What would you call an extreme body modification? Full body tattoos? Genital piercings? Although many people thinks that it's pretty extreme, others push these boundaries further and that's what you will see in this documentary. "Flesh & Blood" allows the viewer to see the world of a cult figure, a body modification artist Steve Haworth and his clients/friends. Originally a designer and manufacturer of medical equipment, Steve began making body jewelry and became a piercer in the 1990. In '91 he opened his first piercing studio in Phoenix and it did so well, that Steve opened another one near Arizona. Haworth is a pioneer of 3D body art, he invented the concept of implanting steel under the skin and he is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as "most advanced body modification artist" for over decade now. Those who are bored with traditional tattoos and piercings comes to Steve from all over the world. Have you ever seen a metal mohawk (metal spikes implanted into scalp)? Well, you can see it in this documentary amongst the other precious things related to body modification.
At the beginning of this documentary Steve Haworth explains, that he is an ARTIST and flesh is his medium. He modifies people to be more unique. For a doctor to modify a persons body away from what society calls "normal" is against their code of ethics, so if the doctor do what Steve is doing, he would lose his license. That's why all of Steve's clients has to put up with pain during the procedure, because a non-doctor administering anesthetics can be arrested for the unlicensed practice of medicine. This raises the question about the legality and safety of Haworth's body modification procedures. You see, surgical procedures needs to be done by a licensed professional (Haworth doesn't have any), but Steve explained, that what he is doing is a big difference between practising medicine and doing 3D body modification and he has all legally, ethically and constitutionally rights to do his work, although some people has issues with what Steve is doing (even the Asocciation of Professional Piercers).
I believe that most of ordinary viewers will seek for the answer in this film, like why people are doing such things? Well, if you wonder why, this documentary isn't the best source in this case, simply because it doesn't explore too much, why people are doing this, although you will hear some explanations why they get modified (usually it's 1 of 4 basic reasons). Instead of seeking answers to such questions, Larry Silverman shows us the process of Steve's work, his and his friends life, relationships. Some of these modified persons looks strange indeed, but the director shows us what's inside of these persons and even if they're totally different from the outside, viewers will find the similarities between themselves and the people in this documentary. One girl in this movie even says: "all my entire life I've always wanted to be a housewife, raise a family, cook and clean and take care of my husband", now how strange and different is that? After all, we're all people. The film also contains flesh-hook suspension chapter, where the viewers are introduced to the act of suspending a human body from hooks that have been put through body piercings. Have you ever been invited to the backyard barbecue party, where the main fun is human suspension? Well, here's you chance to see such party in this movie, alongside girls 18th birthday party, where the main present is to be suspended for the first time. Also there is some similar footage from the clubs. For example a tug o'war game, but with hooks! Can you imagine that? At the end of this movie, we will see what happened later (after 1 year at first and after 2 years later) to the Steve and his friends. Someone changed, someone break up, Steve introduced us to his kids and so on. Nothing extraordinary, just simple life.
The director Larry Silverman has made a very good job. He put a few years into this documentary and he touched various sides of body modification, alongside other subjects that do not apply to it. The documentary could do without a little tragic love story in my opinion, because it really drops out of context, but if it was added to please the ordinary audience, than it might be a good step.
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