An experimental attempt to do justice to the possible thoughts of a gay pornography actor, who took his own life at the age of 25.
Between 1988 and 1990 Alan Lambert appears in a total of 18 productions as a porno star. After a break he makes his comeback with a new "improved" body in two further erotic films. In 1991 up-and-coming film maker William E. Jones discovers a publicity photo of Lambert and is instantly captivated. A year later Jones discovers the actor's obituary and decides to make a film about the star.
But Jones' research turns up other motives, which have more to do with a social critic's declaration of bankruptcy on this world and reincarnation, than superficial concerns of beauty. The young film maker admits to not crediting a porno model with such complex thoughts, and it now becomes obvious that Lambert's personality overwhelms him. In contrast, the porno star saw prostitution as a necessary evil to keep his head above water and finally achieve political aims. Away from the camera, he published a communist manifesto, wrote letters which said much, some in French. Finally, life in this world became too much for the man described as manic-depressive.
Alan Lambert was sure that he would become the subject of a film. However, even his friends were surprised that this should happen so soon after his suicide. But they had expected something more, something grander than a 78-minute experimental film. When, is his executors and friends' views, it became apparent that Jones had difficulties with Lambert's feeling for life, they were no longer available for the project, e.g. for interviews.
Anyone who has the chance to see Finished should be prepared not just to consume, but also to read between and behind the lines. It is, in any case, probably not possible to just consume this experiment, with its often-repeated images and insights, the sensational need for explicit porno scenes being frustrated. At most, we can witness Lambert's immortalised scenes in grainy grey - see photo. Otherwise the 20 erotic videos are described, off-screen, while the images are composed mostly of skies and waves, as well as deserted streets of San Fernando Valley, the North American porno industry, and Montreal, where Lambert ended his life. In any case, the film maker admits he is not the kind of guy who can put copulating men onto film. This may sound odd for the biographer of a (gay) pornography actor: perhaps he cherishes his subject too much to want to expose it. Although the pornos are the most obvious of Alan Lambert's legacies, one has to see that they only make up a small part of his personality. Pity the rest doesn't seem to come across to well either.
ki, Park City – Berlin
Seen during the:
Sundance Film Festival 1997
Also shown during the:
26th International Film Festival Rotterdam
Similarities to Valerie Solanas, subject of I Shot Andy Warhol.
copyright: Queer View, September 11, 1997