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United Kingdom 1995
Directed by
Nick Broomfield
106 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam

Nick Broomfield's film is an intriguing documentary that explores the fall and fall of Heidi Fleiss, from rich man's plaything (the mistress of crooked financier, Bernie Cornfield) to convicted "panderer" or female pimp. The story itself is a fairly typical exposé of the sleazy world of the sex industry but what is fascinating is Broomfield's dogged pursuit of his banal subject through the moral sewers of Hollywood where deceit and backstabbing is common currency.

Broomfield himself recommends his film as an insight into the underbelly of Hollywood's world of glamour but it is even more interesting as a microcosm of the gulf between private vice and public virtue in human society in general. It could just as well stand for the worlds of politics or big business. Every player is a liar and each one wears the mask of "who, me?" innocence with disconcerting sang-froid and apparent self-delusion.

Although Broomfield does not manage to produce any revelations about her psychology, Fliess is an engaging character, in some ways reminiscent of Wedekind's Lulu, chronically self-destructive yet ingenuously seductive. Film buffs will be interested in the appearance of Victoria Sellers, daughter of Peter and Britt Ekland, one-time good buddy with Fleiss and clearly another casualty of fame and fortune.

DVD Extras: The disc forms part of the 2 volume Kaleidoscope release of Broomfield films. The brief introduction by Broomfield to this film is taken from the informative featurette, A Nick Bromfield History, which appears on Chicken Ranch as part of Volume 1: Adventures in the Sex Trade.

Available from: Shock Entertainment




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