Sad Documentary About Famous Gay Adult Film Industry
At the beginning of the new documentary All Boys, a voice-over expresses a sentiment common in the gay and bisexual male community: "I have no problem with porn. It depends on how it's made. Are the actors volunteers who enjoy what they're doing?"
In the movie, we get a pretty clear answer to that question, at least when it comes to those movies filmed in Prague.
The area became a bustling gay adult movie center in the 1990s when a producer named George Duroy discovered that, with the fall of the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain, there were a lot of extremely attractive, economically disadvantaged young men who were willing to do almost anything for money. He founded Bel Ami
Since then, a huge, albeit informal industry has sprung up in the city (and, we're told, in surrounding European countries). But seemingly unencumbered by regulation (or ethics), the industry has also victimized its participants to an alarming degree.
We all know these movies are a fantasy, but I was surprised just how much of a complete lie it really is.
The men, almost all of whom are straight and using Viagra or penile injections, are clearly taken advantage of: forced to sign draconian contracts and required to perform without condoms (the producer of the country's first bareback film almost boasts about it on film — although all the other companies in the city quickly followed suit).
And no matter how popular or successful they are, the young men are quickly chewed up and spit out — no longer needed in an industry that constantly requires fresh faces, and always has another flock of desperate 18-20 year-olds anyway.
The alumni? Many, intoxicated by making relatively good money for such quick work, turn to drugs and prostitution, only to be washed up, tragic figures before they hit their mid-twenties (many also probably end up HIV-positive, although the movie doesn't go into this).
Perhaps the saddest story is that of a model who went by the name Aaron Hawke, a clearly disturbed young man who started doing adult movies in his teens, and also dated one of the industry's most prominent producers, 51-year-old Dan Komar, for three years.
"I'm a big star in America," Hawke says early in the film, even as he laments that he only made $10,000 for all his work.
The film follows Hawk's post-movie life for some time, and it's difficult to imagine a sadder, more pathetic ending.
"Pygmalion is a myth," argues Komar, who pretty much embodies the term "creepy porn producer" and who takes no responsibility for anything. "You can take someone out of the street and teach them culture. But if they want to be an animal, you can't change them into a human being."
Do all the performers end up in such dire straits? No, some apparently survive and move on. But at least in Prague, and at least among the people interviewed for this film, the idea that these are "volunteers" or that anyone is doing this for "fun" is quickly put to rest.
COMMENT BY A READER
I wonder, how can you be gay, and see these gorgeous young men who are in dire need of both money and guidance and just abuse them. I always think that all the hate we get for being gay at least has the effect of making as better human beings who don't abuse others as we are abused.