Every epic story has a beginning. Luckily for me, I came into the middle of Bel Ami’s. It was sort of like finding this very thick, battered book, someone’s remembrance book, let’s say, where in it’s like someone recounting a marvelous journey, and one you just can’t wait to read. It felt as if I’ve received a message in a bottle. It comes complete with a map to a garden. You don’t know where it will take you and yet you’re finding you don’t really care. When you arrive, it’s like no other garden in the whole world: wondrous, beautiful, and magical. Bel Ami, to me and to many of its fans, is a sprawling, delectable Garden of Eros. Adventure after erotic adventure you will have here. Yet, a question would come to mind as quickly as a sprouting and engorged young one’s manhood: how did it all begin? I don’t have all the answers to explain their story in the fullness that it would require. Yet during the time of my adventures here I did manage to pick up pieces of their tale scattered about, and piece by sultry piece, slowly put them in place like a giant jigsaw puzzle. It’s colorful, exotic, beautiful beyond all imagining, enchanting, and breathtakingly erotic.
For almost twenty years, the artists at Bel Ami have been creating erotic fantasies that no one has come close to matching. With even my meager learning, I’ve only managed to scratch the surface of what this marvelous studio has to offer. Every day of every year it grows, becoming even more beautiful and magical. Some would say: “its only porn.” But to Bel Ami’s fans we’ve all come to know that it’s so much more than that. Every one of these young stars have made their mark here, have become acolytes and high priests of Eros, Adonis and Apollo. Every one of them charmed and beguiled us to our core, never ceasing to make our fantasies, and imaginations take flight. In a very noble sense, all of these beautiful young men have brought us all back to our youth, discovering again what it was like to be innocent, in love (or in many instances in lust) and in the throes of our sexual awakening. It all began with a photograph on my friend’s blog. It was from there my innocent desire to see more caused me to venture forth. I was never sure what it was I would find, but even now I’m so very glad I did.
If I were to tell one anything of Bel Ami’s unique history I would have to start with a brief aside to tell the story of another studio whose background I don’t know very much about, just in bits and pieces: Falcon. To this day, Falcon Studios is one of the largest producers of gay adult cinema in existence in the U.S and has been around nearly forty years. During the early 1990’s, Falcon wanted to extend its reach into the European market. The head of the studio at the time asked a young cameraman, George Duroy to create material for use under Falcon’s new imprint, Falcon International. With George’s first film as director, Accidental Lovers, the world got to see the beautiful young men of Central and Eastern Europe. It would be in Accidental Lovers that the world also got to see the emergence of a legend and a true love god: the incomparable Dano Sulik. Dubbed “a Kama Sutra on Two Legs” his passionate and unbridled sexuality would be without equal. Of many of the new guys that have come through Bel Ami’s stable doors, some have proven to be as sexual as Dano, but none, in my opinion have remotely come close. I would make Dano’s cinematic acquaintance while watching the scenes he would have in Bel Ami’s more famous films, but it would be in the earlier Falcon films I would get to see this erotic talent rise to prominence, as well as the thrill of seeing George’s filmmaking style, gradually emerge, one film just as titillating as the last.
In 1993, George formed his own company while still shooting pictures for Falcon: Bel Ami, with the first film to be under Bel Ami’s label, Tender Strangers. Beginning with Accidental Lovers and finishing off with Wide Open in 1997, George would produce a total of nine films for Falcon International before going off to film material for Bel Ami full time, each one of those films would be building upon George’s lyrical, dreamlike style that would carry over into his work for Bel Ami. I would affectionately call the young men he would take with him from Falcon, as ‘The Old Guard’ (with those who would be termed Bel Ami’s Next Generation later be included in this group). This treasured Old Guard would form the foundation on which Bel Ami would build itself into one of the most popular studio brands of gay adult erotica in the world.
Now about my sweet darling, Johan Paulik, my first Bel Ami crush: when did he start shooting blue movies, you ask? His very first role in an adult film, and one I’m showcasing here today, would be Falcon’s Sauna Paradiso, a fairly innocent type of a role, where he only would have a j/o scene, but what a scene nonetheless. Adorable, and sweet with a natural curiosity about the world that was infectious, Johan would have a minor role in this one, where he is seen as an attendant of a bathhouse in Central Europe. The film has a feel like we’re observing the goings-on there along with him, from his perspective as well as our own. In one of the film’s highlights, we see Johan masturbate while fantasizing about a couple (Dano Sulik and Daniel Valent) he had watched screwing earlier during the day. It’s of my shortened version of the film one will see not only a brief glimpse of this scene but other highlights from the film as well. I don’t feel that any fan of Bel Ami should go without seeing these earlier films from Falcon; they are as much a part of telling Bel Ami’s story as Bel Ami’s films themselves.
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