Paul's dad unexpectedly picked him up from work today. And then a hooker. After dropping them off at a seedy roadside motel, Paul's father handed him two hundred dollars and told him not to...
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Paul's dad unexpectedly picked him up from work today. And then a hooker. After dropping them off at a seedy roadside motel, Paul's father handed him two hundred dollars and told him not to come out until he's a man. These are just a few of the bizarre, sexually charged events that Paul recounts to Marco, a charming and seductive hustler he meets in a dicey bar on a hidden street underneath New York City's infamous Port Authority Bus Terminal, an area officially named but rarely referred to as "Area X". It is here in this dark and shady place that Paul must navigate his way through what he wants, what he needs, and the high cost attached to both. Written by
Populated by very down-to-Earth protagonists, Dennis Shinner's short film confirms the gap between the Lacanian 'real' and 'reality'. Or at least, provides the viewer with enough hints to make the distinction.
Paul is a community college kid that stops in low-end bar and meets Marcos, a dancer who also prostitutes himself. Dialogue, at first, is unidirectional as Marcos tries by all means to impress Paul with his scintillating wit and good sense of humor. Something, however, seems to keep Paul at edge while at the same time forces him to be hermetic.
As the night progresses, Paul will share a confidence with Marcos. A confidence that brings us to the reality, id est, the symbolic order sustained by fatherly law and heterosexual normativity. Paul narrates how his father takes him to a trailer park, picks up a whore, and drives to a cheap motel. He then proceeds to give his son two hundred dollars and tells him not to go out of the motel 'until he is a man'. Here, reality comes face to face with the real, id est, the rest that has been marked or dented by the symbolic order. The derelict prostitute, the miserable trailer park, the clandestine arrangements of the exploitative sexual industry, these are all aspects that surpass that which constitutes reality, but at the same time are far more powerful.
Nietzsche used to say "if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you". When Paul witnesses the real he can no longer feel comfortable with his father, with his family, with reality. That is why he leaves Pennsylvania and wounds up thousands of miles away. But what role does Marcos play in all this? Is he an agent of reality or simply a minion of the real?
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