“Men for Sale”
Hustlers in Montreal
Jean Rodrique gives us a new powerful documentary with “Men for Sale” (Breaking Glass Pictures). For over a year he met with hustlers in Montreal and listened to what they had to say and in turn he made this film which is an honest account of the social reality of those who get paid for providing sex.
Montreal is home to Action Sero Zero, a community organization that provides free healthcare and HIV prevention services. This is how Rodrique gained access to the young male hustlers. Most of these men come from troubled backgrounds and they are part of Canadian “lost youth”. They are trying to survive and this attempt has been chaotic for many. They are harassed and set apart from the society that uses their services and their bodies and they find that the money they make is easy. Many have resorted to the use of drugs so that the pain of their lives is dulled. Some try to be part of society and to relive the childhood they never had by bonding with others but they do not have much success finding love. They are very aware that their futures look very dim and limited. This is not a pretty movie and, at times, it is difficult to watch. Only one of them refuses to show his face in the film but what he has to say more than makes up for what we do not see.
An interesting aspect is that we see the role of the world and we understand that we live in one that is controlled by materialism and consumption. We see how capitalism is predatory and it feeds off of the suffering (both physical and emotional) of those who are outcasts. Therefore the film becomes a somewhat subversive counter-current to attitudes prevalent in today’s society.
The truth of what is said here shows the complexity of the lives of the men who appear here. Eleven sex workers are interviewed and the common stereotypes are not here. You are not likely to forget what you see here and how you feel for people who work in this profession may change. This is obviously a labor of love for Rodrique and we are so lucky that he shares it with us.