Homme au bain | Man at Bath [2010]

Homme au bain - Dennis Cooper - François Sagat3/10 | 27.Dec.12
Homme au bain | Man at Bath

DIRECTOR: Christophe Honoré | WRITER: Christophe Honoré | CAST: François Sagat, Omar Ben Sellem, Dustin Segura-Suarez, Chiara Mastroianni, Rabah Zahi, Kate Moran, Dennis Cooper | France

I think my mostly negative reaction to Christophe Honoré’s Homme au bain is based on the fact that I find the lead actor, François Sagat, physically repellent. Homme au bain - François Sagat-2This speaks either to my shallowness or to the film’s, since the film is almost predicated on the assumption that Sagat — apparently a wildly popular performer in gay porn — is some kind of irresistible sex god. What I see instead is a short, squat man with stubby legs whose muscles have been inflated to Michelin Man proportions; he also sports a bizarrely tattooed scalp and grimaces a lot. The more his nude body was put on display — and it was on display seemingly all the time — the less willing I was to engage with the film. Not that I think there’s a whole lot to the film when you get down to it anyway.

Sagat plays Emmanuel, a Parisian with no obvious means of support — he appears to be a casual prostitute, is possibly a painter, has friends in the theater — whose boyfriend Omar, a filmmaker of some sort, tells him at the beginning of the movie that he wants Emmanuel out of the apartment by the time he returns from a quick trip to New York with an actress friend of his. The rest of the film follows Emmanuel in Paris as he attempts to earn a little money from a regular john, has a threeway with two guys in his apartment building, picks up a trick for mildly kinky sex, gets involved in an odd almost-threeway with a friend of his and her boyfriend, picks up and has sex with the guy his john has recently been sleeping with, all intercut with the handheld video shot by Omar in New York as he accompanies his friend to the lecture/screening of her movie where he picks up a scruffy young artsy type who’s in town from Montreal and with whom he spends the next couple of days. Not a whole lot happens. Over and over and over.

I was mildly diverted by Dennis Cooper as the john, an American expat art collector named Robin who rather insultingly turns down the chance to pay for sex with Emmanuel. Robin compares Emmanuel unfavorably to the art he also buys for pleasure, dismissing him as artificial and kitsch but offering to pay him to beat the shit out of a sweet, innocent young man he (Robin) has recently taken up with; Homme au bain - Dustin Segura-Suarez-3this is supposed to be jaded transgressiveness or something, I suppose, to go along with the hazy Nietzschean claptrap Robin spouts. If I’m going to be honest, however, the only real reason I watched Homme au bain to the end was because I thought the actor who played Omar’s New York trick, Dustin Segura-Suarez, was really hot and I kept hoping he’d be given yet more nude scenes. See? I am shallow after all. But here’s a link to a blog post that attempts to take the movie seriously; tellingly, the guy who wrote it does think that François Sagat is a sex god.

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14 comments

  1. iain h · · Reply

    “I find the lead actor, François Sagat, physically repellent. This speaks either to my shallowness or to the film’s, ”
    Yours.
    Undoubtedly.

    1. He’s got his fans, as the hundreds of hits this review consistently gets bears out. I’m just not one of them.

  2. Great, funny review. Porn stars as artists is a very hot “meme” right now, my feed tells me.

    I think Sagat has a hot bod, but he has a negative screen presence, not in porn, not on film, not anywhere. Maybe that’s why Bruce LaBruce cast him in that zombie flick of his? I dunno.

    Thanks for the follow and the likes. Will add you to my blogroll.

    1. I just discovered your blog late last night and thought, damn! here’s someone to follow! And I knew I’d come across Sagat’s name relatively recently in relation to another non-porn film but I couldn’t remember what and, quite frankly, wasn’t interested enough in the answer to look it up. Yes, L.A. Zombie. Anyway, thanks for the compliment and you should be happy to know that the little I’ve read of your blog so far has given me the kick in the pants I’ve needed to start back on my regular movie watching and semi-regular blogging.

      1. That’s great! Perhaps we could cross-post and/or collaborate.

        1. Now there’s an idea! I’ve been hesitant to do much more than occasionally point to someone else’s review or thoughts on a particular movie or movie-related topic, mostly because I’ve felt that someone else either has already written what I would have tried to write or else has a completely different and more favorable take on the movie than I do and that maybe I’m wrong and he’s right. I did the latter with this film. Let’s talk, OK? I’ve got about 100 movies sitting here waiting for me to watch them and about 50 or so that I’ve already seen but haven’t really reviewed here on my blog.

          1. Heh, I don’t have quite so many but I do watch a lot more movies than I read. I’ve been wanting to write about Pianese Nunzio and Julen Hernandez’s Raging Sun, Raging Sky. Those are en la parrilla. Do you have any ideas for colloboration?

            1. Actually no, I don’t have any ideas for collaboration. It’s not something that comes naturally to me anyway so I never seek out opportunities — I don’t even know what to collaborate on or how, but I’m absolutely open to anything. I haven’t seen either of the movies you mention, and in fact have only heard of the second. If nothing else I’ll try to track them down and watch them soon, whatever “soon” might mean. Next few months, I guess, unless they’re “drop everything and watch this now” films. Are they?

              1. Drop everything!!! Well, I really like Raging Sun, Raging Sky because it harks back to the early mythopoeic days of experimental films by Kenneth Anger (and Maya Daren) and it’s three hours long, which takes some balls and discipline. I dunno. I would love to have a clearer copy of Pianese Nunzio, which is called Sacred Silence in English, and with better subtitles, but it’s probably more of a personal obsession for me.

                If the preceding is any guide at all…

                1. OK, I’ll try to track them down in the next day or two. I’m pretty sure I can if I set my mind to it and since I’m unemployed and apparently unemployable in this hellhole I’ve washed up in I’ve got nothing but time. By the way, is there a direct email for you that I can write to instead of here in comments to this movie? Friend me on Facebook and I’ll give you my direct email.

                  1. Hey, yah, if you found Sacred Silence and ripped a nice copy I would be very grateful. As for Facebook, I only use it from friends and family in meatspace. But my email is mettray at gee mail dot com.

                    1. Ah, thanks. I haven’t looked for Sacred Silence yet, but when I do I’ll rip you a copy for sure. My email, should you want it, is adolfsen55 at gee mail dot com. The subhead for this blog — Film Journal of an Exile in the Middle of Nowhere — is actually not that far from being the case. I could add Penniless in front of Exile and not be exaggerating in the slightest. I certainly never envisioned myself in my current situation 10 years ago.

  3. Sorry to hear about the Penniless part. I’ve had my own share of poverty problems the last two years, as I’ve been fighting cancer and joblessness, at once. Fundraising certainly helped.

    1. Thanks. And I feel presumptuous complaining about my own situation since I don’t have a health issue to battle at the same time. But it certainly ain’t easy.

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