Apr 22, 2008


Andy Warhol’s Flesh (or more appropriately Paul Morrissey’s Flesh) is an eccentric study in male prostitute body worship. Little Joe makes a living by supporting his family selling his body to dirty old men. He has no shame in it as he has to pay the bills somehow. Little Joe is a middle school dropout with an attitude. Paul Morrissey may be an anally retentive old queen but he sure admires the lifestyle of the poor and drugged out, hence his charm as a filmmaker.

Little Joe’s wife has no problem with Joe whoring his body out for cash. She participates in sexual encounters with women to get her sexual fill. Joe and his wife also have a baby together. Joe’s obsession with laying around naked parallels that of his newborns daily activities. In one crucial scene, little Joe studies his son in awe as he crawls around on the floor. It is never too soon for a father to learn from his child.

Joe has his best conversations with his Johns. They encourage Joe to work out as they admire his body. I found it pretty depressing (although somewhat touching) that Joe’s “clients” took him more seriously than his family and close friends. Joe also makes sure to giving tips to a young hustler on how to get “dates.” He encourages “gay for pay” sexual acts. Joe has to support his drug habit (and family) somehow.

Flesh has the aesthetic of an amateur documentary film. I could only imagine Flesh in this aesthetic as anything different would take away from the raw power of the pathetic life of a hustler. Little Joe is not a glamorous individual. He can barely even make it out his apartment. Prostitution seems like the only legit reason for Joe to leave home. Flesh is mandatory viewing for all serious fans of independent cinema.

-Ty E

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