Monday, April 28, 2014
"My dad has been collecting penises for a long time," says Sigurour “Siggi” Hjartarson's son. Hjartarson is the owner and curator of the Icelandic Phallological Museum, located a half-hour from the Arctic Circle.
Welcome to The Final Member, a new documentary about a museum of dicks.
Hjartarson's museum is dedicated to the preservation of mammalian genitalia. From the impressive length of a sperm whale's member (nearly six feet) to a measly hamster's piece (2mm), Hjartarson's got them all, except one. There's one lone empty jar, eagerly awaiting a human penis.
The Final Member chronicles not only the likable Hjartarson's various eccentricities (he's really into his museum; he wears bow-ties fashioned out of whale-dick bone, and he takes long walks on the Icelandic countrywide with a bull's penis for a walking stick), but it also showcases two men competing to get their appendages in the museum first.
First up is Pall Arason, a 95-year-old Iceland native, adventurer and a self-proclaimed womanizer. He wants his manhood preserved, but there are concerns about elderly shrinkage. In Iceland, there's something about "legal length," and the explanation is one of the film's most side-splitting scenes. Poor Arason is involved in the doc's most harrowing sequence, when attempts to encase his penis in a plaster cast go horribly awry.
Then there's California rancher Tom Mitchell, who wants to part with his partner—while he's still alive. He's even named it Elmo, tattooed it with stars and stripes, and plans to base a comic book series on it. He wants to be the first human in the museum, but he also wants to have Elmo back with him during Hjartarson's off-season.
The filmmakers could have turned this into a 75 minute snickering dick joke, but they've mostly held back. Hjartarson and his quirky museum are treated with compassion and fairness, and there's only a few times when the film stumbles—mostly involving Mitchell's quest on enshrining Elmo.
The Final Member plays one night only at The Loft Cinema, on Wednesday, May 7 at 7:00 p.m. It's part of the Loft's One Hit Wonder series. Tickets are general admission.