Buck Naked: Body AND Soul
So, you wanna be an adult film star? Well, the first requirement is... you gotta get naked! That means naked for the world to see at the press of a "play" button or the click of a mouse. But no matter how much of their anatomy a man or woman in "the business" shows on the screen, it's still only skin deep. We may never know the "true" person staring back at them from a computer screen or behind the glossy DVD cover. Buck Angel, the subject of Dan Hunt's bold new documentary "Mr. Angel", gained fame, notoriety, and a good helping of controversy as a renegade adult film star and producer. With his shaved head, muscular body, tattoos, and rugged demeanor, Mr. Angel has indeed provoked many carnal desires. But what makes Buck different from other male porn actors is that he was born female, and still has a vagina. "Mr. Angel" tells Buck's saga, and it's an understatement to say this is a truly one-of-a-kind and amazing life story. It goes without say that Buck hasn't been shy about baring his body, but in this intimate documentary, he truly bares his soul for the world to see.
Filmed over six years, Hunt's film chronicles the story of a spunky, strong-willed tomboy from California who would morph into porn's most well-known female-to-male transsexual-- the star of such films as "Even More Bang For Your Buck" and "Buckback Mountain". With amazing candor, the 41-year old Award-winning triple X star speaks about what seems to have been the two major challenges in his multi-faceted life: (1) coming to terms with being a male trapped in a female's body, and then (2) dealing with the double-edged sword of notoriety from being branded porn's "Man With the Pussy". Director Hunt had at least part of his hard work cut out for him, because it seems Buck was a very efficient archivist of his own life. The audience sees dozens of photos and videos (some quite eye-popping) of Buck through his turbulent years: as a child, as a striking female model, and in various stages of his transition. For a performer who appears so empowering and commanding in his films, he shows his vulnerable side in "Mr. Angel" many times, speaking with great openness and emotion about his rebellious childhood, addiction, homelessness, and struggles for acceptance by his family. On the subject of family, there are also equally candid interviews with Buck's mother, father, and sister-- all of whom he is now on good terms with. We also meet his wife Elayne Angel, an equally colorful artist who wrote the book on body piercing-- literally. It's fascinating stuff, although some viewers will no doubt be challenged with just HOW much Buck is willing to share. (For examples, the camera follows us into Buck's visits with his doctor after a health scare, and the viewer also gets to see vintage footage of the preparation for Mr. Angel's "top surgery".) Some will find it fascinating (as well as a superb education about sexual identity and transgenderism), but others may find it "too close for comfort". Buck also speaks about the ongoing challenges he faces with the seemingly "anything goes" world of adult film: Many people-- even his fellow porn kin-- still define him first and foremost as a "sexual oddity", to paraphrase the Tyra Banks TV show which Buck had once appeared on. As a result, despite his impressive cult popularity, he has had a difficult time finding distribution for his movies in the United States.
"Mr. Angel" packs a lot of titillation and awe into its running time. Buck Angel fans will be no doubt be delighted. Yet even potential viewers who have never and may never plan to see one of Buck Angel's X-rated videos will likely relate to "Mr. Angel" for its emotion and humanity alongside the aforementioned titillation and awe. This is the intimate story of a man who did it HIS way, simply because there was no other way to do it. It's truly "Buck naked"-- body AND soul.
"Mr. Angel" is now available on DVD. Visit www.BreakingGlassPictures.com for more info.
Read a vintage interview with Buck Angel here.
Read a vintage interview with Elayne Angel here.