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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Gay > Body Without Soul (Documentary)

Body Without Soul (Documentary)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Film: B



The abuse and sexual exploitation of children worldwide is a serious crisis and the media in the United States keeps clinging onto the lie that everything is fine and even after the “mysterious death” of Jon Benet Ramsey, keep pushing a big lie about “family values” from the 1980s that is more and more a lie, especially after the events like the 2000 Election scandal and dark side of what really happened on 9/11/01.  It is with that in mind that 1994’s Body Without Soul seems quite ahead of its time, with its true stories about what essentially is child trafficking and sexual slavery.


In the Czech Republic, where the end of Communism mythically was supposed to imply a new freedom, young pre-teen boys become and continue to be big business.  This work points to the blaring truth as many of the victims, never having a chance at a better life, become part of a long line of victims for pimps and porno filmmakers doing child prostitution make much money on.  One predator who tapes the events claims he does not make much money and we learn about his other trade of surgery, the icy approach helps to deny what he is doing to endless young boys.  And to think, young girls suffering the same is not even addressed here, but that would take at least a whole separate film.


Director Wiktor Grodecki goes very far in interviewing all the kids who carry immeasurable pain and suffering from what they have gone through, and can only react by being hardened by the experiences.  The denial is also a necessity, but the rapes, beatings and contraction of diseases all the way to AIDS is the worst thing and it is an international phenomenon that is destroying the future of Prague and all the other countries it occurs in.  If course, there are sick people who will watch this in delight, pedophiles and other sick adults, who hate children and thrive on the suffering of the defenseless, but it is actually a vital document about what is really going on with these kids.  After all, the title DOES NOT say these children are soulless, but have had their souls gutted out by people being allowed to get away with what are some of the highest crimes against humanity possible.  They deserved better and this is sadly something that continues to go on, especially since the internet became so much more prominent since this film was made.


The full frame image was shot on film at 1.33 X 1 and is one of the last traditional such documentaries we will ever see.  By shooting on film and not tape, the plight of all these kids who have been slowly murdered by sexual abuse of their exploiters without having the power or judgment to make mature choices is all the more real.  Tape would likely make this look like bad reality TV and that is the very last thing we’d want to see.  Even the artifacts and occasions scratches emphasize this.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound is limited, despite being a Dolby Digital theatrical release.  Despite that, there are no Pro Logic surrounds and depth is limited to the situation of the on-camera interviews.  There are also no extras, but the 94 minutes is harrowing enough.


If you think this is only restricted to a foreign country, think again.  In the United States, 25% of the children live below the poverty line according to the government, which only breeds the same situation.  There is also an explicit link between this and slave labor sweatshops around the world that have been on a sharp increase since the 1980s.  Body Without Soul is an important documentary look at an ongoing disaster in Prague and all the other, many nation-states it mirrors.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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