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Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist (1997)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 7 November 1997 (USA)
Documentary about writer and performance artist Bob Flanagan who died at 43 of cystic fibrosis. His life was indicated by pain from the beginning and he started to develop sadomasochistic ... See full summary »

Director:

Kirby Dick
3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Kathe Burkhart Kathe Burkhart ... Interviewer
Kirby Dick ... Interviewer
Bob Flanagan Bob Flanagan ... Himself
Sheree Rose Sheree Rose ... Herself
Rita Valencia Rita Valencia ... Interviewer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sarah Doucette Sarah Doucette ... Herself
Richard Kopelle Richard Kopelle ... Himself
Edit

Storyline

Documentary about writer and performance artist Bob Flanagan who died at 43 of cystic fibrosis. His life was indicated by pain from the beginning and he started to develop sadomasochistic practices, which he developed finally into performances. Written by Soeren Ney <SoerenNey@AOL.COM>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sick See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$86,917, 23 November 1997

Gross USA:

$116,806
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot over a period of two years and compiled from over 100 hours of footage. See more »

Quotes

Bob Flanagan: I want a wealthy collector to finance an installation in which a video camera will be placed in the coffin with my body, connected to a screen on the wall, and whenever he wants to, the patron can see how I'm coming along.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 2001 UK release was cut by over three minutes. The cuts required were to two scenes showing strong sado-masochistic activity (asphyxiation, the piercing of the skin of the penis, the insertion of a large metal ball into the rectum, the hammering of a nail through the tip of the penis) which would be highly dangerous if copied and which are likely to encourage imitation in viewers with an existing interest in sado-masochistic activity. The cuts were made in accordance with the terms of the Video Recordings Act 1984 which requires the Board to have special regard to harm which may be caused to viewers or to society through the actions of viewers. In 2009 all the cuts were waived and it was passed with an uncut '18' certificate. See more »

Connections

References The Terminator (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

 
No pain, no gain
12 February 2003 | by LucyFurrSee all my reviews

One of the most disturbing, disgusting, funny, touching, and beautiful films ever made. It's hard to find the words to properly describe this bio-pic of Bob Flanagan (one of the longest survivors of Cystic Fibrosis) but perhaps the best word is simply "raw".

Sure it's got a shot of a person nailing their privates to a block of wood while "If I had a hammer" plays cheerfully in the background. But that doesn't mean the film aims to offend or make the audience vomit. What's at the heart of this film is one mans lifelong struggle with a painfully fatal illness (CF). It's only through his embrace of the pain that he was able to live such a long and successful life (poet, comedian, and performance artist) and his ability to inspire and live his life to the fullest is something several many 'able bodied' people could only dream of.

Most touching is the scene where Bob is visited by a young Toronto girl with CF who wanted to meet him as part of the 'Make a Wish' Foundation (yes, you read correctly). When the film was screened at the Toronto Film Fest that same young girl was present (and a few years older) and attributed her prolonged life to the example set by Bob Flanagan.

Nails and blocks of wood aside, this film is NOT for everyone. In fact it's for a small few. It is very real and very powerful. But if you can stomach it, you'll see what a great documentary should look like.


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