Starring Franois Sagat
Directed by Pascal Roche and Jérôme M. De Oliveira
Saturday began with two shorts which, in their different ways, fit well with the main feature. The first is a great short with an unfortunately generic title – A Day in the Country – that and its actors are almost unsearchable on IMDb and Google. Its exurb setting features a man, his boyfriend and the latter’s co-star in an amateur pornographic video. The short features coarse language and the ejection of seminal fluid. The short that came after it was tamer and more whimsical. It’s called No Clothes, starting with a man checking out another in a Laundromat in New York City, until they get interrupted by a hobo.
Before beginning this review of Sagat, about French gay pornographic model Francois Sagat, I mentioned watching it to my friends’ parents whom, without saying it, found my taste in movies a bit tawdry. I’m not necessarily offended by their tone but I’m still reminded about the stigma of pornography, the generational divide and that it may be weird that I am talking about porn.
Lest I underestimate you as my reader, I’ll still assume that you know nothing about Sagat, who is well…Francois Sagat. What I know about him, despite only seeing one of his movies, is that his tattoos include a big crescent on his back and his whole hairline. He can wear the most outrageous costumes and still look hot. He has been ‘famous’ since I was in college, unseating other muscled men like Mark Dalton and Matthew Rush. His reign as gay smut king has been longer than that and he’s expanding his CV through experimental and foreign films, although he’s still relegated to sexually explicit material within those two brackets.
Pascal Roche and Jérôme M. De Oliveira’s movie can preach outside the choir, a quality that most esoteric biographical docs don’t have. I’m not going to claim to know everything about Sagat. But my relative familiarity with him as a subject has taken away this carte blanche feeling that I’m supposed to have while watching and experiencing this movie about him. The ‘revelation’ count, as I call it, is down to four little factoids about him that I won’t write in this review for obvious reasons, despite these things being un-spoilery. The movie shows snippets of time between 2007 and 2010 when he’s getting recognition for his work.
The movie eventually touches on Sagat’s childhood and yes, I know this makes me sound like a monster, but it’s always weird to see childhood photos of a guy that many other guys have lusted for. During this section he says something about other boys taunting him about his sexuality and in his words, ‘telling the truth’. The movie brings an insightful interpretation of gay bullying, and the way that this trauma has influenced him can start a conversation on its own.
This depressing part of Sagat’s life is still portrayed with the same tone as the montages of his porn and work-out videos, accompanied by the thumping of electronic music. He says it himself, that he doesn’t think his work is interesting, that he would rather do it than talk about it. It’s strange that a man like him seems closed-up and introverted like this. At the same time the filmmakers do nothing but venerate him in their short movie. But after being naked, talking about his past, and filing other talk about how awesome he is, what else were they going to do?
This movie, just the one of the shorts that preceded it, also has violence, coarse language, and the ejection of semen.