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Meet Victor Maytland, Argentina’s Undisputed King of Porn

By | [email protected] | February 14, 2018 3:28pm

Meet Victor Maytland, Argentina’s Undisputed King of Porn
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There are a lot of ways to start talking about the history of porn in Argentina.

You could mention famous porn actors and actresses or reference classic erotic movies from the 1950s. You could probably begin by talking about one of the most amazing stories of all, that the oldest and best preserved porn film in the world, El Sartario, was actually shot in Argentina in 1907. But, truth be told, the history of porn in Argentina begins and ends with one name and it belongs to the most important and influential director of the genre in this country: Victor Maytland.

In his 30 year career, Victor has pretty much seen it all in the business, from the low cost beginnings to economic prosperity, from the times of VHS and DVD to the free-for-all game changing era of the Internet, from people calling him an idol to others calling him a misogynist. “Most people have me as a bizarre idol, sort of an Ed Wood type”, he says with a grin in his face and a deep thick voice while we sit down for coffee in Palermo. “Some tell me that my movies are bad and bizarre and I usually agree. That is the whole idea. I’m not Lars Von Trier, you understand?”.

Victor Maytland, a face that doesn

Victor Maytland, a face that doesn’t need to hide. (Credit: Jason Sheil)

 

So who is Victor Maytland? Well, first of all, his real name is Roberto Sena. “Victor Maytland is a name my first wife came up with”, he tells me. “It was the name of the main character in a novel she was reading. His wife would kill him because he was playing around with models in a gallery he owned. It was my wife’s way of telling me she couldn’t kill me in real life but at least she could do it in fiction” he concludes with a laugh. Second of all there’s that: he is a very funny guy. Like standup comedian sort of funny. If it were not for his porn fame, you could probably mistake him for some sort of old time television presenter. The man seems to have been born to entertain others. And, unlike other porn directors, he couldn’t be happier when he’s recognized in the street. “Once some people from the U.S. came to do business with me and they were shocked that people would stop me in the streets to say hi and shake my hand”, Victor tells me. “I would tell them that I wasn’t ashamed of what I did and they would tell me that U.S. porn directors would actually hide their faces”.

So how does a guy like Victor get to be recognized by people in the streets of Buenos Aires? Well, for that answer we have to go way back, to the beginning of his career. As incredible as it may seem, Victor started his path in the film industry working on The Hour of the Furnaces (La hora de los hornos) the now classic political documentary from the 1960s directed by Pino Solanas and Octavio Getino. “It’s not as if I codirected”, says Victor. “I was just an intern and was just starting out. My idea was to go on to make political films but doing that might have cost me my life in the 70s. So I left all of that and got into TV”.

After several years of TV, mainly in variety shows, Victor started directing comedies, getting racier and racier with each passing film. Around 1989, after his third film, he decided to go all in and give porn a try, without any suspicion that his life was about to change forever.

His first foray into porn began with a lot of obstacles, mainly because of the problems that were associated with it at the time. His producer quit just a couple of months before filming began and the actors, selected from an estimated 785 who arrived at the casting, were on board with anything as long as it didn’t involve showing their faces on screen. “There was this idea that you could go to jail if you did one of these movies”, he explains.

But people like Victor seem to find opportunities in the strangest of places and the actors’ refusal to have their faces exposed became a gift in disguise. “I was walking with a friend through Corrientes Av. and we saw a big billboard promoting The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. My friend was an avid comic book reader and he told me about them. That they were mutants and had a rat as a boss and that they ate pizza. And I thought it was delirious but also perfect for what I needed. It was the perfect excuse for them to wear masks”. And so The Mutant Pinja Turtles (Las Tortugas Mutantes Pinja) were born.

The plot for The Mutant Pinja Turtles goes like this: during an official visit to Argentina, the president of the United States is poisoned with a pill that will kill him the next time he ejaculates. He sends various CIA agents to Argentina who, unsuccessfully, try to find an antidote. Desperate, he decides to send his four greatest warriors, the Mutant Pinja Turtles, who will do whatever it takes (and whoever it takes) to make the president proud.

Because of the aforementioned resignation of his producer, Victor had to pay the whole movie with his own money and try to do it as cheap as possible, resulting in a film with a very homemade quality. The disguises are purposely trashy and the sound is mostly out of synch. But what the movie lacks in technical merit, it more than makes up for in dialogues and jokes.

The Pinja Turtles is Victor Maytland humor at its best, up to the last scene of the movie in which the turtles call the president to inform him that the antidote he desperately craves is, ironically, turtle sperm…

As one could imagine, most of Victor’s friend at the time told him he was crazy for going through with such a project. But that didn’t stop him.

“The first day it came out it was on the cover of Clarín. It was a sales powerhouse, we couldn’t stop selling it. It came out on VHS and I was able to pay all the debts I had gotten into. It’s the best selling porn movie in the history of Argentina, even more than Deep Throat. Just through an alliance with the Eroticón magazine we distributed 50 thousand copies, an unthinkable amount. It managed to sell close to 70 thousand copies in total, similar to what Die Hard sold”.

Success wasn’t limited to Argentina either. The movie managed to get distributed in Italy and Spain and, according to Victor, could’ve even arrived in the U.S. if not for the threat of being accused of plagiarism. “In hindsight it was pretty ridiculous because nowadays there are about 20 thousand porn parodies, but at that time the yankees felt it messed with something that was meant for kids and it was too irreverent”.

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The success of the Pinja Turtles (the movie, by the way, was supposed to be called Pija Turtles but Victor assumed that name would be an issue with censorship) opened the floodgates for Victor.

Only a year later he made Los Pinjapiedras, a porn parody of the Flinstones and Los Porno Sinson (a parody of The Simpsons) some time after that. His popularity and financial stability led him to work with a better crew of technicians, many of whom went on to work in mainstream Argentinian movies and are very well respected today. It also offered him enough creative freedom to pursue more serious thematic interests, albeit always inside the world of porn.

He made a flick about arms trafficking and corruption, another one about kidnappings. He even managed to make Tango, a movie that many consider his magnum opus. “It’s sort of my Kill Bill. It lasts four hours and, like Tarantino, I divided it into two parts. It’s the history or Peronism as seen through a brothel. My producer had the rights to The Lost Republic so I had the freedom to use images from 1938 to 1975. It’s a parallel between the brothel and Peronism, how they grow, how they become something more social and how both finally come to an end”. In all, Victor claims to have made more than 250 porn films in his career, “but only 20 that I really love”, he quickly points out.

Victor Martyland, creator of "The Pinja Turtles". (Photo credit: Jason Sheill)

Victor Martyland, creator of “The Pinja Turtles”. (Photo credit: Jason Sheil)

 

With his ideas and creativity, Victor has done all he can to keep the porn genre not only relevant in Argentina but close to his own set of ideals. He considers himself (rightfully so) a sort of a mentor to the directors that came after him and, as such, he also considers that he did his job according to a certain code of values.

“I didn’t film shits or peeing, or minors or pregnant women. I didn’t film bestiality either. Most of my limits were considered by the newer generations. Porn in Argentina is pretty clean and I feel I have a lot to do with that”. Despite his love for the genre, Victor ultimately fell victim to an enemy he just couldn’t foresee: the rise of free pornographic content on the Internet.

“The Internet pulverized us. There’s no other way to put it. You can only survive filming isolated scenes but in today’s markets I know that I won’t make a profit out of my next film. Internet condemned porn to mediocrity”.

On set. (Photo via Marcelo Rossi)

(Photo via Marcelo Rossi)

 

Nowadays, Victor has turned towards other sources of income.

He started producing live sex shows, mainly in swinger bars and discotheques, in which he plays a sort of master of ceremonies, equipped with his usual brand of humor. He also began an internet radio station called Radio Hot Venus themed around, you guessed it, all things porn.

He has also become the target of recent public discussions with feminists who accuse him of misogyny and humiliation of women in his films. Not one to back away from controversy, Victor has, time and time again, answered accusations.

“If you can find one scene in my 30 year career in which a woman is humiliated or degraded in any way, then I will plead guilty. You won’t find it”. No matter which side you’re on, the truth is that Victor will soon be turning the heat up on the discussion with his next project: a porn movie titled The Revenge of the Feminazis.

All signs seem to indicate that Victor Maytland, at almost 70 years of age, is still not ready to go quietly into the night.