US | 2014 | Directed by Andres Torres
Logline: An opportunist photographer approaches a lonely hotdog vendor to model, which in turn sparks the vendor’s own dangerous desire to find the perfect muse.
Albert (Jon Wachter) cooks sausages. He sells hotdogs from a street vendor in downtown New York. He alternates with a Japanese girl, Miyuki (Saoko Okano), who reprimands him for his unclean working ethic. Albert does the night shift, and then slinks off home to his tiny windowless cell of a room where he munches on slimey, cold hotdogs and fantasizes about Lexy (Adrienne Gori), who brings a ray of sunshine whenever she swings by the vendor.
Albert is the epitome of Loser. An uptown jerk harasses him for dropping a dog on the filthy floor, a camp photographer, Ivan Worthington (Theodore Bouloukos), intervenes and attempts to befriend Albert. But Albert is aloof, reluctant, throwing the photographer’s card in the bin. When a cool young photographer entices Lexy away, Albert decides to contact Ivan, maybe learn the seduction tricks of the photographer’s trade, and find his elusive muse.
There is no such thing as love and adventure, only trouble and desire.
It’s hard to tie this movie down. A curious and perverse creature that captures an intrinsically New York sensibility, but also harnesses an eccentric European vibe. It’s almost as if the movie is set in the early 80s, or even made in some other place and time. Hal Hartley meets Abel Ferrara and Tom DiCillo in an alleyway. Hal mugs for Tom, Abel mugs them both, beats on them, and they're minced up for the perfect Hell’s Kitchen burger.
Bag Boy Lover Boy, right down to its lurid, sarcastic title, is the most blackest of comedies, dripping with the grease of off-cut meat, the rank stench of body odour wafting through the air, the sweet scent of a model’s perfume, the reek of photographic chemicals, the dank smell of soiled money, the sickly steam rising through the subway grates from the city’s underbelly. This is a tale of one man’s descent into a delusional world of poor man’s power games.
Slickly shot with solid performances, Torres has a slyly hypnotic style. Jon Wachter is a director in his own right, and Bag Boy Lover Boy is his debut in front of the camera. He pretty owns the flick; a kind of inverted Travis Bickle, but props to Bouloukos for his bang-on unctuous, sleazoid, and to Gori, who makes her own acting debut and delivers the perfect counterpoint to Albert; the damaged bride and her unhinged paramour.
Bag Boy Lover Boy screened as part of Sydney’s 8th A Night of Horror International Film Festival.