TLA Releasing // 2011 // 40 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // April 9th, 2013
Just your regular working stiff!
Sagat is a French and German produced forty minute television documentary about porn idol Francois Sagat (L.A. Zombie). He's an unlikely sex symbol given that he has a tattoo covering his scalp, is hairy, and speaks French. For some elusive reason all of that together makes one hypermasculine package that has tongues wagging around the world. Sagat is hot! This feature explores his history and career so far, and none of it is shocking or revelatory. He started working at a shop in France that rented porn and sold sex toys, and then decided he wanted to be in the films they were peddling. He contacted a French company who gladly obliged his fantasy. He came to the United States, and at first Titan Media thought he was too odd looking to be their next big thing. But as soon as he hit the cover of a gay magazine, the porn giant signed Francois up to be one of their stars. The film consists mainly of talking heads including Sagat himself, porn impresario Chi Chi La Rue, and photographer Bruce La Bruce all waxing philosophical on what this man's career and image mean to the industry. In between their musings we are given explicit hardcore scenes from the star's filmography, which effectively serve as a greatest hits package. These are graphic, but I imagine anyone watching a documentary on a gay porn legend should expect intense visuals of men having sex. The audience may actually demand it in this case, given the subject material.
TLA Releasing is never one to shy away from a bit of skin and pornography. Not only do they include the uncensored cut here, but offer up eighty minutes of bonus features which add to the mix. The UK pressing edits/blurs the proceedings a bit, but this US release seems to leave it all intact, showing Sagat in all his glory. Naughty parts are clearly seen in a crisp transfer that renders enough detail for close inspection. Extras focus on additional footage of Francois; such as a look at his drawing, his costumes, him getting in the shower, film projections on his body, an interview called "24 stupid questions," some movies he made himself -- which are pretty artsy and naughty -- and finally a look at him working out in the gym. Most all of these supplements are extended bits from the documentary though. But since the feature clocks in at forty minutes they do add some value.
Francois Sagat comes off as someone who seems to enjoy his job. Yet throughout the film he wonders what he will do next, once this season of skin and sin is over. He seems conflicted on whether he has done a good or bad thing, and lets us know living his wildest dreams have not provided true happiness. There is a profound sadness in Sagat that gives him a bit of depth to go along with his manufactured image of gym bunny and sex addict. Chi Chi La Rue tells us from a pink toilet stall, "Porn is a moment," and advises young starlets it can all be quickly over. He warns to not rely on porn to provide anything other than a lark and extra spending money. Everyone in the film knows they are living in a fantasyland, and that society will judge them for the rest of their days. To film this documentary of Sagat at the height of his career may not be as interesting as the potential sequel which would be to visit him decades later to see whatever became of the hairy Frenchman with a crew cut tattooed on his scalp. But that retrospective glance would not be nearly as beautiful or sexy to watch, and this one is all about the constant eye candy for the queer audience who should lap up this frothy light mixture. He is the premiere performance porn artist, and perfect for this era where body and art can collide.
Guilty of celebrating a man who is an odd sex symbol, but one that seems to
have endured. Free to go naked into the world!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: TLA Releasing
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English, French)
Running Time: 40 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Interviews
* Short Films
* Performance Art