If Petronius’ novel, Satyricon had documented any type of entomological tendencies in the debauched life of Roman emperor Nero, then Green PornoIsabella Rossellini’s new online mini-series for the Sundance Channel – would’ve likely been a scene in Fellini’s 1969 moving-picture interpretation.

Both directed by and starring the Italian model, actress, and former Mrs. Scorsese, the series of short films debuted this week and depict a woman with child-like wonder fantasized into hyper-color costumes of anatomically correct worms, spiders, flies, and other household insects.

With a dramatic string section for a soundtrack that elegantly accents the narrator’s awe, we’re taken on a journey of bug-on-bug action, learning in semi-graphic detail about the little critters’ copulation practices as the dirty deeds get played out on screen.  The end result is an anti-Japanese Bug Fight, or what would happen to a zoology student who took hardcore hallucinogenics on insect day:

Though it has some trappings of a Fellini flick, there’s no Jungian archetypes or metaphors for collective unconscious here. Sometimes a show about insects having sex is just a show about insects having sex.

After working on a number of projects together in the past 18 months, the Sundance Channel asked Rossellini if she’d like to create “flashy” short films about the environment that could be easily viewed on mobile devices. I’d be cute to think of it as the product of a language barrier, that Rossellini took “flashy” to mean “sex” and “environment” to mean “bugs,” but the truth is much more straightforward. As Rossellini states:

“I’ve always been interested in animals and animal behavior. Among the thing you read about is their sexual lives, their reproduction, if they take care of their babies, what they eat, etc. And everybody’s interested in sex, so I figured, let’s go there! I wanted people to laugh, but then to leave and say, ‘Wow. I didn’t know about that.’”

The title’s origin is equally unenchanting. Co-director Jody Shapiro told Wired they chose the title “Green Porno” in hopes of picking up some accidental viewers in search of the interent’s most useful type of media.

It’s not really that hardcore, and it’s not even human, but I bet a lot of those who randomly stumble upon the series will be pleasantly surprised.  It’s great.  A playful excursion to an informative, fantasy land of unitards and cardboard cutouts that’s still real enough to edify and, at times, gross you out.

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