Flesh (1968)

Directed and written by Paul Morrissey
Produced by Andy Warhol
(number 478)

Penis, raw naked penis. The abrupt jump cuts. Microphones in the shot. Real sex. No apparent script. Sequences in silence… the movie looks like a movie made with friends. A documentary made by someone very much in love with Joe Dallesandro, which possibly isn’t far off the truth.

Joe Dallesandro is treated as a sex symbol which is revolutionary even now. It’s so rare to see a male photographed in this kind of way. Especially on this 500 list! It feels out of place, a bit.

This is a story about Joe, whose wife kicks him out of bed to go get some money. He heads out onto the street and starts hustling. Mostly for older men, one of which just seems to want to draw him. One of whom is extremely devoted and wants to hold him all night. The movie is incredibly disjointed and extremely seventies in feel.

There’s a rather disturbing scene with the go go dancer, Terry, relating about a time she was raped, and how awful it was and then she goes ‘but it was fun’. Joe sort of calls her out on it laughingly and she said ‘not at the time, but looking back on it’. That was pretty jarring in an otherwise lovely sequence.

I wonder how many of them where high during the filming… probably most of them..I feel like this is a movie I need to research to fully understand it. It’s a snapshot of such a different time and place, and it feels a bit alien.

Does it make me love the people? I like the sequences where it’s just natural conversation, which is a fairly large chunk of the movie. I especially liked the sequence with Candy, Jackie and Terry. They seemed to really like each other and there was a lot of laughter. It’s hard not to like Joe when he’s the central character and followed so lovingly by the camera. He really is beautiful.

Bechdel test: Yep, Geri and Patti have long rambling conversations, sometimes about Joe sometimes but about marriage and other things. Also they then are shown having sex. It’s nice to have some lesbianism in this movie project! heheh.

Best line:

Terry: I don’t want to learn too much, because then I won’t always be happy. I think the more you learn, the more depressed you are.

State of Mind: It was both easier and harder to watch than I expected.


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