Who's Renting These Boys? Wiktor Grodecki's Czech Hustler Documentaries
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As controls on sex, sexuality, and capitalism relaxed in the former Warsaw Pact countries after 1989, pornography and prostitution flourished. The main center of both industries in the 90s in Centra land Eastern Europe was Prague, which also became the favored destination of Westerners eager to explore the "new Paris."Gay porn and male prostitutes were among Prague's attractions. As the Westernmost outpost of the Slavic world, Prague had always had a special place in the Orientalist construct of Eastern Europe. West of Berlin and Vienna, Prague was nevertheless perceived as the East by its German-speaking neighbors. As I have shown elsewhere, conservatives in Eastern Europe regularly conflated sexual dissidence with political dissidence. Valentin Rasputin, for example, said of homosexuality, "That kind of contact between men is a foreign import. If they feel their rights are infringed they can always go and live in another country." A similar reaction to gay pornography and prostitution in Prague can be found in the films of Wiktor Grodecki. Wiktor Grodecki is a Pole who studied film in the US, then returned to Poland in 1992. His three films about Czech rent boys, Not Angels,but Angels (Andělé nejsou andělé 1994), Bodywithout Soul (Tělo bez duše1996), and Mandragora (1997) purport to be objective, honest documentaries in which (in the language of the video box) the boys'' "frankness and need to talk become the engine that drivesthe film." In reality, Grodecki's films are both highly manipulated and highly manipulative in ways that serve to enforce "normal" sexuality while demonizing various "abnormal" sexual practices. At the same time they portray these practices as an import from the colonizing capitalist West.
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