Bonking Berlin Bastards: the homopunk porno with a hard-hitting soundtrack

THE FACE speaks to the founder of the film company behind the 2001 cult classic, which eschewed cheesy porn music in favour of boundary-pushing techno.

Do you find yourself admiring the IKEA bedroom furniture on OnlyFans? Bored by your social media favourite’s alt account? Or simply tired of all that PornHub can throw at you? Bonking Berlin Bastards is here to lend a hand. The underground queer porno from 2001 should re-stimulate your interest in the medium, with its motley crew of horny homopunks, sketchy squatters and wild drag queens engaging in scenes of a distinctly Berliner nature.

But the sex, and who engages in it, are not the only alluring aspects to this cult classic, which was directed by ebo hill and released be local gay porn company Cazzo. Come to Bonking Berlin Bastards for its young guns rutting on a flyover, the skinhead gent who’s brought his nipple clamps to the party and the drag queens fisting with a mobile phone. But stay for its surprising soundtrack, for the film has also great musical taste, with industrial, techno, ambient and electro composed by techno trio AeoX and noise producer Rouage, AKA CNM.

Cazzo, founded by Jürgen Anger and Jörg Andreas in 1995, was about doing every aspect of porn differently from the US dominant players. The production house’s first film, Berlin Techno Dreams (1996), set the template with its unusual cast, industrial and darkroom locations and any-flavour-but-vanilla sex. The music of films like Bonking Berlin Bastards which has just been released on vinyl via A‑TON, a sublabel of Berghain’s imprint Ostgut Ton – was unusual in porn too.

In the 90s, techno was at its height in Berlin,” Anger tells me. The wall came down, there were all these clubs which opened up in empty factories in east Berlin, and techno was a big thing. We didn’t have the money to buy music, so we talked to some techno DJs and asked them to do music for us. We didn’t put music all over the film, we worked a lot with original sound.”

That original sound, you’ll be unsurprised to hear, is of people having sex. But while the fucking may have something to do with Bonking Berlin Bastards’ cult following, this resolutely queer, hedonistic and hypersexual film is also a record of the city in party mode after the fall of the Wall and before big business moved in. The music of Bonking Berlin Bastards has similarly endured; its scruffy, improvised noise could easily be the soundtrack of chemically-enhanced, sexually-charged nights in Berghain to come. We spoke to Jürgen Anger about what made the sound and vision of the film, his last with Cazzo, so special.

How did music come to play a part in films like Bonking Berlin Bastards?

Our films didn’t have elaborate narratives because we weren’t dealing with actors. We didn’t want to make fun of the performers or have bad acting. So, we thought the music has to play an important role. To be honest, both Jörg and I were not so into the techno scene, but we thought techno was much better music than was mostly in porn, this boring elevator music. The Americans thought the music was strange, but we were different, so we immediately got offers to distribute our first films. Success brought other filmmakers including Bruce LaBruce, who we did Skin Gang with in 1998, and then we were approached by ebo hill to work with us on Bonking Berlin Bastards. Porn was chic in Germany then.

What was significant about the location in the film?

At the time, Berlin was still not gentrified. In 1989 the Wall came down and everyone expected that Berlin would be flooded with business and artists, but in the first ten years, nothing happened. In the 90s, nobody came. Berlin was not trendy. We lived as we did in the 80s; we could do what we wanted. There were a lot of empty houses and factories. When we did ebo’s film, you could find these locations easily. We always shot without permission, because when you ask, people say no. The dancing scene was shot in an empty construction site [which features on the soundtrack’s cover]. At the time they had just started fixing it up so at the weekend we climbed over the fence and shot there illegally. It’s now owned by Universal.

How did various communities – the squatter scene, the homopunk crowd – inform the film?

I squatted in the early 80s in Berlin when I was young; in 2000 there was a new generation of young people because Berlin opened up and in East Berlin, there were a lot of houses for young squatters. There were gay punks, and a gay punk bar called Anal, but there wasn’t a movement. There were parties all over the place. In clubs like OstGut – the forerunner of Berghain – there was a lot of gay skinheads. It all represented a different kind of masculinity than we’d seen in American porn.

Were locations like the cable cars really cruising spots?

We shot a lot in public. You could do unusual things. We shot a masturbation scene on the subway while it was running. We liked to cross a line. ebo wanted to do a scene in the cable cars. It was not a regular cruising spot, just a porn fantasy. We also shot on a public bus and we did that by asking a gay bus driver who we knew; we shot at 2am on the upper deck. You couldn’t do so much of this now. But Germans are relaxed. We shot a scene with two guys in a convertible, fucking in the woods. The police came and said, we are not interested in what you are doing, but you can’t park your car in the woods.

What was groundbreaking about the film?

A lot of gay guys complained about the drag queens in the film. It broke boundaries. After the partying and the fucking the guy with the mobile telephone, one of the drag queens goes home and undresses and goes into the shower. I don’t think drag queens like to be seen naked, so it was really brave, especially in the porn context. That felt groundbreaking.

Was the music as considered?

The music was specially composed. ebo brought in the music and had it in mind.

But there is not only music to sex, there’s a scene with a woman dancing and the music was specially composed for that. When there’s the fucking scene, we didn’t have music. We’d use the original sound, people moaning. When we released our first film, there wasn’t a way to hear people’s reactions to it. So, I went to a gay porn shop and said, I hear there’s this new gay porn film called Berlin Techno Dreams. And the shop assistant said, yeah, we have that strange film available. I asked why it was strange, and he said a lot of customers said it was too fast edited, it’s too dark with strange music.

Did you ever learn to love techno?

No! I moved to Berlin in 1978 so I was very influenced by 80s music. I liked noise music like Einstürzende Neubauten. I liked The Human League. I wasn’t so interested in techno, this new scene. I was too busy doing this stupid porn company.

The Bonking Berlin Bastards soundtrack is out now on A‑TON

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