|| 16 mm film || 7 minutes || 1983

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I directed and edited “Like a sex machine” in New York, while taking a film course in the MFA in Fine Arts at the Pratt Institute.

Now, by watching this film from a XXI century’s perspective, one wonders if a film with such sexually explicit ready made images would be possible today, at least, without causing a scandal inside the respectable teaching institution.

There are a lot of funny stories related to this film.

It was a pleasure to go to the now civilized and upgraded neighbourhood of the 42nd Street, at the time considered to be a “mean street”, looking for pornographic 8mm films which then provided frames which were re-shot through filters and edited into the 16mm film.


By observing the film now I may criticise it for its excessive fragmentation, caused by a lot of rough cuts which compromise continuity. At the time this was somewhat intentional as it was following the tendency of “bad painting”. I wanted to do a “bad film”, the opposite of the more technically polished models shown in class.

The theme is very related to the times we then lived. It is useful to remember that the whole consciousness of the spread of AIDS was just arriving.

Retrospectively, it can be argued that the film addresses this issue by replacing physical sex with fantasies and mental associations built around weight lifting machines located where we work out, in gyms. The latter were becoming more and more part of our daily life as was the drive for health and fitness, which was actually replacing the romantic but more dangerous artistic bohemia, at the time.

Posting this film online is also an opportunity to thank my fellow students and teachers, from whom I completely lost sight for decades, however I am happy to say that the two friends who kindly performed for the soundtrack are, today, renowned pianists.

Photograhs by:
Cintra&Castro Caldas, Abílio Leitão, Megaestúdio, Bill Orcut, Valter Vinagre, Francisco Vidinha, Rui Salta, Jorge Coelho and others.

For all contents: © Rocha da Silva