Joe Dallesandro: Honorary Teddy Award at Berlin Festival

by Andre Soares
Heat with Joe Dallesandro

Joe Dallesandro, Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey's muse in films such as Flesh (1968), Trash (1970), and Heat (1972), and whose crotch adorned the Rolling Stones' album “Sticky Fingers,” will be the recipient of the 2009 honorary Teddy Award, given to those who have contributed to gay/lesbian/etc. cinema, at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival, which runs Feb. 5–15.

Two films featuring Dallesandro, who's now 60 years old, will be screened at the 2009 Berlinale: Little Joe, Nicole Haeusser's new documentary on the actor, and Catherine Breillat's Tapage Nocturne (1979), winner of the Berlin Film Festival's Panorama Audience Award.

In addition to the Warhol Factory films, which also include titles such as the revisionist Western Lonesome Cowboys (1968), The Loves of Ondine (1968), Frankenstein (1973), and Dracula (1974), Dallesandro had roles – big and small – in a variety of films, ranging from Serge Gainsbourg's scandalous Je t'aime moi non plus (1976), in which Dallesandro co-starred with Gainsbourg's wife, Jane Birkin, to Francis Ford Coppola's scandalously expensive The Cotton Club (1984), in which he played “Lucky” Luciano.

Also, Giulio Berruti's The Killer Nun (1978), Mokhtar Chorfi's Queen Lear (1982), Frank De Palma's Private War (1988), and more recently, Eric M. Galler's Pacino Is Missing (2002) and Michael Frost's 3 Stories About Evil (2008).

Wieland Speck, director of the Berlinale Panorama section, is quoted as saying that “Dallesandro was not only the most beautiful man in his medial [?] generation at the time, but also put his erotic appeal out to consciously be objectified. He has this physical appearance you never get tired of watching. This is true for the moving picture as well as photographs - and for men as for women.”

Indeed, in his heyday Dallesandro – reportedly an ex-hustler and gay sex-film performer (and “Little Joe” in Lou Reed's “Walk on the Wild Side”) – was too dangerously sensual to have made it in Hollywood. I mean, in his films (and photos) the guy makes Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, George Clooney and the like look as sexually threatening (or alluring, for that matter) as a chipmunk.

Several years ago, I saw Dallesandro at a book signing in West Hollywood and I remember being impressed at how good he still looked.

Dallesandro will receive his golden Teddy at a Feb. 13 ceremony.

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