Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
Original title: Poikien bisnes
The popularity of handsome young Czech men made for big profits in the gay porn industry at the beginning of the millennium, providing westerners with the thrilling fantasy of peeking behind the iron curtain, while giving these boys in newly democratic eastern European countries that are having difficulty catching up with western capitalism the opportunity to make some cash. This short but poignant documentary focuses mainly on producer Dan Komar, a Florida native who has set up shop in Prague and churns out countless films starring countless young men, one of them a model who goes by “Aaron Hawke” and with whom he has a personal relationship after taking him in off the streets and grooming him for stardom.
When the internet takes over the porn market and people stop buying DVDs because they’re getting so much for free online, Komar drops the venture and heads back to America, leaving the business and Hawke behind, claiming to have given up on trying to keep him away from his self-destructive habits (and the result is pretty heartbreaking). It’s up to the audience to glean for itself whether or not Komar was exploiting these young men, and, specifically, whether or not his relationship with Hawke is the result of the young man’s bad choices or the producer’s Svengali-like manipulation. On the one hand, it’s disturbing that he points out how little use he has for his stars after their ideal 18-20 age bracket has ended, but on the other hand, a lot of them do spend the money they make going gay for pay on drugs and partying; either way, the glimpse at the mundane realities behind entertainment meant to be dangerous and exciting is eye-opening and sobering.