The Latin From Manhattan

There was a time when adult film stars were seen as akin to rock stars. Famous and rich. That time was the 1970s and 1980s and the adult film star was Vanessa Del Rio (Vivian Lamolli – from television’s All the Queen’s Men). The ride is wild, so prepare yourself.

Marginalized communities don’t often get screen time. Don’t often have a voice. Director Thomas Mignone (director of videos by David Hasselhoff, Sepultura and Slipknot), who also wrote the script) not only gives a Latina porn star the chance to be at the center of her own story. He takes it on like one of the music videos he directed. It is all glitz and glam.

Back in the 1970s, Vanessa Del Rio became the first Latina adult film star in the Times Square area of NYC. When most of us think of porn stars we have preconceived notions about what they are going to be like. Dumb. Coked out. Uneducated. Victims. Abused. Instead, Vanessa was a woman who was confident. Confident about how attractive she was and that she could make a living using her sensuality. She became a porn star without ever allowing herself to be used or victimized. In this respect, she is looked upon by many as a true feminist.

Part of her life story unfolds here and is set against the backdrop of New York City in the 70s and 80s. It was a tough and mean city at the time. With plenty of corruption in the city government and the mafia fighting to control the Times Square area. Besides what was going on in Vanessa’s life and career, we also see the change and conflict that was going on in the Big Apple at the time. Even looking at things that happened 50-odd years ago, it still feels relevant. It resonates. Many of the social issues that existed then are still going on today. We have not come very far. Race, immigration and the rights of women are all still being discussed and fought over.

The cast around Vivian Lamolli is filled with known entities like Jesse Metcalfe, Taryn Manning, Drea de Matteo, Esai Morales, and Shane West. Even well-known burlesque performer Dita Von Teese is there.

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