Swiss Porn Takes Artistic Turn

May 29, 2012 8:30 AM PST

BERN, Switzerland — Faced with a stagnant, web-saturated market, Swiss filmmakers are offering a new take on adult that they feel provides a more artistic and humorous approach to porn.

Unhappy with the current state of the porn market in their country, Sabine Fischer and Sandra Lichtenstern began experimenting with vintage ‘70’s porn in 2009 and have built their project into a business that has sold thousands of copies of new videos in just a few months, mainly to young couples and almost entirely by word of mouth.

One of their projects is a slick production called "Glory Hazel."

“We look for the scenes that are most tongue-in-cheek, entertaining, or even schmaltzy, and then we cut them out and put them back together again in a new artistic product,” Lichtenstern told “We believe that pornography needs the support of artists so as not to turn into a product for people obsessed with sex, and to distance itself from all this dreadful mediocrity.”

The women said they deliberately chose ‘70’s porn for their model.

“In those days there were no digital video cameras and making a pornographic film took time, money and cinematographic technique,” Lichtenstern said.

“Staging was planned down to the last detail, and often films began with an erotic scene in which you caught a glimpse of a bare leg or uncovered breast. Nothing like the stereotyped characters today, which look like dolls doing stretching exercises. If you study an old film you will always find a plot, timing and real dialogues. This was the period of great comedies which had room both for humor and emotion."

A Swiss porn veteran from the late ‘70’s, Peter Preissle who was the right hand man of Edi Stockli, Switzerland’s the X-rated cinema king and founder of Macotte Films, the country’s main production and distribution house, is also adapting to the tastes of a changing market.

At one time the studio produced 240 films a year, but today its output has been cut in half.

“One time we were able to make a lot of money without much effort, but today we have to work three times as hard just to break-even. Competition is cut-throat and the industry has become a field for silly old fools,” Preissle said.

“We have to try to adapt to changing times, say producing more shorts or films with episodes, seeing as the young people are no longer used to sitting down for more than half an hour at a stretch.”

Fischer and Lichtenstern fished through more than 3,000 of Stockli’s archived films to do their research for their new customized movies.

And in an effort to stave off web competition, the Stockli group has revamped its market strategy by changing its theaters to appeal to a younger audience bored with today’s porn.

About 10 adult cinemas have now become meeting places with single and double private booths where couples can economically watch the new porn fare.

The modern hangouts also have regular erotic art exhibitions and guest appearances of porn stars in an effort to make performers appear more "human" and closer to the public.

“Just as is happening with mainstream cinemas, the pornographic ones too have declining ticket sales. But they still maintain their fascination. They allow people not to leave a trace, as happens on the Internet, and to make seeing a film a special event,” Preissle said

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