Skip to main content

HEIDI FLEISS: HOLLYWOOD MADAM

USA, 1995 (MIFF 1996, Documenta)

Director: Nick Broomfield

When Heidi Fleiss was arrested in 1993 Hollywood was- terrified that she would reveal a list of star clients and set the town ablaze with gossip and scandal British documentary director par excellence, and MIFF regular. Nick Broomfield (Aileen Wuornos: The Selling Of A Serial Killer-MIFF 1994) probes the Fleiss facts and fictions, turning up a cast of eccentrics, low-lifes, losers and shysters—a veritable underworld Entertainment Tonight.

Broomfield continues to employ his now familiar persona of bumbling, doggedly persistent knight in search of an ever elusive truth. Making no pretence about objectivity. Broomfield's constant interaction with the people he is pursuing can irritate or intrigue but always manages to present a fascinating picture of hypocrisy and discomforting insights into the darker elements of human interaction.

Heidi Fleiss is the daughter of a wealthy Beverly Hills physician who, by the age of 17, was a heavy drug user and addicted to gambling. She had a thing for older men which led her into an abusive relationship with one Ivan Nagy, the catalyst for her future as the famous madam to the stars'

Broomfield begins by questioning why someone with Fleiss' privileged background became involved with prostitution then develops a complex narrative which probes the nature of sexuality, passion, obsession, exploitation and deception. As the film progresses the film maker and audience become more complicit in this Byzantine world.

See also...

FETISHES

... ... The intrepid Nick Broomfield takes camera inside Pandora's Box, an up market New York fetish parlour run by one Mistress Raven. The establishment caters solely 'submissives' or 'bottoms', the ... More »

THE LEADER, HIS DRIVER, & THE DRIVER'S WIFE

A black comedy about the white right in South Africa. The Leader, His Driver and The Driver's Wife, examines issues of white racism from the oblique angle of the innocent documentary maker abroad ... More »

DRIVING ME CRAZY

... ... Take an egocentric German 'empressario' with plans to produce the biggest theatrical event in the history of showbiz; a (respected) film producer with grandiose plans for a film of the show ... More »

MONSTER IN A BOX

... ... This is a film. This is no ordinary film. Mon­ster In A Box is like no other film you've ever seen — unless you saw Swimming To Cam­bodia at the 1988 Melbourne Film Festival ... More »

BATTLE FOR HADITHA

God is on all sides, but not in Haditha. ... On 19 November 2005, US Marines retaliated to a bombing attack on one of their vehicles by massacring 24 Iraqi non-combatants - innocent men, women and ... More »

HIS BIG WHITE SELF

“I never thought in my worst nightmares that 14 years later I'd feel compelled to track down His Big White Self.” - filmmaker Nick Broomfield Nick Broomfield's 1991 documentary, The Leader, His ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director