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Body Without Soul (1996)

Telo bez duse (original title)
Documentary look at doomed male prostitutes in Prague, ages 15 to 18, who troll at the public swimming pool, the train station, a video arcade, and a disco. After the boys talk about how ... See full summary »

Director:

Wiktor Grodecki

Writer:

Wiktor Grodecki
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Cast

Credited cast:
Vaclav Cernogursky Vaclav Cernogursky ... Himself
David David ... Himself
Jarda Jarda ... Himself
Marek Marek ... Himself
Matthew Matthew ... Himself
Ota Ota ... Himself
Pavel Pavel ... Himself
Pavel Petroci Pavel Petroci ... Himself
Pavel Rousek Pavel Rousek ... Pavel Rousek / Hans Miller
Sawanah Sawanah ... Himself
Thomas Thomas ... Himself
Edit

Storyline

Documentary look at doomed male prostitutes in Prague, ages 15 to 18, who troll at the public swimming pool, the train station, a video arcade, and a disco. After the boys talk about how they got in the game, the camera follows them to the home of Pavel Rousek. Under the name Hans Miller, he makes gay porno videos, primarily for German distribution. Intercut with a movie shoot chez Rousek is an interview that follows him to his day job at a morgue, where he performs an autopsy as he talks about his work. The sex is without protection; the boys are without family. They talk about their bodies and souls, money, their sexual orientation, AIDS, their dreams, and death. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Czech Republic

Language:

Czech

Release Date:

9 November 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Body Without Soul See more »

Filming Locations:

Prague, Czech Republic

Company Credits

Production Co:

MiroFilm See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Alternate Versions

The 18-rated UK release of this film was cut by 1 minute and 40 seconds by the BBFC. See more »

Soundtracks

Requiem
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by The Prague Symphony Orchestra, conducted by dr. Václav Smetácek, and Prazsky Filharmonicky Sbor (as Prague Philharmonic Choir)
Czech radio
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Brutally Powerful Documentary: Wiktor Grodecki's Precursor to MANDRAGORA
21 September 2005 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

Wiktor Grodecki is a brave filmmaker, one who is unafraid to address a controversial subject, yet one who is able to make a powerful sociological statement by creating a metaphorical art film that demands respect.

Grodecki interviews young boys (ages 14 - 17) who are male hustlers in Prague: he wisely removes (for the most part) the interviewer questions allowing the individual boys to make spontaneous, searing comments. These young lads discuss why they became male prostitutes, how they deal with selling their bodies, where they find their business (the train station, the swimming pools, etc), how they feel about the johns and about their fellow hustlers, the manner in which they do business including the way in which the financial aspects come to play - all in a way that burns the faces of these young lads into our psyches.

About half way through this film Grodecki introduces Pavel Rousek, a man who by day is a pathologist performing autopsies in the Prague morgue and in his off hours (using the pseudonym Hans Miller) creates, casts and directs gay porno videos in his home. Rousek is shown at the autopsy table gowning, gloving, and grotesquely performing an autopsy on a real cadaver while discussing both professions. There are moments while he is gloving that he explains why he doesn't allow his boys to wear condoms (the buyers of his videos don't want to see condoms), and the contrast between his self protection vs the enforcement of prevention of sexual protection of his actors is devastating.

Rousek as Miller is then shown filming the boys in his home, explaining the details of achieving the visual effects of pornography: simultaneously we again hear the boys views of that aspect of their 'careers', creating a pitiful tension. There is almost no total nudity in this film and when it does occur the lighting is so dark as to obscure it - making the overall effect even more dense and effectively tense. Under all of this lurid talk Grodecki uses classical music - Albinoni, Mahler, Mozart - which again provides a contradiction that makes the topic digestible.

The final question Grodecki poses to his subjects involves the boys perception of 'soul' and while there is a variety of responses, the overall message is that these lads sell their bodies as a career, but the soul is 'what you think', something that cannot be taken from you. Several of these boys have screen presence and faces that, were they noticed by regular film makers, would probably give them legitimate careers. But the power of the film comes from the words of these boys, knowing completely their choice of life, and therein lies the sorrow.

This is a tough but very fine piece of film-making. Interestingly, Grodecki absorbed this material and used it to create his subsequent feature film MANDRAGORA (reviewed under that title). This film is the more powerful of the two. Not a movie for everyone, but certainly an important document about a way of life few know and fewer understand. Grady Harp


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