Director: William E. Jones

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


Finished is a mesmerizing and strangely seductive contemplation of the life and death of Alan Lambert, a star of the transient, image-driven, gay-porn industry. At age twenty-five, Lambert killed himself to avoid his inevitable fate of being “finished” when his striking beauty waned. Haunted by the mercurial image Lambert left behind, Jones set out to perform an emotional autopsy of a life tragically cut short. But, refracted by the filmmaker’s own passions and obsessions, these glimpses into Lambert’s life evolve into highly unusual and compelling personal inquiry that defies traditional film genre.

Borrowing from biographical, documentary, and experimental approaches, Jones delves into the traces Lambert left behind: friends, lovers, work associates, an elaborate suicide letter, and a vast body of pornography. Jones interprets his findings in a cool voice-over narration, which he counterpoints with desperately beautiful images: desolate Los Angeles streets, empty beaches, pastel-imbued male-model one-sheets, and shadowy, low-resolution pornographic video clips. Lambert never loses his status as elusive love object, but he is transcended into a James Dean persona: beautiful, tragic, adored, misunderstood, and defined by his image. Ultimately Finished examines the ephemeral nature of beauty and the power of images in our culture. Most poignantly, the title refers to surfaces: coatings or layers that reflect light and protect what is delicate and vulnerable underneath.

— Lisanne Skyler

Screening Details

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