Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist
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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...Read more ›
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.
this film is EXTREMELY graphic... although masochism is not my bailiwick and it was difficult to watch... that being said... it is important for true understanding and authenticity... i think even the best imaginations would not be able to really perceive the nature of the choices he makes and why... it's too easy to dismiss this work as autobiographical fetish porn... there is true courage in this story and it is inspirational ... it has to be to people who are not enduring emotional or physical pain to this magnitude and perhaps even more to those who are ...
it is an extremely complete autobiography, his family is interviewed, his performance art is included, slice of life footage, direct to camera conversation, his girlfriend who is a coproducer of the film and she is prominently featured as an indivdual and as she is intergrated into his life... and his death with its aftermath are also included
intellectually speaking this film offers a vast repetoire for exploration and reflection ... i strongly recommend this film with the hope that the viewer will be able to surpress the tendency to view the subject as the masochism instead of the man
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It gets me through my own anger, frustration, and despair while dealing with chronic illness & pain. Read morePublished 16 days ago by shilo van tatenhove
Beautiful, just beautiful, such a stark and intimate portrait of this artist I just am amazed and touched. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Caitlin Woods
As a student, I have been reading topics on psychology and Neuroscience and in Norman Doidge's book, The Brain That Changes Itself, he offers an interesting scientific... Read morePublished on April 26, 2014 by Veronica Vera Chavez
I bought this movie years ago after seeing this guy in the NIN video. It's easy to place judgement on what you see here because of the cover. Read morePublished on April 30, 2011 by Getting The Good Stuff
There's some disturbing images in this film depending on where you're coming from, but an interesting and poignant film, nonetheless.Published on April 4, 2010 by flandog
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... Read more
Man, this movie makes for some truly harsh watching, yet Flanagan is a stunningly fascinating man. It's just hard to believe this is the same man shown in the clip of "The Steve... Read morePublished on January 23, 2006 by Danna F. Copeland