Remembering Jean-Daniel Cadinot

Posted April 27, 2008 4:20 AM by with 20 comments

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To me one of the saddest things about Jean-Daniel Cadinot’s death is not so much his relatively young age (64) but the fact that his work has become somewhat unknown to gay audiences in the US for reasons I’m having a hard time understanding. He was a true legend and at the forefront of the field since he started making gay porn 30 years ago.

A teenage runaway, Cadinot studied photography at the prestigious National School of Photography in France. After working for a mainstream French film company, he started directing porn in 1978 — first as “Tony Dark” and under his real name after 1984.
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A filmmaker and a perfectionist, Cadinot never succumbed to the lure of making a ton of money by churning out titles. Literally icon Dennis Cooper explained the complex concept behind “Aime Comme Minets” (“All Of Me”) on his blog last year:

“…the film is structured around an actual audio recording of director Cadinot interviewing a young man named Pierre Buisson during the performer’s first audition for the director. Excerpts from this interview are played over a silent visual recreation of the original audition that was shot a number of years later … After the sex scenes were shot, Cadinot waited four years to film the recreation of the audition so that Buisson would look noticeably older in that part of the film than he did in the sex scenes.”

Cadinot wrote his own eulogy, which was posted on his blog after he died last week. It’s as fittingly eloquent and thought-provoking as his body of work:

“An erect phallus is a symbol of life, a cross a symbol of death.”

I hope people reading this who are familiar with his work will take a few minutes to reflect on it in the comments section.

Jack

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Related
Cadinot’s official homepage
Au Revoir Jean-Daniel Cadinot (Fleshbot)
Jean-Daniel Cadinot’s Aime Comme Minets (Dennis Cooper’s)
RIP Jean-Daniel Cadinot (GayPornTimes)
Cadinot movies available on TLA Video

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20 responses to Remembering Jean-Daniel Cadinot

  1. Casey Scott April 28th, 2008 at 5:50 AM

    I think the problem with Jean-Daniel Cadinot’s work being unavailable in the U.S. is that for some reason he wasn’t soliciting them to DVD companies. TLA released two films, SEX BAZAAR and THE TRAVELING JOURNEYMAN, with no extras (not even a Cadinot interview or commentary), which was disappointing beyond belief, as with many classic discs, because these guys aren’t going to be around forever and no one is preserving their memories or history. I don’t know why TLA stopped this series.

    Reply

  2. Jett Blakk April 28th, 2008 at 7:22 AM

    Jean-Daniel Cadinot was the first gay porn director who really made an impression on me. I had seen other videos, of course, but Cadinot’s films (and they WERE films, shot on actual celluloid, not videotape), always had a layer of fantasy to them, an almost fairytale quality, even those set in the city of Paris.

    The first film of his that I saw was AIME…COMME MINET or ALL OF ME, as it was released in the U.S., about a young man searching for sex in the seedy streets of Paris. The scene set in a narrow alley was as exciting visually as it was sexually, with the bottom suspended between the two walls by his feet while taking the top in a wild fuck.

    TOP MODELS or SEX DRIVE as it was called here, had an amazing scene of a disgruntled fashion photographer who seeks out sex in public, getting fucked in the garden next to the Eiffel Tower at night! Cadinot brought a fantastical quality to even the sleeziest of scenes.

    Cadinot could also often be playful. I started laughing with a hard dick in my hand (probably my own, but you never know) when I saw a scene from PENSION COMPLETE or A SUMMER OF SEX. A farmhand is rimming a tourist and the camera cuts to a P.O.V. shot inside the man’s rectum to see the tongue flicking around inside. This was probably inspired by the “inside the mouth” gag in the LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS musical. Hilarious.

    Cadinot’s love of color was never more evident then in his film LA VOYAGE A VENISE, or A CARNIVAL IN VENICE. A young French man visiting Italy escapes his domineering mother and enters the world of the Comedia Del Arte, a whirlwind of handsome men, extravagant costumes, false identities, lust and love. The young man meets Romeo and falls head over heels. This Cadinot film had two things that particularly stood out for me: one, the amazingly colorful costumes that the performers wore. This would often be a recurring theme in Cadinot’s work…the use of brilliant color, even if it was just a pair of bright red shorts in an otherwise dingy scene; and two: the use of romance in gay porn. Yes, other porns often dealt with love, but they usually ended in heartbreak and tragedy (in NAVY BLUE, for example, Jack Wrangler finally tells his shipmate George Payne he’s in love with him, only to discover hours later that they are to be transferred to different vessels; in KISS TODAY GOODBYE, George Payne falls for a married man. The two have an affair, but the straight guy decides to stay with his wife, leaving Payne to wipe away a tear and literally walk away in the pouring rain). In VENICE, the film ends with the young French man’s parents discovering that their son is gay and in love with Romeo. The arrogant mother is about to put the kabosh on her son’s romance, but she is stopped by the boy’s doormat of a father, who finally asserts himself and tells his son to go and be happy. I was in the closet at the time, and this ending gave me hope for the day when I would come out to my own family. My appreciation for the costumed spectacle would re-emerge decades later when I did MASQUE for Oh Man! Studios.

    But for me, the ultimate Cadinot movie is LE DESIR EN BALLADE or THE TRAVELING JOURNEYMEN. A black journeyman, or in other words, a wanderer, travels from town to town and comes across the mansion of a country doctor where an older brother habitually forces himself sexually on his younger brother who longs to run away from his home and his situation. He falls in love with the journeyman and together, the two set off to explore the world and live their lives together. Jean-Francois Chambon is the younger model, and to me, he was the perfect Cadinot model: slender, boyishly handsome, playing shy, soft-spoken characters.

    It’s odd that until now, I never realized how much this film subconsciously inspired my movie DIRTY LITTLE SINS. Two young men in repressive situations where they are unable to freely indulge their sexuality. Both men meet free spirits, both men fall in love, and both men escape to a waiting, unknown world full of freedom, just as I did when I left my home and family in the mid-west and moved to Los Angeles.

    Jean-Daniel Cadinot’s gifts to the world were his films, but his gifts to me, which came FROM his films, were the hope of romantic love and the desire to go and find it. Which I did.

    Thank you, Jean-Daniel. RIP

    JBK

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  3. Jasper April 28th, 2008 at 7:54 AM

    Damn, what a shocker.
    I must admit to also being amazed Cadinot’s films were not as well-known in the US, although that’s strictly from a European perspective.
    Hot guys, hot sex and hot camera work.
    Such a shame ;-(

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  4. Will April 28th, 2008 at 10:46 AM

    Apparently money WAS at the bottom of his films not being distributed here — he wanted too much, at least according to some seemingly informed posters. But hell, they probably were VERY expensive to make, at least in relative terms. SO SO sad there won’t be any more of them, but perhaps his heirs can strike a deal.

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  5. David April 28th, 2008 at 11:22 AM

    Cadinot was always my favorite director of sex films. He had a bit of story — enough to make his scenes more titilating because we somewhat knew the directors, but not so much as to be intrusive.

    I have never been into dick size of pecs or all that. In real life and in porn, I look first at the eyes and the smile. These things were important for him too. His performers are charming — naughty, very hot, but sweet. As one of his movies is called, they are “tough and tender.”

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  6. Sex educated by Cadinot April 28th, 2008 at 12:17 PM

    Jean-Daniel really filmed great movies.
    His creativity was never down.
    He has this “je ne sais quoi” making his films different. (French elegance?)
    Nobody could succeed him.
    He was so unique.
    French gay movie industry being so poor, with Cadinot disapearing, the sky is black for amateur of gay movies in Europe.
    Aime comme Minet was a Great tittle, So are all his movies with Antoine Mallet like “C’est la Vie”…..

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  7. Scotty April 28th, 2008 at 2:01 PM

    Cadinot was always my favorite director. His was the first porn I had ever seen (i was 14). I got into the porn industry in the hopes to one day work for cadinot, I even wrote hime a letter. It’s funny, I was so enamored with Cadinot and his work that when i got into the “industry” I was SOOOOO disappointed that NONE of it even came close to what Cadinot was putting out.
    One of things that always struck me…early in my porn carreer, a director told me that you’re not getting paid for sex scene, youre getting paid for the cum shot, well if you notice most of all of Cadinot’s early work had some of the HOTTEST sex scenes and very RARELY had a cum shot.
    I will really miss his style, hope he had a protege to pick up where he left off…

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  8. Scotty April 28th, 2008 at 2:01 PM

    Cadinot was always my favorite director. His was the first porn I had ever seen (i was 14). I got into the porn industry in the hopes to one day work for cadinot, I even wrote hime a letter. It’s funny, I was so enamored with Cadinot and his work that when i got into the “industry” I was SOOOOO disappointed that NONE of it even came close to what Cadinot was putting out.
    One of things that always struck me…early in my porn carreer, a director told me that you’re not getting paid for sex scene, youre getting paid for the cum shot, well if you notice most of all of Cadinot’s early work had some of the HOTTEST sex scenes and very RARELY had a cum shot.
    I will really miss his style, hope he had a protege to pick up where he left off…

    Reply

  9. Peter Everhard April 28th, 2008 at 2:24 PM

    We found an old interview Cadinot gave with Manshots Magazine in 1998 in which he responded to the question of why more of his films weren’t available in the US.

    Cadinot’s response was that it was his decision to limit the availability of his films to the US market because he wanted to make his movies “special”; he didn’t want his films treated like “porn”.

    And, there is a reference to money is that Cadinot said, he didn’t want to just give his films away because they were expensive to make.

    All of Cadinot’s films seem to be available to anyone in the US via the VOD service on his website. 23

    Reply

  10. Peter Everhard April 28th, 2008 at 2:25 PM

    We found an old interview Cadinot gave with Manshots Magazine in 1998 in which he responded to the question of why more of his films weren’t available in the US.

    Cadinot’s response was that it was his decision to limit the availability of his films to the US market because he wanted to make his movies “special”; he didn’t want his films treated like “porn”.

    And, there is a reference to money is that Cadinot said, he didn’t want to just give his films away because they were expensive to make.

    All of Cadinot’s films seem to be available to anyone in the US via the VOD service on his website. 23

    Reply

  11. legend April 28th, 2008 at 3:01 PM

    He made fuck films. Get over it.

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  12. Casey Scott April 29th, 2008 at 4:35 AM

    Well, I appreciate Cadinot’s belief that his films are FILMS, not porn, and he put time and money into making them…but this seems to be the problem with auteurs who own their own films. They try to charge outrageous fees for films that are 10-25 years old that could never hope to recoup the cost of simply licensing them!! By doing so, Cadinot effectively ensured that his films would be eventually forgotten and would not influence future generations of gay men. A real shame.

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  13. Dammit Janet April 29th, 2008 at 6:26 AM

    Sigh. There’s no topic so personal or meaningful to someone else that some nutty bitter bitch won’t stomp on it.

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  14. Will April 29th, 2008 at 7:31 AM

    Jack – It probably does prove your point about him not caring about getting rich if he preferred making NOTHING from the U.S. market rather than agreeing to an unfairly split distribution deal .Pretty unusual.

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  15. Frog April 29th, 2008 at 2:59 PM

    au revoir et merci pour tout de tout mon coeur RIP

    Reply

  16. efebo April 29th, 2008 at 5:26 PM

    This is a BIG lost for us. Peace to his soul, he deserves it… !!

    Reply

  17. efebo April 29th, 2008 at 5:33 PM

    This is a BIG lost for us. Peace to his soul, he deserves it… !!

    Reply

  18. ToFeVi April 30th, 2008 at 6:36 PM

    I found his tittles a long time ago in one of those old rent porn movie places, I think it was in the Betamax format and since I’ve been a fan of his movies.
    I always thought that his films had a natural feel to them and that the actors where really into the scene. One of my favorite movies is Sex Bazaar. The sluttines of the main character brings the movie to live. It’s the same sluttines that you find in All of Me.
    May his soul rest in peace. His eulogy say it all. We will miss you.

    Reply

  19. Richard April 30th, 2008 at 8:21 PM

    Cadinot was an artist who brought his vision of beauty to gay adult film. He will be missed. Thanks, Jean-Daniel!

    Richard

    Reply

  20. s8crdsex May 21st, 2008 at 10:34 PM

    I am really sad to hear of his death. I bought my first gay male porn film at 17 from the local gay porn shop in Dallas, TX. it was “All Of Me”. An entirely new world was opened to me in that film. My first erotic education was with this man and his movies. This was long before the internet and such easy access to any type of pornography one could want. I still have a few VHS copies of his films. I will go watch them and relive the erotic memories in his honor, to his spirit.

    Reply

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