a film by Christophe Honoré
2010 | 72 mins | France
›› Man at Bath - Homme au bain
a sexually explicit story of separation.
Man at Bath by Christophe Honoré In a feature that marks the polar opposite of his earlier work Close to Leo, here we find writer and director Christophe Honoré deliver a sexually explicit story of separation.

Charting the sexual times of gay couple Emmanuel and Omar, the film begins with filmmaker Omar, alongside actress Chiara Mastroianni playing herself, exiting stage left for a week of promo work in New York, leaving his "I want you gone when I get back" of a partner Emmanuel left to his own hustling ways in the Gennevilliers suburb of Paris. And with gay porn headliner François Sagat in the role, it's no surprise to learn that it isn't long before another man is eyeing up his manly and frequently naked physique, as the question of whether or not the two get back together come the close of play, remains buried below a seemingly never ending parade of man flesh.

Man at Bath by Christophe Honoré And that's the problem with Honoré's graphically intense work. For rather than go for character development, let alone narrative, Honoré instead has opted for shock value, with scenes of full frontal male nudity, masturbation and oral sex just the cinematic appetiser to elements of S&M and sexual assault. Unfortunately and like the in-shot of the book Franny and Zooey, this feature plays like two separate stories in one, with much of the New York footage, some culled from Honoré's promotional work with Mastroianni for their film Making Plans for Lena, superfluous to the proceedings.

Only here you cannot help but feel for Sagat. For as a porn star breaking into commercial acting, he is in dire need of a role in which he can get his acting credentials out, whilst keeping his clothes firmly on. Sadly for him, this improvised, increasingly bizarre, at times handheld camera experience is not it. That Honoré adds some nice touches illustrating Emmanuel's realisation of his love for Omar, is perhaps the sole redeeming feature in a film that would have worked better had Honoré concentrated on the Gennevilliers theatrical short aspect of the piece. As it stands however, this is strictly for fans of the toned body and muscular derriere of Monsieur Sagat. But of those, no doubt he has many.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - sexually explicit. 
Overall - file under ... 2+ star. 

›› Available to buy from Amazon.co.uk.
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue: 5.September.2011 / UK.
screened as part of the 25th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, 2011.
starring: François Sagat / Emmanuel, Chiara Mastroianni / the Actress, Omar Ben Sellem / Omar, Dustin
Segura-Suarez / Dustin, Rabah Zahi / Rabah, Kate Moran / Kate, Sébastien Pouderoux /
Kate's Fiancé, Sebastian D'Azeglio / Moustache Man and Dennis Cooper as Robin.
Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #425
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