From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Pornography in Europe is dominated by a few pan-European producers and distributors, the most notable of which is the Private Media Group that had successfully claimed the throne of Color Climax Corporation in early 1990s. Most European countries also have local pornography producers, from Portugal (e.g. Naturalvideo) to Serbia (e.g. Hexor), with varying potentials of competition with international producers.
Hungary is a haven for European pornography producers with an ample supply of beautiful and young female performers and liberal pornography laws. Czech Republic, with its specialised companies such as the spanking producers Lupus Pictures, gay pornography label Bel Ami and for having become the regular European destination of the U.S. and Japanese producers, is a likely rival. Romania is also considered a "rising star" of European pornography in mid-2000s, mainly thanks to pornographic auteur Raul Cristian of Floyd-Agency.
Women in European pornography typically have a so-called "more natural" look than in American pornography, with less emphasis on breast implants and hair coloring. The once popular style of Euro-chic pornography represented by directors Lasse Braun, Joe d'Amato, and Michel Gentil has lost ground and the Pierre Woodman style of video porn now attracts a larger audience. A few directors like Luca Damiano, Mario Salieri, and Alain Payet continue with the "older" cinematographic and dramatic styles that often distinguish European pornography from those of other cultures.
In early 1970s, French viewers had become familiar with stag films shot in the Netherlands, featuring French actresses such as Claudine Beccarie and Sylvia Bourdon. The first genuine French pornographic film Les Baiseuses by Guy Gibert was released in 1975. The first French porn film that met international success was Le Sexe qui parle by Claude Mulot, which was released the same year (followed by a sequel two years later). This film was so successful that it was exported to the US, with the name Pussy Talk.
In 1976, a law that put considerable sanctions on pornographic films in distribution and taxation, known popularly as Code X was imposed, creating a situation that forced pornography develop itself on its own right. Since then, pornography has been a growing economy in France, now existing in various forms from magazines to satellite TV broadcasting.
Producers of video pornography can be divided into two segments: companies like Vidéo Marc Dorcel, which produces "chic" adult feature films for the international market and companies that produce low-budget videos almost exclusively for domestic market (Œil du Cochon, Euro Choc, Ragtime, etc.). The latter type also tends to focus on popular fetishes such as rape, incest, and fisting (as indicated in the classic series Viol, inceste & fist-fucking (Rape, Incest, and Fist-Fucking) by Fabien Lafait).
Early years of German pornography began with series of softcore pseudo-documentaries started with Schulmädchen-Report: Was Eltern nicht für möglich halten (The School-Girl Report, what the parents don't know) by Ernst Hofbauer in 1970. The sex scenes had become bolder with time and by 1975, era of German hardcore pornography began.
Director Hans Billian was the protagonist of the period and the films were usually in line with the so-called "Bavarian porn sex comedies", often depicting male performers as comic characters, like Sepp Gneißl in Kasimir der Kuckuckskleber (1977). This era was also characterised by several Josephine Mutzenbacher films.
Today's German pornography is generally very similar to the American "glamour" pornography though often tailored primarily for the German market. In contrast several German labels focus on a more "homemade" amateur flair, often focusing on intense hardcore themes such as gang bangs, bukkake and urine fetishism (most notably GGG and its sister-labels 666 and John Thompson).
Contrary to popular belief, fecal pornography known as "Scheisse porn" (using the German slang word for feces) or, more commonly, as "Kaviar" (a generic term) is not particularly popular in Germany, although companies like SG-Video and performers like Veronica Moser that specialise in the concept do exist
Although Italy had accumulated a lot of softcore pornography in 1970s, hardcore pornography was not a usual trend until 1980s. The first pornographic film in Italy was Il Telefono rosso (The red telephone) in 1983 by Riccardo Schicchi with Ilona Staller (aka "Cicciolina"). The film caused much controversy and it was restrained from legal release until 1986 with an alternate revision of Italian censorship laws.
With this atmosphere of liberty, Italian producers rushed to meet on-screen curiosities of viewers to even gain the title of presenting "bestiality" in mainstream pornographic films; a trend shared by Rocco Siffredi in his 2003 film Hazardous Duty (in the European release by Night Trips). Italian pornography producers depended on French actresses or expatriates like Marina Hedman (with the notable exception Moana Pozzi with her Valentina, ragazza in calore by Raniero di Giovanbattista in 1981) till the arrival of Hungarian Gabriella Kovács (aka "Angelica Bella") in 1991 (and her sister "Veronica Bella" in 1995) but following this, Italy faced an influx of female pornography performers from ex-East Europe.
In today's Italian pornography, the strong emphasis is placed on aggressive anal sex often with implied coercion. Many Italian films have no vaginal intercourse at all, being strictly about anal sex. Another popular theme is age disparity between sexual partners, giving way to the Incesto films by directors like Andy Casanova and Eros Cristobaldi. Director Andy Casanova's popular series Stupri Italiani also introduces rape as a popular theme.
Russia and Ukraine
Russia (along with Ukraine) is a unique source for international porn producers, in that it has plenty of beautiful Caucasian models with relatively low wages, a situation that allows producing low-budget pornography without possible "ethnic" expressions.
Most Russian porn is produced in Moscow and in St. Petersburg where the largest adult film producer, SP-Company, is based. The types of Russian adult films may range from gonzo pornography to adaptations of Russian classics (Eugene Onegin (by Tatiana Taneyeva (2003)), The Master and Margarita (by Armen Oganezov (2002)), etc.) and these productions basically aim the domestic market. Much of the pornography is produced for the international internet market.
Recently, there have been a proliferation of internet sites featuring Russian porn. The Russian nationality of the models is emphasised by some of these porn sites, but in other cases the model may be presented as "European", "American" or even "Latina". Also, certain internet sites are now featuring Russian porn in the (reality porn) genre. Sites that offer predominantly Russian content routinely block access from the Russian segment of the Internet to maintain the privacy of the models. Some studios also produce or used to produce both adult pornography and child pornography (see 2004 Ukrainian child pornography raids).
In Britain, where pornography is already more restricted than it is anywhere else in the English-speaking world or in Western Europe, sexual media is easily smeared for an audience that is seldom given an opportunity to see what really is sold under the name of "pornography". However the Obscene Publications Act 1959 (in England and Wales) and the Civig Government (Scotland) Act 1982 currently ban the publication and distribution of such material, but not its possession. British-made pornography tends to focus on a rough-and-ready semi-amateur look rather than the more stylized glamourous look of mainland European pornography.
Producers such as Ben Dover concentrate on producing "girl-next-door" or "candid" material. Some British pornography concentrates on sexual fetishism, particularly erotic spanking and rubber fetishism which has been popular in Britain since the 1950s. The advent of the R18 certificate has allowed slightly more hardcore videos to be sold in licensed sex shops such as those in Soho. However, all videos sold legally in the United Kingdom must be passed by the BBFC, and this has restricted the amount of graphic sex that can be depicted, even under the new R18 rating. The UK porn industry is estimated to be now worth about 1 billion pounds, compared with 20 billion pounds worldwide.