Markku Heikkinen’s behind-the-scenes look at the comings and goings of Czech male porn stars uncovers much more than fresh faces and Viagra-fuelled dependability.
Thanks to the improvements to video capabilities on the Internet, the financial return to leading smut producers is diminishing as surely as homemade scenes are uploaded and viewed by a global audience.
Filmmaker Dan Komar had a good run at creating stills and videos for lonely/horny men wherever his products could be sold—ever-increasing since the fall of repressive regimes, vastly improved communication devices and instantaneous, multi-country publishing made getting these x-rated images to market faster than a returned glace that says, “How about you?”
More than just auditioning, shooting and occasionally bedding his actors, Komar set up house for the exclusive elite. What fun to live under the same roof with 18-25-year-olds, challenging each other over video games between stripping down for every sexual fantasy imaginable.
Former ward-of-the-state Ruda (a.k.a. Aaron Hawke in homage to his slight resemblance to Ethan Hawke) was plucked off the streets of Prague and immediately put to work in Komar’s film factory. He starred in a slew of productions and began dating the writer/director/producer who unapologetically describes the output as (“… [just] entertainment. Everybody has a different way of looking at it.”). With so much competition in bed and on the set, it’s a wonder they lasted three years until Komar’s half-century-old body began sampling the personal wares of newer, fresher physiques.
One of the film’s saddest revelations is the engaging visage of Ruda (“I want to be just a star, not a gay star”). Its angelic sheen is lost even as his humping-for-profit career ends, forcing him—full circle—back into the ranks of the Czech Republic capital’s homeless.
New-recruit Josef is from the country. But like so many of his colleagues, the allure of a big city and more cash than imagined in his wildest dreams seems well worth the indignity of sexual encounters with other young men. Many of the troupe can only, er, complete their money shots by viewing equally adventuresome women (frequently on a nearby monitor, stoking their own heat while “acting” with another man) in order to deliver fully-formed and functioning equipment on demand. Accordingly, the end result ought to better be described as male instead of gay porn. It’s the flip side of closeted Hollywood men pretending to be the essence of heterosexuality every time “action” was called during their love scenes.
In a different sort of “don’t ask don’t tell” veil of willful blindness, Josef’s mom admits “I’m not happy about it, but we forgive our children everything” when Heikkinen’s questions delve into her son’s vocation. Later on, Lenka—Josef’s girlfriend—seems relieved he’s no longer in the business, but—when pressed—allows that she might want to watch if her lover’s ever called back to his former day-job for a cameo appearance (“It’s just work, normal work,” he says sheepishly).
Komar’s colleague, Alan Pelikan, chillingly makes no bones about demanding his actors go at each other with full penetration, bareback style. With the attitude “If we don’t fill this demand [unprotected sex] others will,” one wonders how many “stars” were sent to early graves in order to bring brief life to the willies of their anonymous fans.
Fortunately, the above-mentioned advances in technology have put Komar out of business. He’s still alone, seemingly resigned to living a loveless life; having given so much pleasure—however temporary—to others pays no personal dividends.
And so these pretty boys either drift into prostitution, or reinvent themselves. One of those success stories is Filip, who has found himself in music (his rap-infused track enlivens the credits), realizing that the typical two-year window of having sex-for-pay does not make a life appear to be anything other than a false front—gay or straight. JWR