Love. The sole universally comprehensible language (besides violence – I mean music). Transcending all borders, be they of national-, societal-, gender-related nature etc. In reference to the supposed great prophets of the European idea – Rousseau, Kant, Schiller, and so on – love is the very fabric of which this great metaphor of togetherness which we like to call Europe, is woven.
The culmination of such sublime love, and therefore the essence of what Europe is all about, we mere mortals may glimpse in the transcendence of the individual in a higher union, a ceremony performed by today’s high priests of the European idea – hardcore pornography.
One, sadly so far disregarded key player of European integration by means of such sublime love – a man for whom ‘European expansion’ is an ideal wholeheartedly pursued both territorially and genitally – is the internationally recognised Italian porn star Rocco Siffredi – 23 centimetres of all-out Europeanness! (Measured, of course, the only correct way: “from stomach to tip.”) The following article intends to reassess the achievements posed by the Italian Stallion in terms of European identity-building, as well as European integration, and help him take his throne amongst the afore-mentioned as one of history’s greatest and most visionary Europeans.
Siffredi (born Rocco Tano in Ortona, Italy in 1964) left his hometown at an early age in pursuit of sexual adventure, escaping the moral constrictions of catholic rural Italy. He resurfaced in the swinger–clubs of Paris, demonstrating the qualities we today associate with his work (size, stamina, tough love, and true dedication to Europe). A man of such capacities does not go unnoticed for long, and so it was that Siffredi was discovered by porn-legend Gabriel Pontello, who assessed Siffredi’s skills first hand, as demonstrated on Pontello’s girlfriend. From this point on, there was no stopping Siffredi, who has since starred in at least 600 films and, by his own account, has slept with at least 4000 women. More recently, Siffredi has starred in various mainstream films, such as Catherine Breillat’s Romance (1999), and Anatomie de L‘enfer (2003) and has temporarily worked exclusively as a porn-director.
1991 saw the beginning of John Stagliano‘s Buttman’s European Vacation series in which Siffredi is launched on a Grand Tour, systematically sodomising and rimming his way throughout all of Europe. And this in a pre-Erasmian time, when Europe for many was little more than a political construct of loosely affiliated nations, held together not by any form of common identity, and legitimised, if at all, primarily through spatial proximity. The role Siffredi has played in implementing the European idea in the minds at least of those who watch pornography can hardly be overestimated. Watching Siffredi vehemently consummate his unadulterated love for Europe with heaps of nymphomaniacal actresses from virtually every single European nation, has, no doubt, instilled a sense of collectiveness in us, without which Europe would be a much lonelier place today. Accordingly, Siffredi has also acted as an envoy, promoting Europeanness around the globe, e.g. in such movies as L.A. Stories (1990), or Bend Over Brazilian Babes (1993).
Siffredi’s movies have often been described as being overly aggressive, and degrading towards women (one scene, for instance, has him sodomising one actress, whilst sticking her head in a toilet-bowl and flushing). However, Siffredi‘s critics fail to see the ambiguity of scenes like these in his oeuvre: by seemingly degrading the allegorical „mother nature“ Siffredi raises our awareness of „environmental rape“ – bringing up inconvenient truths, we Europeans, as the self-proclaimed ecological avant-garde of the world, must acknowledge and act upon, and, thus, also legitimately establishing him as an Al Gore-ish icon of the European green movement.
(Note also the closely–woven associative texture of this masterpiece of symbolism: The bathroom – the place visited when nature calls. However, in its artificiality lies also our primordial urge to control nature. Yet, simultaneously, we encounter a Dionysian, self-destructive urge to immerse ourselves in nature. The dunking of the head must therefore be deciphered as an act of cleansing, and of union with nature, whilst being, at the same time, a degrading experience – and thus, a metaphor of the greatest paradox of all: life itself.)
Needless to say, such intellectual complexity in art films does not go unnoticed by the creme de la creme of art criticism, earning Siffredi various AVN (Adult Video News) awards for ‘Best Anal Scene’, ‘Male Foreign Performer of the Year’, etc.
Siffredi’s critics fail to see the ambiguity of scenes like these in his oevure: by seemingly degrading the allegorical “mother nature”, Siffredi raises our awareness of “environmental rape”.
It is scenes like these (especially the „gang–bangs“, of course) that give testament to Siffredi’s ultimate dedication to the somewhat bathetic slogan unitas in diversitate. After all: Siffredi’s devoted pursuit of this ideal can only be described as cultural-anthropological. Empirical data, gathered during his extensive field-work, gives him astounding insight into the very psyche of Europe‘s female population: whilst socialisation behind the iron curtain had supposedly provided Eastern Europeans with a healthy, more natural relation towards sex, the restrictive catholic upbringing in Southern Europe had led to more naughtiness amongst women. Siffredi’s research is often accompanied by similarly dedicated Europhiles, most notably, the inspiringly uninhibited English actress Kelly Stafford, sucking off random old men in a Rome-retirement-home, and then proceeding to have sex with a midget dressed as a child in Barcelona. It is this kind of open-mindedness we have come to appreciate as one of the core values of European interaction.
While Siffredi’s work in the 90s, for example in Stagliano’s epic Buttman’s British Moderately Big Tit Adventure (1994), Buttman in Barcelona (1997), and the classic Rocco’s Big Butt Euro Babes (1998), seems to concentrate primarily on a more Western European setting, these years also mark the beginning of an expansion towards Eastern Europe, starting with Rocco Goes to Prague (1995), making Siffredi a true visionary of European integration and eastward expansion, antedating the actual 2004 enlargement by a full 9 years! (This, of course, raises the question of whether we will soon be seeing any new prophetic releases along the line of Rocco Analyses Ankara, or Serbian Scrotum Suckers etc.) And truly, as for the European Union, the new millennium marks an ever increasing rapprochement towards Eastern Europe in Siffredi’s oeuvre: the year 2000 sees the birth of the seemingly politically excruciatingly incorrectly titled Rocco Invades Poland. However, the ambiguous aspects of the leitmotif penetration in this sensitive study in postcolonialism, seem to demonstrate that Europe’s future cannot remain in redundant denial of the catastrophic excesses of its nationalistic history, but, moreover, in coming to terms with one’s past by means of supratemporal reflection and discursive realisation, as demonstrated here in ways customary to hardcore pornography. The scenes of multiple-penetration serve also, no doubt, as a chiffre for Poland’s history of unscrupulous external interference.
In 2001 the Rocco Ravishes Prague series is launched, once again attempting to fathom the depths of European identity and of his actresses, and giving profound insight into both.
Siffredi’s eastward shift culminates after the year 2007 with the very revealing University Sluts of St. Petersburg series, the film Rocco Ravishes St. Petersburg (2007), and the aptly named Rocco’s Breaking Ass in St. Petersburg (2008). Clearly, Siffredi hereby draws our attention to the complexity of identity-building in itself and the problems associated with it: St. Petersburg – Venice of the North, hybrid of European, Asian, Caucasian, Baltic and Nordic influences – a metaphor for the plurality of constitutes individual, and societal identity.
In terms of European identity, Siffredi’s St. Petersburg conundrum raises the question: what is Europe? Is it a political entity, represented by the European Union? Or is it not much more than that: a complex web of cultural interrelations, transcending, like love, all artificially constructed barriers? Is the very ideal of inclusiveness not the core value that defines the meaning of being European? And is a gang-bang not the essence of inclusiveness itself?
Unfortunately, the hermetic nature of Siffredi’s later existentialist work does not provide easy answers. The truth, it seems, is somewhere to be found in the juxtaposition of philosophical reflection and unrestrained, orgiastic, hard anal sex.