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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Gay > Not Angels But Angels

Not Angels But Angels (Documentary)


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



Issued the same year as his documentary Body Without Soul (1994, reviewed elsewhere on this site), Not Angels But Angels is Wiktor Grodecki’s even more graphic depiction of how young underage boys are being exploited in Prague, so much so that certain shots of child pornography had to be digitally blocked up for this release.  Needless to say, that totally runs the risk of the film celebrating what it is condemning, but the interviews with the victims still living a life they did not choose offsets that problem.  The pictures are further evidence they are not lying, so it can also be seen as a very necessary evil.


Certainly, some viewers are watching the film for the wrong reasons, but as long as it remains a problem people let happen over and over again, such films cannot be written off so easily.  That one of the boys is from the United States and stays in Prague to be victimized is a great way of saying this happens everywhere, and with so many children living in poverty in the U.S., definitely here.  When AIDS comes up towards the end of the 80 minutes running time, I just knew those “certain viewers” viewing this for the wrong reasons could have cared less, but it is in reality is a new crisis being caused in part by the crisis that is the subject of the film at hand.  Some of the “pimps” are also interviewed, but none arrested.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image is in color and shows its age a bit, but is good for a DVD issued in 2000.  The analog video master image still has good color, shot well by cinematographer Vladimir Holomek.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has very limited surrounds and was a Dolby A-type theatrical sound release.  Surrounds may have been a diminished by the soundtrack being a few generations down, so this should not be taken as representative of how the film first sounded.  Classical music is used often again, which some could say is as if it were enhancing the exploitation and nudity of the boys as “art” or the like.  If anything, it brings home how this sickness is being covered up, but this is a worth point of controversial note.  The only extras are two trailers for other Water Bearer titles before the film as if this were on a linear VHS tape.  Not Angels But Angels is even graphic and disturbing for the visual censorship, but is not heavy-handed and an important record of an unspeakable exploitation that needs to be dealt with far better than it is years after this release.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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