramatic, sometimes sad, sometimes silly, very often sexy take on life as a gay porn star.
Marco Filiberti (writer, director and star of this film) is pretty enough to play the typically egotistical gay porn star lead character, Riki Kandinsky, in this Italian film. Riki, known to his family as Riccardo, returns to his childhood home (or castle) in France after his father dies. He has long been estranged from the family. His aunt is aware of his dirty life, but his conservative brother Federico (Urbano Barberini) is not. But he wants to find out what exactly his younger brother is up to in Rome. So he tells him he's coming back to Rome with him to work out legal matters for their father's will, leaving behind is ex-wife and son, as well as his new girlfriend. It isn't long before he finds signs around Riki's home that he is into something unthinkable—a job that let's his brother live such a pampered, spoiled life. He is disgusted—and oddly curious. He decides to try and understand Riki's sexual orientation…and career as one of the hottest gay porn stars. Their relationship becomes open and oddly intimate as Federico attends a gay porn shoot with Riki (an extremely sexy one, at that) as well as visiting gay bars with him. Federico also becomes attracted to Riki's free-spirited friend Luna (Rosalinda Celentano), who's actually in love with her gay friend. Soon, the two brothers are beginning to learn and grow from each other. Federico begins to realize how being so uptight is making him lose sight of who he is, and Riki learns that there's more to life then sex and porn. He has a friend in the porn business who actually wants more from him than friendship, as well as an older man in the porn business with whom he has created a sort of father/son relationship. And then, he becomes emotionally attached to a young orphan, and will do anything in his power to adopt the young boy as he moves towards finally growing up and being an adult.
This movie has gotten a bad rap for various reasons, but I must say, I found it highly entertaining. It was extremely sexy and erotic, and it was actually quite humorous. The characters were all likeable, their chemistry was excellent, and we saw them grow as the film progressed. The egotistical character of Riki is an absolutely hysterical caricature of a certain subculture of gay men who are in love with themselves. Perhaps that's a cruel assessment, but sometimes the truth hurts. At least here, it's played for over-the-top camp. Not to mention, we get to actually see people in the porn business as humans with emotions. The real problem with the film comes when Riki becomes obsessed with adopting the young boy. The whole storyline comes out of nowhere, and quickly becomes farfetched, even if the presentation of the topic is well-executed emotionally. The film would have faired much better if the focus had been on Riki realizing that he and his other porn pal could live a life outside of the porn industry as a couple. That was the direction the movie seemed to be heading as it looked at some of the issues that go on behind the scenes of gay porn, but unfortunately, this film ended up choosing a less than optimistic outcome that just didn't fit the tone of the rest of the movie. Still, I think people just need to lighten up when watching this film and not take it so seriously. Or perhaps it should just be viewed by gay men without a whole load of hang-ups instead of the needlessly oversensitive.
The DVD has an aspect ratio of 1:85:1, but opts for a letterboxed presentation. The print is quite clean, but at times dust seems to appear out of nowhere for a brief moment. The color is mostly rich, but, as if to play up the ego of the director/star even more, anytime he is shown on screen alone, the entire footage looks soft, as if it has been airbrushed, which I found rather amusing. So, as a result, the film goes from sharp and clear with excellent depth, to this dreamlike fuzziness when Filberti is on screen alone posing and pouting for the camera. Funny stuff. Other than that, balance between lights and darks is excellent.
The 2.0 stereo is crisp and clear. Left/right separation is excellent, and the bass is also just strong enough when dance tunes (but of course) come on, so as not to be muffled. The only issue is that in order to obtain all this great sounding audio, you have to turn your receiver up louder than usual! The output level is lower than your standard audio track.
The movie is presented in Italian with English subtitles that carry through the extras. The DVD offers 8 chapters, and the selection screen is presented as a calendar—I guess playing off the idea of a pin-up model. The extras are:
MORE FROM WOLFE—a stream of previews set to music begins when you first select this, and when they finish, you are given a selection of different trailers to watch individually.
DELETED SCENES—7 scenes in all, which play straight through if you select the first one. A few of these scenes really should have been left in the movie, for they help establish Federico's relationships with the women in his life, which were unclear in the final cut and took time to get down straight. These clips also delve into an aspect of the film that was pretty much pushed aside, that of Riki's feelings towards his father, as well as the issues of the father's estate. Also, the last scene is not actually a deleted scene, but behind-the-scenes looks at some of the sex scenes, which are entertaining and funny.
TRAILER—this is a trailer for the film, also letterboxed.
MAKING OF—the director and actors give interviews about the film, and there are more behind-the-scenes clips…although not as fun as the ones in the deleted scenes.
BONUS FEATURE: VESPERO A TIVOLI—a 15 minute short film starring…you guessed it…Marco Filberti.
Adored: Diary of a Porn Star has been criticized as being immature, homophobic, tragic, a way to just indulge gay nudity, and egotistical. Perhaps it's most of those things, but it's also quite entertaining. If you check your judgment (not your clothes) at the door, you'll most likely enjoy this silly yet poignant film—until the lame ending.