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Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist

13 customer reviews

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Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist + The Pain Journal (Native Agents)
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Editorial Reviews

Subtitled "The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, supermasochist," this film by director Kirby Dick, starring Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose wona a special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, also a pricze at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Bob Flanagan, Sheree Rose, Kathe Burkhart, Kirby Dick, Rita Valencia
  • Directors: Kirby Dick
  • Producers: Sheree Rose, Kirby Dick, Dody Dorn
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: September 23, 2003
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AKY42
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,656 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Martin A Hogan HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 19, 2004
Format: DVD
It takes a certain kind of brave and twisted person to turn his life and body into an S & M performance piece. Bob Flanagan is both sick and brilliant. Flanagan survived cystic fibrosis until the age of forty-two - a very long time. He attributes this to constantly inflicting pain on himself relentlessly over the years. His dominatrix partner Sheree, helps him with is goals. The various scenes are sometimes spliced with dark humor and other times simply shown in their bleak gruesomeness. There is nothing that Bob and Sheree have not done to him to inflict pain in the most disgusting ways possible. It's an entirely different world and it takes a strong stomach to watch. Bob specializes in abusing his penis in ways unimaginable, including a scene with a hammer, a nail and a board - there is blood. The most amazing part of this documentary is when Bob and Sheree take this `performance art' to various museums in New York and Los Angeles. Bob allows himself to be raised by his feet, pierced, shackled and naked, high above the museum goers heads. It is disturbing. If you have an interest in the S & M/bondage world, you might find this interesting, but the scenes are so graphic and sometimes overwhelming in their intensity, it can be hard to stomach. This is a perplexing film.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Northern Girl on November 24, 2006
Format: DVD
This is far from a simple story.

I have a very small, miniscule glimpse of what it's like to live in pain on a daily basis. After watching this mans story I realize I have nothing to complain about and so much yet to experience and learn.

I will never want to participate in S&M sexual behavior. I'm just not programmed that way. I didn't, however shudder away from the sights on the screen while Sheree, Bob's lover and partner of 15 years, poked needles through the skin of his scrotum and while Bob hung by his ankles and choked on his disease. He had Cystic Fibrosis. The most difficult part of the documentary was watching him die. It is in your face death, and death of the worst kind. He drowned in his own phlegm and fluids.

But he lived so incredibly hard and his way, with what seemed like no apologies or regrets. This documentary shows a humor of the sickest and smartest kind.

I remember being a young girl, maybe 9 and watching a "Hallmark Movie of the Week". It was called Alex: The Life of a Child. I later found out it was actually based on a book written by her father, Frank Deford. I was so moved by this story and didn't understand at that age why someone as old as me had to die from having a cold. I didn't understand Cystic Fibrosis or what it actually did to the body, but I never forgot the movie or the disease and eventually read the book. When I read about SICK, the documentary, I had to get it. I'm morbid in my own way I suppose. I'm curious about things that a lot of people wouldn't dare read or watch or even talk about, so this was right up my alley. Had I known I was going to become so entranced by Bob I think I would have chosen not to watch. Only because you see this sick but Alive man die...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robin Simmons VINE VOICE on September 24, 2003
Format: DVD
SICK (Lions Gate) is a caustic, brilliant, funny, compassionate look at the life and death of comedian Bob Flanagan, who embraced S/M to manage the pain of cystic fibrosis. You will be shocked and amazed and moved to tears of laughter and sadness all at once. This edgy, arty, documentary record of a performance artist with something deeply meaningful to say about the ironic paradoxes of pain and pleasure, and the unexpected gift of life and certain death is not for everyone. So open your mind, see it, and be a better human.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Frank Henson on April 12, 2004
Format: DVD
First of all, this is a beautiful film in the way that Zwigoff's biopic Crumb is beautiful and sublime. Artists who live outloud like Bob Flanagan and Robert Crumb, who trample over boundaries, convention, and mores in their pursuit of personal and creative expression are to be understood and admired. This film is beautiful in how it behaves as art.
Yes, it's about a guy who hurts himself and lets others hurt him. Yes, it's got some harsh images and scenes in it and there are parts that will make you cringe, but to describe it as "beautiful" is not a run at irony. Calling it beautiful is the sum total of every aspect of "Sick" -- it's impact, his life, his images, and his intentions. With this film, Bob Flanagan achieved the holy grail of modern art: transforming a taboo act/attitude into a sublime and transcendant expression. Wow. An amazing feat, in life or death.
I hope this movie gets the attention it deserves, moreover, the attention that Bob Flanagan deserved. What a brave artist. I sure wish I'd paid more attention to him when I first heard of him and he was still present in the here and now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 25, 2008
Format: DVD
Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist (Kirby [director's name censored for Amazon consumption], 1997)

One of my least favorite movies of all time contains a line that I often quote: "there are some things the you see, and then you can't unsee them, you know?" (Joaquin Phoenix in 8MM.) Just going to show that even an awful film can have a moment of scripting genius. Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist, contains one of those things. Even if I never see it again, there's a particular scene in this film that will haunt me to my deathbed. It's not just the incredible act that's performed (and if you haven't seen the movie yet, when you stumble upon the scene in question, you will know it), but the way director Kirby [director's name censored for Amazon consumption] puts everything together: the film footage, the incredibly inappropriate music, the foreshadowing. (Flanagan mentions the scene in a few of his monologues earlier in the movie.) This is the third of Kirby [director's name censored for Amazon consumption]'s films I've seen, and the earliest of the three; I expected no less.

[director's name censored for Amazon consumption] here profiles Bob Flanagan, one of the longest-lived sufferers of cystic fibrosis. Flanagan handled his disease by controlling his body the only way he could: through masochism. We alternate scenes from various performance videos with interviews featuring, for the most part, Flanagan and his longtime partner/dominatrix, Sheree Rose. (About two thirds of the way through the film, a third major player enters the picture: Sarah Doucette, a Canadian sufferer of cystic fibrosis who meets Flanagan through the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
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