Documentary look at doomed male prostitutes in Prague, ages 15 to 18, who troll at the public swimming pool, the train station, a video arcade, and a disco. After the boys talk about how ... See full summary »
Interviews with a procurer and with nineteen boys and young men who are prostitutes in Prague. The youths range in age from 14 to 19. They hustle at the central train station and at clubs. ... See full summary »
Fifteen-year-old Beni falls in love with Fögi, a singer in a Rock band. As Fögi seduces him, Beni is willing to follow him where ever he takes him. But Fögi is a drug addict and pulls Beni ... See full summary »
Urs Peter Halter
THIS SPECIAL FRIENDSHIP tells of the tender relationship between a twelve-year-old boy and the upperclass man who is the object of his desire. All set in the rigid atmosphere of a ... See full summary »
"A teenage summer in a small town in the desert, a dysfunctional family, a rock band, a can full of glue, two boys, one girl, loads of tongue kisses, dry heat, wind in Patagonia, ... See full summary »
Zypcio is an idealistic heir to a large brewery in Poland. In the face of Chinese invasion threatening Eastern Europe, he is corrupted by the advances of both Princess Irina, who is after ... See full summary »
A neglected, young teenager abandons his troubled home and finds himself caught in a network of jealousy as he drifts from one romantic companion to another, longing for belonging, while living as a hustler and thief among a gang of such.
Rami Nathan Sverdlin
Reine is supposed to go to a summer camp called Children's Island but decides to remain in Stockholm over the summer while his mother is working at a hospital. She thinks he is at the camp,... See full summary »
Reminiscent of Sunset Boulevard, Hustler White transposes the action from the silver screen's old movie backlots to contemporary male prostitution and the porn industry. Said to be an homage to classic Hollywood cinema.
NOTE: According to the dictionary: Mandragora is 1) a plant of nightshade family: a plant with a forked root resembling a human body that was formerly believed to have magical powers and was made into a drug and 2) a 14th century alteration of medieval Latin mandragora, influenced by man, drake "dragon" (from its emetic and narcotic properties).
MANDRAGORA, the astonishing film from the Czech Republic written by Wiktor Grodecki (who also directs) and David Svec (who also acts in the film), is aptly named: mandragora is the world of male prostitution that seduces young lads with promises of money and ultimately poisons them with the burning disease of loss of self respect and ultimately of life.Marek (Miroslav Caslavka in a stunning performance) is a beautiful 15-year-old kid from a little village in the Czech Republic who has aligned himself with petty criminals to have better things such as classy clothing, a lad whose single father (Jirí Kodes) demands he stay in school (yet is always in the background to salvage Marek's errant life situations) and who seems to be prepping his son for a better life. Marek hates school, which he sees as merely a path to be a welder like his father. The father and son collide after another crime spree and Marek leaves home for the big city promises of Prague.
Once in Prague Marek is observed by the pimp Honza (Pavel Skripal) who follows Marek, knowing that Marek's future in the city is doomed without Honza's 'protection'. Within a day's time Marek's luck with the slot machines dries up and Honza convinces him to be his 'rabbit' - a male prostitute. Marek's first encounter with an American 'john' ends disastrously and the beaten Marek returns to the streets where he encounters a fellow hustler David (David Svec). Together they forge an alliance to escape Honza's compound and begin a life of successful prostitution. They are bonded (the probability of Marek's actually being gay and physically attracted to David is strong) and together they encounter all manner of unseemly characters involved in the underbelly of Prague's male prostitution life.
Characters weave in and out of Marek's and David's life, each time leaving scars that grow more visible as does the threat of drug problems and AIDS. They eventually consent to embrace the lowest level of making gay porn where the cruel director forces Marek to be sodomized by David. They are raided by the police and Honza reappears as Marek's nemesis. Through a series of drug-induced hallucinations and dreams Marek envisions what his future holds and his descent is stamped. Yet at this point Marek's father journeys to Prague in search of his son, discovers his life style, is terrified and angry and tangentially passes Marek in a critical final scene that is devastatingly sad.
This film is dark, frank, cruel, realistic, and sweats with the evil of the belly of the beast that is Prague's underworld. Yet the direction is so fine and, equally important, the acting by Miroslav Caslavka so sensitive that we as the audience are swept into an overwhelming compassion for these unfortunate lads whose seemingly only hope for a better life is one of humiliating degradation. MANDRAGORA is a no holds barred examination of a dark life that maintains a precarious balance between caricature and character development. Yes, it is lengthy at 126 minutes, in need of editing in areas, has faulty subtitles, and a strange musical score by Wolfgang Hammerschmid who extrapolates Puccini's 'Nessun dorma' and Bach's 'Erbarme dich' and 'Ruhe sanft' from the St Matthew Passion for heavy effects, and very dark cinematography by Vladimír Holomek, but despite these sidebar problems, they only slightly mar the overall impact of a very important film.
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