This weekend we are ticketing four events at Museum of Arts and Design in New York City involving French adult film star François Sagat. A few months ago, I had the opportunity to meet Sagat who was in Seattle promoting his latest film Man at Bath, by Christophe Honoré, a modern rendition of Gustave Caillebotte’s painting “Homme au bain.” As Caillbotte’s painting was shocking in its own time (1884), this film also aims at portraying an honest and crude image of gay male sexuality and relationships in 2010 Gennevilliers and New York. So of course, this film may not be to everyone’s taste.
Meeting Sagat was an unusual experience, one that comes with many preconceived ideas about the type of personality it takes to work in the adult film industry. Yet, what transpired through our conversation was that Sagat, the man differs drastically from Sagat the performer.
Sagat used to draw a lot and aspired to work in the fashion industry. That did not work out as planned but in the meantime, he was discovered and recruited to perform in adult films and very quickly made a name for himself in the United States, albeit a name that definitely comes with a price and a lot of ambiguity in dealing with everyday relationships. Sagat admits to sometimes having a hard time when people ask him what type of job he does. This is partly out of modesty, but also out of concern that his answer might skew any chances at an honest relationship. “People expect a sexual image more than anything else, whereas this sexual image is only done through editing. It’s a package, but people believe this is reality. Life is not a montage!”
The man, who seems somewhat reserved in real life, is anything but shy in front of the camera and has accepted that the creation of his public image comes with his loads of “sacrifices¨ in terms of what type of opportunities can arise for him. While he certainly aspires to do more mainstream projects (he recently designed a line of jewellery with a French designer), he says he has no regrets and would take the same path if he had to make the choice again.