One man’s obsession is another man’s even bigger obsession.

by Martin Hafer

Most of the time when I bring you an installment of my You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet series, I talk about a comedy or drama. However, in light of my recent trip to Iceland, I decided to bring you my review of an extraordinarily strange documentary. And strange it truly is…and I cannot believe that I saw it!

The Final Member is an ultra-strange film about a man in Iceland who runs the world’s only museum dedicated to penises. At the time this movie was made, the Phallological Museum was housed in the small town of Husavik. Although this collection of mammal penises is second to none, the retired school teacher and owner, Sigurður ‘Siggy’ Hjartarson, felt the museum was lacking one essential item…a human penis. This film is about his obsession to get someone to donate theirs to his collection.

Now when it comes to collecting human penises, you cannot legally just hack one off a dead guy, you need to have all the legal niceties taken care of before the donor expires. Such an opportunity arises early in the film. An elderly Icelandic man, Páll, decides to donate his genitals upon his death. And, since he’s in his 90s, it doesn’t look like it will be long before the museum receives this donation. But there are two problems. First, due to his advanced age, the penis is possibly awfully small and wouldn’t be a welcome addition to the collection.

Martin and the Whale
Martin Hafer at the Phallological Museum

Siggy insists on one at least 5 inches in length. Second, and even more strange, is that there is another person ready, willing and able to donate their penis right now … while he’s still alive! So, while you clearly can see that Siggy is an oddly obsessed man, his obsession is clearly minor compared to the American named Tom and his insistence that everyone see his member now and that he be able to visit the museum to see it himself! But Tom’s odd story doesn’t stop there. Through the course of the film he comes up with a comic book character based on his penis (which he nicknames ‘Elmo’) and he begins to drive poor Siggy crazy with all his demands and suggestions! So what will happen? Will Siggy be able to complete his museum? And, if so, who will the first donor actually be?

Canadian filmmakers Zach Math and Jonah Bekhor have crafted an unusual yet expertly made film. In fact, it’s done quite well in film festivals and has been nominated for several awards. So, despite the strange and possibly distasteful subject matter (depending on your perspective), the movie is extremely well done. Subject matter aside, Math and Bekhor have done themselves proud and the film is definitely worth seeing. Not surprisingly, it does have a few scenes involving penises that make this a rather adult film.

While visiting Reykjavik I learned that the museum had recently been relocated. There, I saw information about the film at the museum and couldn’t wait to see it when my trip was completed. And, since it’s available streaming through Netflix, it didn’t take long for me to see this quirky documentary. The film and the museum are well worth seeing (especially the gift shop), and since I assume most of you will never make it to Iceland, you can at least travel there vicariously with this movie.

You can visit the museum online by clicking here.