Talking dirty in Catalan, even for native speakers, still has a way to go, at least in porn films. Literal translations of Spanish or English dialogue in dirty movies are more likely to raise a laugh than anything else, and as we all know, nothing deflates the libido quicker than a titter.
The first attempt to create what might be called a national sex industry in Catalonia began at the end of the last century with Les Exxcursionistes Calentes (The hot day trippers), by Conrad Son, now only available online. But it is clear that the film – which received a €15,000 subsidy from the Catalan regional government – was filmed using non-Catalan-speaking actors who were later dubbed into Catalan, complete with suggestive references to the “mountains” of Collserola (just outside Barcelona) and the Cadí “tunnel,” which passes through the Pyrenees on the way to Andorra. Despite its shortcomings, the film has earned a place in the collective imagination of many of Catalonia’s so-called millennial generation.
Porno Catalá’s logo features an anthropomorphic penis wearing a Catalan flag
Seemingly keen to see Catalan used at all levels of the arts, the pro-independence regional government two years ago decided to support Porno Catalá, the first “erotic” website entirely in Catalan, which uses Catalan-speaking actors in the movies and clips featured on it.
The first movie on the site was called Jo Mai Mai (Never Again), a parody of Barcelona, nit d'estiu (Barcelona Summer Night), a hit 2013 Catalan-language romantic comedy. It’s worth pointing out that the directors of both the original, Dani de la Orden, and the takeoff, Felix Colomer, studied at the prestigious Barcelona-based ESCAC film school.
Sadly, not all the content on Porno Catalá meets the same high production standards: Jaume I Conyqueridor (James I Conqueror) is a low-cost romp that sees the first king of Aragón travel forward in time to pick up Catholic Monarch Isabel in 1458 and then on to the present day. He wears a digital watch and she has an iPhone. Among the first people they meet in the modern age is a Moroccan street vendor. “I thought I had got rid of all them in Mallorca,” he says in reference to the taking of the island from the Arabs in 1231. Soon after, the couple take their clothes off.
Continuing in a similarly erudite vein, Porno Catalá is also responsible for Oh Déu Meu: El qué no explica La Biblia (Oh my God: What the Bible doesn’t explain). It may not be quite up to the standard of Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, but we do get to see a scene with Jesus and Mary Magdalene on a beach that includes such memorable lines – delivered in Catalan – as: “Do you want to see a miracle?” or “Now you can eat the body of Christ.”
The site has now turned its attention to meeting the needs of Catalan-speaking gay porn users
But back to independence: Porno Catalá has supported the project of creating a new European nation from the get-go: its logo features an anthropomorphic penis wearing a Catalan flag. The site’s clear commitment to sovereignty for Catalonia is reflected in any number of scenes in other films, for example K-313 features a couple having sex in an apartment adorned with pro-independence and Barcelona FC flags.
The short stories page best exemplifies Porno Catalá’s political engagement. One tale concerns a young man heading by bus to Barcelona with other independence supporters to take part in a vast street gathering calling for secession on Catalan National Day, known as the Diada. In recent years, the event has involved an estimated million people joining hands to form a human chain, and the young man develops a crush on the woman with whom he has to hold hands. Later that night, as they return by bus, she performs oral sex on him while the other passengers sleep.
In recent months, Porno Catalá seems to have been taking a breather, focusing on updating its presence on the social networks. That said, it has now turned its attention to meeting the needs of Catalan-speaking gay porn users. Projects such as Prejudicis (Prejudices) can be seen as blazing a trail that has subsequently been followed by platforms such as Gais I Lesbianes per la Independencia, part of the Catalan National Assembly, a pro-independence civic association that is playing an increasingly important role in the Catalan LGBT community.