John Stagliano’s Hard in Love

John Stagliano's Hard In LoveJohn Stagliano is famous for his love of focusing on the derriere of his female performers.  He often casts women who use their sensuality to engage the viewer and affect intimacy.  The Hard In Love movies are  no different in their appreciation of the female form, but unlike Stagliano’s previous work, these scenes are a warped twist on his butt-centric male gaze.

Samantha Bentley and Misha Cross are real-life, very close friends as well as co-performers. While they were hanging out at the club Insomnia in Berlin they began discussing how wonderful that feeling of falling in love was. Their pitch to Stagliano, who was escorting them to the club that evening, was that the feeling of falling in love can be instantly changed by deceit, feelings of betrayal, or mixed communication, and a film showing this story arc between women would make for an especially intense film. Insomnia is Stagliano’s favorite fetish/alternative lifestyle club in the world and the combination of Cross and Bentley’s story with the club’s atmosphere convinced Stagliano of the unique opportunity he had in front of him. There is a ton of behind the scenes footage of Stagliano and his cast where you see the old ideas of Buttman meet the minds of Cross and Bentley.

John Stagliano directing John Stagliano directing

In Hard in Love, Cross and Bentley meet each other at Insomnia while Bentley is performing. They instantly know there is something between them and decide to continue seeing each other. But, Bentley is in a very dysfunctional work relationship with Angel Long (who is so good at being evil) and when Bentley tries to leave, Long declares war.

Things start to take a dark twist in Hard in Love II when Cross feels incredibly hurt that Bentley won’t leave Angel Long, so she starts a sequence of events that make both characters crash and burn rather quickly. Bentley has one of the best solo scenes EVER. Seriously, if she doesn’t win an award for this performance I will personally go to Vegas in January and protest. Bentley is taking the power back, you’re rooting for her, but as always happens in these love triangles, someone gets hurt.

Check out both Hard in Love and Hard in Love II. If you love a good story, lots of behind the scenes footage, and if you’re as happy to see women making movies that straddle the line between real life sex and fantasy obsession, then these are the films for you.

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