January 1, 2001

Femme Productions

On the web: On the Web

Maybe the very first bit of feminist porn was the movie Femme, released in 1984 and produced by Candida Royale, who had herself starred in twenty-five adult films at that time. By her own account, Royale believed that there was nothing wrong in principle with sexually explicit video, but she became convinced that porn as it then existed was indeed exploitative of women. So she set out to present sex in a way that was more realistic and that would appeal to female viewers. For her first film, she teamed up with director Lauren Niemi, who had the idea of making something akin to an explicit rock video. That would become the first of the six vignettes that constitute Femme, all of them meant to be based upon a fantasy that an actual woman might actually have. The film was immediately recognized as revolutionary, though the commercial prospects of "porn for women" were as controversial then as they are now.

Royale went on to found Femme Productions, which has since released around twenty movies. Royale directed many of these herself and invited other women from the adult industry to direct their own vignettes as part of her "Star Directors Series". Many of these movies were successful, both critically and commercially. Royale's films have also found an audience among sex therapists. What may well be her finest work, the coming of age story Three Daughters (1986), was chosen for a special showing one year at the annual meeting of the American Association for Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, of which Royale herself is a member.

The best of Femme's movies are truly wonderful and are well worth watching. We have particularly fond memories of seeing Christine's Secret and Three Daughters many years ago, on VHS, and being stunned by how good they were. Inevitably, though, some of them now seem a bit dated, and Femme Productions has released just seven movies since 2000. The most recent of these were directed by Petra Joy, a widely acclaimed German-born filmmaker whose work is very close in spirit to Royale's.

Here is a list of the films released by Femme, with an indication of the year of release and the director, if it was not Royale:

  • Femme (1984, Lauren Niemi)
  • Urban Heat (1984, Laren Niemi)
  • Christine's Secret (1986)
  • Three Daughters (1986)
  • Taste of Ambrosia (1987, Veronica Heart and Candida Royale)
  • Rites of Passion (1987, Annie Sprinkle and Veronica Vera)
  • Sensual Escape (1988, Gloria Leonard and Candida Royale)
  • Revelations (1993)
  • My Surrender (1996)
  • The Gift (1997)
  • The Bridal Shower (1997)
  • Eyes of Desire 1 (1998)
  • One Size Fits All (1998)
  • Eyes of Desire 2 (1999)
  • Stud Hunters (2002)
  • Caribbean Heat (2004, Manuela Sabrosa)
  • Afrodite Superstar (2006, Venus Hottentot)
  • Female Fantasies(2006, Petra Joy)
  • Under the Covers (2007)
  • Feeling It! (2009, Petra Joy)
  • The Female Voyeur (2011, Petra Joy)

The more usual table of contents follows.


★★★★½ Eyes of Desire 1 (Candida Royale)
★★★★☆ Eyes of Desire 2 (Candida Royale)