Director: Ninja Thyberg
Screenwriters: Ninja Thyberg

Institute History


Newly arrived Swedish transplant Bella Cherry coyly announces to an airport immigration official that she’s come to Los Angeles for “pleasure,” but upon her subsequent dive into the world of adult entertainment, she soon realizes it is clearly business. Though she warms to the friendly affirmations of the more seasoned girls, eager-but-green Bella relies on her instincts to navigate her experiences with predatory managers, male-dominated sets, and backbiting competitors.

Writer-director Ninja Thyberg returns to the Sundance Film Festival with Pleasure, a feature that extends the exploration of her 2014 short. Thyberg cunningly ties audiences’ experiences to Bella’s as the daring, immersive Pleasure uses its explicit portrayal to expose rather than titillate, offering a no-holds-barred worker’s-eye view of the industry. Leading a cast mined from the adult entertainment world, first-time actress Sofia Kappel fearlessly embodies a character who constantly renegotiates and recrafts her persona—from fresh-faced newcomer to boundary-pushing fetish performer to, finally, ascending queen—as a means of asserting her agency.

Contains graphic sexual content and sexual violence. Not suitable for audiences under 18.

— H.Z.

Screening Details

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