Traumatized by his mother's death and struggling to make ends meet, illegal immigrant Aleksandr Ivanov turns to escorting and soon finds himself sinking into the dark world of New York City's sex trade -- and pushed to the edge of sanity.
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The film follows a young man who is drawn into the dark, sexual underbelly of New York City's gay club scene. Aleksandr (Masó) is a young Russian immigrant alone after the tragic death of his mother. He turns to drugs and renting his body to wealthy men to deal with his loss. Aleksandr finds himself torn apart with a new personality making its way to the surface. Written by
Breaking Glass Pictures
Before watching this film, "Aleksandr's Price," I was expecting a typical gay themed film with a lot of exploitative sex and nudity, and little else. This is nothing of the kind. Instead we have a brilliant character study, of a Russian immigrant being slowly destroyed by the harsh NYC hustling scene. Having seen many films on the subject of prostitution, i cannot remember any other film that so accurately documents what this lifestyle does to the human soul and sense of self-worth. Aleksandr is a young, and very naive Russian immigrant, who finds himself alone in a big, harsh city, after his mother commits suicide. Aleksandr is an illegal alien, unable to secure a legal means of income. It doesn't help that he has no friends to guide him or help him out. Being very good looking, he soon finds himself in a job as a go-go dancer in an NYC gay bar. When a man takes him home for a night of sex, Aleksandr is both surprised and disgusted when the man hands him an envelope with $500 inside, and promptly kicks him out. This is where the fascinating psychological study comes into play. After being abandoned by his father, and then told by his mother that he is worthless garbage who ruined her life, Aleksandr is desperate for someone..anyone to care about him, or to recognize some worth in him. Sadly, the kind of love or friendship that he searches for is not to be found in the world of prostitution. For Aleksandr meets an unending stream of the most vile, jaded men you can imagine. And with each humiliation, his sanity slips away, along with his sense of self, until he no longer believes that he is worthy of anybody or anything. After a while, he becomes addicted to the sex, and the rejection, until he comes to the point where he becomes sexually aroused by the abuse, and by the idea that he somehow deserves this vile treatment.
This pattern is so accurate; prostitution often leads to self loathing, and self annihilation. The tag line for this film is "Love isn't free," but the truth is, money isn't free either. It comes at a very steep price. I was really amazed that this film touched on all these facts, and it did it without being the least bit exploitative; the sex scenes, of which there are many, are filmed in a way in which the viewer doesn't see anything 'sexy.' Rather than showing naked bodies, the camera focuses on facial expressions, and the least erotic elements of sex. It focuses on the pain and sadness of the act, the psychological aspects of sex for cash. I'm not quite sure who the intended audience for this film is; I can't imagine many gay men liking this film, as there is such a lack of eroticism. not to mention the way the gay scene is portrayed here is very negative; every gay character is the most vile, reprehensible pig imaginable. In fact the gay scene is shown as downright evil. I don't know what to make of that. But at last here is a film with gay themes (it is not really a "gay" film, and Aleksandr's own sexual orientation isn't ever clearly defined) that can be watched by straight guys; the kind of sex in this film is not the kind that would make a straight guy uncomfortable to watch. "Aleksandr's Price" is a low budget film that is every bit as good as "Shame," starring Michael Fassbender, another film that deals with similar issues. I recommend this film highly, for viewers that can deal with dark subject matter; and this one is very dark, and totally devoid of humour or hope. But it's the most "real" film I have seen on the subject of prostitution.
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