By Jeff Walsh
In "Boys Briefs 4: Six Short Films About Guys Who Hustle," the question that never gets answered for me is why this has become such a pervasive image of gay culture. For a while, it seemed impossible to go to a gay film festival without at least half of the stories being about gay hustlers. And, most of the time, they don't have all that much to say.
This DVD is certainly the rule, and not the exception, as far as that stuff goes. Here we have six films and, aside from one, they are all about hustlers who don't really like their situation.
I can't really recommend this collection, because it's all so self-hating and negative overall. The positive moments are too few and far between. In this one, our host pretends to be a hustler, but it's more of the same stereotypical street hustler talk that is pretty familiar at this point.
In any event you want to rent this anyway, here's some of what you're in for:
Into the Night: A young hustler works the streets, hooks up with an older man, and their brief encounter shows us the reason behind both of them needing the other in that moment.
Boy: An arty entry that eschews dialogue for flickering on-screen text in a jumbled story of hit-and-runs, dolls, cottaging, and rape.
Gigolo: An inner monologue-heavy tale of a self-hating French gigolo.
Build: He spends his days pretending he's still studying to be an architect, and his nights on the street; his mother drinks all day; and the other hustler he met on the street needs a place to crash. A three-way character study that is less than the sum of its parts.
Rock Bottom: A welcome change-of-pace for this DVD, as we finally get a hustler who doesn't seem to hate himself, loathe his clients, or any of the usual clichés. He picks up an older, overweight man, and they find levels of trust, tenderness, and even find themselves in the midst of a playful game neither expected before morning.
Gold: An old, blind painter, who used to be a hustler way back when, hires a hustler and has him running errands and is teaching him to paint. He is trying to teach him that there is life after hustling, but is the message getting through?