Greek Pete (2009)

Greek Pete is the bizarre, semi-documentary, arguably-pornographic, story of a young British man who aspires to be the best male escort he can be.

We follow Pete around for the course of a year, from intimate interviews to him meeting with his clients to celebrating the holidays with his “family” of other male escorts. Compared to Pete, they seem like a truly sorry lot – casually discussing prostituting themselves out as young teenagers, facing physical abuse – while Pete went into the business, on his own accord, for the money and to be the best at something. (When speaking to a client about his aspiration to be the best male escort, he even measures himself up in relative terms – “do you think you’re the best accountant?”)

The unfamiliar, often uncomfortable, discourse in which this film operates makes Greek Pete all the more fascinating. The star, Peter Pittaros, is a “real” escort and everything about the film seems wholly convincing (at least to an outsider), making it unclear where the documentary ends and the fantasy begins.

Is it when he’s laughing about past clients with some models, before they engage in a threesome as a fat cameraman videotapes from inches away? Or when his de facto boyfriend Cai (also a call boy) watches bitterly as he serves a client?

The sad emptiness of this world hits hardest at the end. Pete’s dream has come true, having earned the award of Male Escort of the Year in Los Angeles. He returns to London, to Cai sleeping in bed, oblivious to Pete’s return. Pete scrolls through his phone and updates them on his new recognition, encouraging his friends to look it up online, says goodbye, then repeats.

It almost doesn’t matter whether the world Andrew Haigh creates (or merely visits) is real or not – the bizarre universe of these young men is nonetheless powerful for its graphic, yet refreshingly unapologetic, portrayal of the lonely life of an escort.

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