A Surprisingly Quirky Journey Through the Life of Rocco Siffredi

Rocco Siffredi auf der VENUS messe in Berlin

Among the sea of Netflix’s new releases, one series stands out for its deviation from the usual biographical approach: “Supersex”. Inspired by the flashy career of porn star Rocco Siffredi, the series opts for a fictional narrative rather than sticking strictly to the facts. This might sound disappointing at first glance, but the series uses its creative liberty to dive deep into themes like masculinity and the dark sides of the porn industry. Despite the slightly mocking tone suggested by the title, the series bears deeper insights into human nature.

Rocco Siffredi, played by Alessandro Borghi, is far from a one-dimensional porn star in his portrayal. Borghi brings a vulnerable, complex character to the screen, whose path to self-discovery is rocky. Borghi’s characterization breathes life into Siffredi, exploring both his successes and failures. It’s worth remembering that Siffredi was awarded the VENUS Award for Best European Actor in 2003, recognition that cemented his status in the industry.

The series starts like a superhero comic, where the “Supersex” magazine meets the young Rocco – then Rocco Tano – at a pivotal phase of his life. It’s an original approach that shows how early experiences can be formative and lead us on paths we never expected. In Ortona, a small Italian village, Rocco’s journey begins, but it’s not the glamour of the porn world that’s at the core here. Instead, it’s more about the dynamics of a complicated family structure and the challenges of a young man seeking his place in the world.

Another interesting element is that of masculinity. “Supersex” subjects male stereotypes to critical examination, from Rocco’s older half-brother Tommaso to interactions with his mother, Carmela. The series does not shy away from addressing toxic masculinity and internalized homophobia, even if these serious themes sometimes recede behind the stylized, exaggerated narrative.

What makes the series special is its ability to capture moments of depth and sensitivity amid excesses and vulgarities. That lies in the art of storytelling, as practiced by “Supersex”: it manages to maintain a balance between the frivolous and the serious.

Viewers of the series – and especially those expecting an accurate biography of Siffredi – might be surprised by how freely the series plays with the porn star’s real life. Yet, it’s precisely this freedom that allows “Supersex” to address themes that go beyond Siffredi’s career. It’s an invitation to look behind the curtains of an industry and personality surrounded by many misconceptions.

While the first three episodes show some promising approaches, it remains to be seen how the series will develop further. With its beautiful cinematography, perfectly matched soundtrack, and brilliant lead performance by Borghi, “Supersex” is more than just a narrative about the life of a porn star. It’s an exploration of human nature itself, set against the colorful, complicated world of Rocco Siffredi.

“Supersex” premiered at the Berlin Film Festival 2024 and is available on Netflix from March 6, 2024. A must-watch for anyone who appreciates profound stories with a hint of irony.

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