Look, is that David Hodo on the cover?
Sadly, no – but it is yet another homoerotic effort from the guy who gave us the pointless if relatively visually sumptuous (for its budget) Bible.
Oy, gay porn. And why am I seeing this again?
Look, I appreciate Cocteau, Milligan and AbFab as much as the next fella (hell, probably moreso), but this is pushing the boundaries just a little…
Dramatic but cheap sounding canned orchestral music blares over images of a NYC construction site, the drive home of an angry looking bald guy (as filmed from the backseat and rearview mirror) and a really happy looking girl in furs walking through Midtown. It’s pretty obvious what’s about to happen here. One of the construction crewmen crosses paths with the two at the appropriate instant, and when her purse flies across the street to his feet (an obvious manual toss by the director or crew), he simply clips it and continues home (!)
Needless to say, he finds a pass to the titular Bijou, and after some particularly endless scenes of our nameless protagonist digging through the purse, showering and playing with himself (oh, so glad I got to sit through that…), he finally heads down to the place. And boy, is it a weird one.
Our hero looks kinda like the famed Marlboro man, first off. He strips naked and wanders through a hallucinatory set that brings Moju (Blind Beast) to mind, before finding some poor schlub passed out face down. Being an upstanding young man, he decides to take advantage of the guy’s unconscious state to have his way with him (sheesh!) Then the guy wakes up, acts all affectionate…and walks away like nothing happened! uh…yeah.
There’s a slideshow that turns into a Woodstock-style 4 way split screen showing a bunch of guys getting naked. And it takes a long frigging time to do that. It gets kind of weird and trippy after a bit, with closeups of eyes, lips and hands, before everyone beats off. er…o-kayyy…
Now some Freddy Mercury type shows up and starts getting physcial with him. No, wait, now it’s everyone from the split screen sequence, plus. What a slut LOL. Thank God for the fast forward button and lack of dialogue…
As those who saw Bible might expect, in between all the sordid bits, there’s some nice imagery here. Even in the more “boring” real-world sequences, we get some rather welcome period footage of NYC. Of course, when things get all “fantasy” is when Poole pulls out the stops, creating a sort of no-budget day-glo disco fantasia not all that far removed from far more entertaining gay oriented films like Can’t Stop the Music, Spice World or Xanadu. All the use of mirrors does in fact hearken vaguely to Cocteau, and as with Bible, Poole films mostly silent, with only ambient sound creeping in to offset the visual goings on.
Poole himself appears on camera twice: first to introduce the film and give the viewer an idea of what to expect, and again to give a brief anecdote about how the film got him involved with a de facto collegiate psychology encounter group. We also get feminist film critic and porn analyst Linda Williams (of Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the Frenzy of the Visible fame) offering her 2 cents on the film.
As with Bible, we get another visit to gay-themed public access show Emerald City, where Poole speaks to how filmmaking helped him come to terms with his sexuality (at least in a more public “out” sense), and some early auditions for the film’s cast which feature guys getting naked and dancing around. Hey, if that’s your thing, it’s all here for ya.
The bottom line is, the artier end of the gay community should absolutely love Poole’s respective efforts. Equal parts underground film and raunchy hardcore, his works appear to be marked by an auterist pretension towards the far meatier and more substantive cause celebres of the arthouse crowd.
That said, the very fact of this being hardcore is likely to alienate much of the headier audience he seems to be making distinct overtures towards, and the homoerotic focus equally likely to put off the standard audience for adult films (case in point).