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Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam (1995)

A documentary crew from the BBC arrives in L.A. intent on interviewing Heidi Fleiss, a year after her arrest for running a brothel but before her trial. Several months elapse before the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Nick Broomfield ...
Narrator
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Madam Alex ...
Herself
...
Actor
Mike Brambles ...
Himself
Cookie ...
Himself (voice)
Elisa Fleiss ...
Herself
...
Herself
Jason Fleiss ...
Himself
Jesse Fleiss ...
Himself
Kim Fleiss ...
Herself
Paul Fleiss ...
Himself
Shannon Fleiss ...
Herself
Gabby ...
Herself
...
Himself (Los Angeles Chief of Police)
...
Himself
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Storyline

A documentary crew from the BBC arrives in L.A. intent on interviewing Heidi Fleiss, a year after her arrest for running a brothel but before her trial. Several months elapse before the interview, so the crew searches for anyone who'll talk about the young woman. Two people have a lot to say to the camera: a retired madam named Alex for whom Fleiss once worked and Fleiss's one-time boyfriend, Ivan Nagy, who introduced her to Alex. Alex and Nagy don't like each other, so the crew shuttles between them with "she said" and "he said." When they finally interview Fleiss, they spend their time reciting what Alex and Nagy have had to say and asking her reaction. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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9 February 1996 (USA)  »

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Quotes

Ivan Nagy: If you believe anything they said you are, they made a fool of you. You're a fool. They flattered you, they told you how cute you are. How sexy you are. Right? There you go. So you think you're hot stuff. You're a cool dude, you're happening! "Hey, Hollywood! Heidi thinks I'm cool, I'm sexy!" You're a rube. She thinks you're a fucking idiot. You're an idiot. You're not in the club.
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Featured in Siskel & Ebert: The Best Films of 1996 (1997) See more »

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The life of lying scumbags
6 September 2007 | by (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

This is an odd documentary because, as a previous reviewer said here, you don't want to watch but you do. You're drawn in by director Nick Broomfield's smooth and ever-so-earnest British-style interviewing techniques while forgetting that he's talking to extremely unpleasant and even odious people (including Heidi Fleiss herself).

This Hollywood madam was apparently at the top of the heap in her 'profession,' and it's a tribute to her manipulative skills (I guess) that she was able to do it. She must also be a terrific actor: she looks at times like a wounded little girl, so it's hard to imagine how she was able to reach the 'top,' if that's the word. That's one of the keys to this woman's character, it seems to me: she is such a sleazy opportunist that she seems capable of talking herself into, or out of, anything. If this is true (and the evidence in this film would indicate that), how or why would we believe ANYTHING she says, including her more-or-less 'confessional' at the end? This is a hard-core, professional liar at work.

Fleiss is just one of a cast of people in this film who deliberately and systematically deceive each other, so much so that they have lost touch with what is, or isn't, truth. They no longer know where the line of truth is, and their own glaring self-deception is evident in Broomfield's camera.

You're left quite exhausted by the talking heads, and you realize that the documentary has little redeeming value -- we don't know anything more about who these characters REALLY ARE than when the film started.

In short, everyone is lying here, everyone is driving the viewer down a very convoluted series of rhetorical streets, everyone is playing that famous 'blame game'. What this film needs is some kind of resolution, some denouement. We don't get one, but we still watch. It's interesting to observe ourselves being manipulated by professional liars, and also interesting to see that director Broomfield emerges as a pretty nifty manipulator himself.


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