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Giles Tremlett in Madrid

The Catalan regional government has decided to fund a series of blue movies after deeming them useful for spreading the Catalan language.

The grants of £10,000 to a local film-maker are for what he described as women-friendly erotic films called Laura is Not Alone, The Memory of Fish and The Sea Isn’t Blue.

The actors embark on numerous sexual adventures, including those of a “religious, faithful and hardworking” middle-class girl who has regular weekly meetings with a stranger and is introduced to, among numerous other things, lesbian sex. The movies are marketed as “erotic films for women”, with male director Conrad Son claiming that one, about a male executive, is “for women who want to understand us”.

Both Son, a separatist sympathiser whose website boasts that he offers “sex in Catalan”, and the regional government claim the films are not pornography.

Son has argued that as an experienced producer of pornographic films he was well placed to judge whether they had gone over the limit. The existence of plotlines and the “non-explicit” nature of the sex scenes meant they were artistic rather than pornographic, he said.

Spain’s conservative ABC newspaper accused Catalonia’s Socialist-led coalition government and the separatist Catalan Republican Left party (ERC) of sinking to new depths. “To publicly fund pornographic films … borders on misappropriation of taxpayers’ money,” it said.

Separatist politicians backed the Catalan filmmaker. “Any normal language is able to penetrate the most obscure places,” Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira, the ERC leader, told ABC.



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