FLESH (Paul Morrissey, 1968)

“Flesh” is hard to describe with a solid summary because, well, there basically isn’t a plot. The film pretty much just shows the day in the life of a hustler named Joe (Joe Dallesandro, who is in the underrated Louis Malle picture “Black Moon”) as he makes his rounds, sleeping and modeling around to cash in the bucks to pay for his wife’s lover’s abortion.

Not much, and since the film is quite a lengthy eighty-nine minutes, you would think that “Flesh” would be a slow-moving and boring hour and a half. You think wrong. The film is made up of improv, no screenplay and the angles of the film are pretty on-the-spot as well, yet there is some kind of truth beneath every frame that gives the film its dementedly entertaining vibrancy. Everything makes sense and serves purpose in what happens to Joe in this one day. He meets a regular john that is obviously lying when saying he wants to see Joe again, a photographer who talks so much that it bores Joe to tears, two drag queens who read out of tabloid magazines as Joe receives head from a mousy-voiced addict who mumbles on later about how she wants to get a breast lift, an old friend of Joe who reads male-on-male rape stories to him, and then a final scene with his wife and her lover that eerily echoes the scene at the start of the film (one of the best openings to a film I have seen in quite some time) – and tells completely what the film is overall philosophically about.

It’s astounding how the film’s messages and styles feel almost timeless, even though it’s set in 1960s New York City, in real time, in real place, and is filmed like an obvious independent flick from that era. It’s certainly not a film that could be made today, which adds on to its delicious mystique.

Fueled by unexpected jump cuts; and absent of a score to advance its images – “Flesh” is about as raw, gritty as a film about male prostitution in the 60s can get.


~ by jerkwoddjh on May 11, 2009.

3 Responses to “FLESH (Paul Morrissey, 1968)”

  1. are you serious

  2. Flesh is probably the worst movie I have ever seen!!! So if you like this movie I probably don’t like you.

  3. Lovely comments.

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