Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hurts so good

Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist is about a performance artist (Bob Flanagan, unsurprisingly) with cystic fibrosis. About being a Supermasochist, he is not fucking around. He nails his cock to pieces of wood, amongst other things. With nails. Yow.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that, most notably, clogs the lungs with huge amounts of mucus, making infections extremely common, and breathing exceedingly difficult. It is very painful, and sufferers often don't survive past their teens.

This plays hugely into Flanagan's 'super-masochism'. He uses sexual masochism as a way to exert some control over his pain. This is pain he can anticipate - and stop - when he chooses. It also has the added benefit of totally turning him on, which we can all agree feels mostly great.

Assisting him in this is Sheree Rose, his long-time partner and dominatrix. These two love each other so much it makes my insides ache (in a good way). She delights in inflicting pain as much as he loves enduring it - and oh my goodness does she inflict it. Toward the end, though, when Flanagan is in the hospital for the last time, there is a scene of such tenderness between them that it makes The Notebook look like Fatal Attraction.

This film is many things, but I see it as a beautiful and unconventional love story. These are people who are able to use their sexuality to provide themselves great comfort, relief, and joy, which I think is the very definition of healthy sexuality. I strive to be as open as these people, even if it doesn't involve hammers and nails. Yow, for serious.

It is not for the squeamish, but it's fantastic. It's a look into a world a lot of us don't ever really see (mainstream fetish porn does not count). Break out the Kleenex, too...I hadn't cried at a movie like this since one night in college when I watched When Harry Met Sally by myself under the influence of a bottle of wine after being broken up with. This is not something I recommend under any circumstances.

This movie is, though. It's available on Netflix - Watch Instantly, even, if you're hip to the way.

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