The beauty of The Training of Poe is in its awkwardness. Not that the people in it are awkward — far from it, as Mistress Bella Vendetta moves with assurance and slave Chelsea Poe is the essence of an eager student — but the art of Dominance is awkward. That’s why this documentary shines. It’s not the dim lights, perfect cis- bodies, and nasty* talk that Hollywood and mainstream porn studios portray as D/s (Dominance/submission). It depicts the reality of the beginnings of a Domme/slave relationship and it’s beautiful in its honesty.
As Mistress Bella acknowledges around 1h 22m, learning the intricacies of slave behavior is difficult. There are many details that the slave must embody and The Training of Poe documents Poe as she learns several of these elements. Training to be a slave takes time, patience, and a commitment to safety. These aspects are all depicted in The Training of Poe, along with tenderness, respect, and desire. Mistress Bella demonstrates her experience and knowledge as she guides from one activity to the next to gauge Poe’s skills, reactions, and comfort levels. Poe makes her desire to please apparent and it is shown with a conviction that suggests the desire goes beyond this film into a true desire to service. Indeed, Poe’s video diary at the end of the first day shows Poe talking about the euphoria of subspace (which is unnamed in the diary) and how excited she is to experience more pain.
An hour into the documentary, I found myself aroused. As a sadomasochistic switch, I was vicariously stimulated both by Poe’s obvious enjoyment of receiving pain, and Mistress Bella’s amusement at Poe’s reactions to that pain. But for me, adding music to the clothespins scene took away from the mood, making it difficult to hear Poe’s gasps and moans. I would have preferred to hear Mistress Bella’s and Poe’s quickened breathing, which the music distracted me from. I had the same difficulty with the outdoor scene; all I could really hear was the water and I desperately wanted to hear the whip and Poe’s reactions.
My favorite parts: 1) In the first half hour of the film, Poe wears a rope harness. In the next half hour, the harness has been removed. Poe’s nudity in this scene comes across as innocent, pure, and alluring. It’s no wonder Mistress Bella decides that Poe’s ass in need of some impact play as the scene progresses. 2) The Training of Poe depicts aftercare, and very touching aftercare, at that. If aftercare is shown at all, the camera often turns away from just a few moments, so the time spent on aftercare in this documentary is significant — it’s something I’d like to see more of in media.
My least favorite part: The editing and camera work often leave something to be desired. Some shots are too short and some are too long. There are multiple instances of the camera moving from a horizontal view to a Dutch angle (diagonal view) in one shot. This left me nauseated from both the visual skewing and the aesthetic quality.
Overall, the content of The Training of Poe overcomes the faults in the technical work. I believe this film to be an important addition to existing documentation of the D/s lifestyle.
* Not that there’s anything wrong with nasty!
Directed by: Bella Vendetta
Produced by: Chelsea Poe Productions and Beautiful Revenge Productions
Starring: Bella Vendetta (@BellaVendetta) & Chelsea Poe (@ChelseaPoe666)
Shot by: Jacqueline Mary
Official Site: www.TrainingOfPoe.tumblr.com
Music by: Forever Autumn
Also: individual clips will be for sale here: www.clips4sale.com/77669
Purchase: The Training of Poe in its entirety here: http://realqueerporn.com/training-of-poe