Programmed by the DOCs From the Vault jury
CW: This film contains scenes that address mental illness, the pornography industry, HIV, and contains scenes of nudity.
In the Spring of 2004, 21-year-old Lara Roxx left her hometown of Montreal and headed to L.A to try and make a ton of cash in the adult entertainment industry. Within two months of working in this industry, she contracted the most virulent form of HIV while performing sex in front of the camera. Inside Lara Roxx is a feature-length documentary about the events leading up to that scene and the years after it. It is about the adult movie industry and its impact on a young life. Miss Roxx’s story created a media sensation, but it’s when the media hype dies that Inside Lara Roxx begins: in a psychiatric ward in Montreal.
A word from Tënk
A meticulous historian of the margins of popular culture, Montreal-based filmmaker Mia Donovan has crafted three feature-length works that constitute a body of documentary work that strives to humanize people who are poorly represented in the media and provide them with their rightful place in a society that ignores them. Before exploring cults and deprograming (Deprogrammed, 2015), and the links between acupuncture and militant Black associations in the United States (Dope Is Death, 2020), she completed this raw, intimate, and troubling portrait of a young woman whose life was upended by her experience in the pornography industry in Los Angeles. Taking counterpoint to the sensationalistic and self-righteous press that exploited Lara Roxx’s story, only to forget it immediately after, the film observes the impact of a tragic incident on the mental and physical health of its subject over a more than five-year period. Without trying to paste simple responses over complicated questions about mainstream pornography, Inside Lara Roxx and its subject participate in the conversation by calling for safer conditions on porn sets. The film doesn’t condemn the industry, but does decry its failures, especially its inability to protect its most vulnerable workers.
Programmer and critic
A discussion with Mia Donovan and Lara Roxx from the archives of Cinéma Politica.