The documentary “Aroused” features interviews with 16 adult-film actresses, but it’s not a story about pornography. That’s according to photographer and filmmaker Deborah Anderson, who not only conducts the interviews and narrates the film, but also appears on camera, shooting the subjects for a new coffee-table book of nude portraiture.
What’s it about then? At least a third of this slight but mildly provocative film is about selling Anderson’s book. There’s lots of “making-of” footage showing Anderson as she coaxes the women into softening their eyes for the camera — presumably because the book is meant to reveal a more vulnerable humanity than one typically associates with hard-core sex performers. In other words, it’s art, not porn. Ironically, this kind of emotional exposure appears to be a tough assignment for a lot of these actresses, most of whom seem way too young — in their 20s, for the most part — to be so guarded. When a couple of them shed tears toward the end, it’s surprisingly moving. The tears themselves, however, aren’t all that shocking.