by Rich Moreland, September 2015
Daddy’s Girls is a brilliantly scripted classic in a film genre that often minimizes the depth of its artistic talent. The director is the incomparable B Skow. The story is the work of David Stanley.
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Never reluctant to push the envelope with new ideas, Girlfriends Films is widely recognized as a company on the cutting edge of adult film. According to the company’s September 2015 newsletter, filmmaker B Skow is introducing an adult film innovation called Progressive Porn. Part of this game-changing experience is Dogme 69, a cinematic movement that began twenty years ago with Danish filmmakers. Emphasizing the traditional value of theatrical performance centered on well-constructed themes, the film making style minimizes special effects while elevating storytelling. In other words, make it clean in the manner of a bygone era when superb narratives and the acting that energized them ruled the day.
Characterized as “a new style” that promotes “intellectual, story-driven, anti-blockbuster features,” Skow’s Progressive Porn is stepping up in an industry that recently lost one of its pioneering film makers, Candida Royalle, who helped to shape the feature as we know it today.
What drew me into the Progressive Porn loop was a single word: intellectual. But then again, I knew this about the soft-spoken Skow, all I needed was an example of the depth he could achieve with his artistic eye. My nominee? Daddy’s Girls.
As a result, this post and the ones that follow are less a film review than an analysis and a partial one at that due to the limits of space. I have only touched upon the many complexities this film presents.
For reviews of Daddy’s Girls, I encourage the reader to look at Jared Rutter’s excellent commentary for XBIZ and a similar article posted by AVN. A synopsis of the story is also presented on those sites.
I’m not a Prostitute
Daddy’s Girls is a tale of counterpoint and contrasts that begins with the title and the small matter of the apostrophe. Obviously a daddy has more than one girl. Bob has a daughter Quincy and Dale has one named Samantha. Do both daddies have more than one daughter? Possibly and here’s why.
The story is a maze of probabilities encircling two girls of next door neighbors. The first, Samantha, cannot physically see but apparently “sees” pretty well, retaining the last fragment of honesty in a saga of two morally bankrupt families. The second, Quincy, is an immature Lolita-type whose childish sassiness and pouting conceals her very grown-up sexual fantasies. To be fair, both girls are plagued by past events they cannot escape. They are victims more than victimizers, itself a disturbing contrast.
The narrative leaves the viewer with a morass of secrets, adultery, and pedophilia. Bob seduces Samantha (the reason she tried to commit suicide and was sent away), and is haunted by the forbidden concealed with sunglasses and, as we will see, pigtails and plaid skirts. Marla, Bob’s reason for “going to the office,” brings out his fetish in their pay-as-you-go rompings (Bob and wife Gina have long ago abandoned each other emotionally), but more on that later.
In the meantime, Dale is naturally protective of Samantha. However, under the online account of Goodneighbor 51 he is getting off on Quincy via her webcam avatar, Daddy’s Girl 95. She, of course, doesn’t know this particular fan is her neighbor. If that doesn’t muddle the story enough, Quincy believes she is sired by Dale (her mother secretly confessed her affair with him years ago) and raised by Bob.
Denials are everywhere. For example, Quincy’s mother rails at her about the webcam to which Quincy retorts, “Fuck you mom.” When Bob intervenes, Quincy whines, “She called me a prostitute.” Later when online with “51” who wants to meet her at a motel, she proclaims, “I’m not a prostitute.”
The White Cane
When watching this movie, pay close attention to the opening shot of the title frame. There’s enough information in it to prepare the viewer for a sordid tale.
Iris, Dale’s wife, is bringing Samantha back from the facility, her home for the last three months. The car is traveling a straight country road toward the viewer. Presented in one-point perspective, the road’s narrow top half represents the past with the wider bottom part the present.
In the upper left hand corner is the film’s title positioned closer to the past than the present. It’s blended with the landscape, almost unnoticed so as to be missed, unrecognized like the traumas of Daddy’s Girls. The shot is colorful and bright, a contrast to Samantha, whose vision is silenced.
Incidentally, there are two primitive borders along the road’s left side. One is a series of landscaping posts driven into the ground, the other a stony path. They are also in perspective and divided by a fence, as the two families are likewise separated. The posts are phallic symbols penetrating mother earth and the pathway is the illusion of affection that creates.
When Samantha arrives home, she is seen walking a path with her “white cane” in hand, sight for the unsighted. The landscape is splashed with vivid hues to remind the viewer that Sammy’s perception of color and its energy is internal.
Later Bob has sex with Samantha as a “renewal” of their past lustful encounters and the cane becomes another post-like invasion. Rather than guide Samantha, Bob uses the object to penetrate her, first requiring that she lick the tip to ready it for action. Her external dependency becomes her internal stimulator.
By the way, Samantha strikes out at Bob before weakly succumbing to his advances. “It’s just like old times,” she says, “you’re disgusting” and reminds him he took her virginity while she slept, then “rewarded” her by ending their affair. Despite protestations, she craves the sex just as she will do in the second film.
Thus the conflict of the seen and unseen in Daddy’s Girls is announced via contrast. But to get the proper picture, juxtapositions must be further illustrated.
That takes us to second installment of this analysis.