The Movie The Final Member features a museum devoted to only one thing.
The museum describes its work thus:
“The Icelandic Phallological Museum is probably the only museum in the world to contain a collection of phallic specimens belonging to all the various types of mammal found in a single country.”
Boasting of over 200 specimens of phalluses, only one seems to be missing… a human one.
Hot Docs reviews The Final Member
“Meet Sigurdur Hjartarson, the founder and curator of the Icelandic Phallogical Museum, the only museum in the world dedicated to the penis. Receiving a bull penis as a gag gift in the ’70s, something clicked in Sigurdur’s brain and the next thing he knew, he was collecting specimens from any animal he could get his hands on, slowly filling his house with jars of penises of all shapes and sizes, from nearly every creature that walks, swims or flies that you can think of. With his home quickly becoming cluttered, his understanding family joked that he should open a museum, and a lightbulb went off, and that’s exactly what he did. Granted, it’s not the Guggenheim, but the modestly sized building is really one of the few places where you can see the penis in the many shapes and sizes that nature has given it.”
“A house mouse has one; mind you it’s only a couple of millimeters long. A sperm whale has one too, but it’s closer to six feet in length. If you like, you could see both of these specimens (and hundreds of others) from the animal kingdom at a special museum just 30 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The Icelandic Phallological Museum (IPM) features just one theme for your viewing and learning pleasure: penises.
Mind you, there is one important sample missing — that of a human male.
Enter Canadian directors Zach Math and Jonah Bekhor, who now make their homes in Los Angeles. When they heard that IPM curator Sigurdur Hjartarson was looking to complete his unique collection, and that he had a couple of potential donors waiting in the wings, they hopped on a plane and started filming everything from that moment on. The results are funny, sad, heartwarming and fascinating. One thing “The Final Member” is (thankfully) missing is the low-brow, goofy dick joke, which is nary to be found.
Sigurdur, or Siggy as he’s known in the film, is an educator, a family man and a naturalist; he’s also getting older. His popular museum started as a joke after a friend gave him a bull penis in 1974. It was an awfully nice specimen, and Siggy being a bit of a compulsive guy, the collection grew … at least in numbers. Siggy and his wife of over 50 years were looking to take care of themselves and their health issues, but the wry Icelander will not rest until the human addition is made.
His potential donors are just as eccentric as he is. The first is a local icon named Páll Arason. A pioneer of adventure tourism and explorer of the wild in his native country, Arason is also well-known as one of the country’s great womanizers. He is keen to share his notorious manhood with generations to come, but at 95 years old is running into some serious shrinkage problems. This is an issue, as the folklore of Iceland demands a minimum five inches.
If Páll sounds like a handful, wait until you meet Tom Mitchell. Tom is an American who seems like the kind of guy who might be an accountant or run the local hardware store. Turns out he is absolutely obsessed with his genitalia. ‘Elmo,’ as he calls it, seems to live in its own world with its own set of rules. Tom is so elated about the potential for Elmo to be the first human penis in the museum, he has even sweetened the offer. Tom wants to have Elmo surgically removed and plastisized while he is still alive and kicking. He even has plans for it outside of the museum during off-season.
And so the race is on. One would think that plans would be drawn up, deadlines would be determined, and arrangements made for the final member. Instead we see three men grappling with ego, compulsion, attachment and expectation. Whether the Icelandic Phallogical Museum is ever completed is now a difficult, complex and layered problem for the trio to work out.
In the end, “The Final Member” has a lot more heart than penis in it — and that’s a good thing.”