He stares into the fire as if searching for something; he seems drawn to it inextricably, and nods when he sits down, perhaps recognising memories from summer in the twisting flames that eventually must mark his retinas. A mix of tears, sobs and smiles, the moment —along with Elio's emotional journey— is bittersweet. He bites his lip, chewing on a memory; later, a tear falls down his face and he lets it enter his mouth, letting himself literally consume the sadness, embracing and surrendering to the emotion. [...]
“Call me by your name, and I’ll call you by mine.” It really is the perfect eponymous quote for a film about narcissism and projected self-obsession. Suggested by Oliver to his younger male lover, it reads from his mouth as a yearning for lost youth. Yes, this film is beautifully shot, and yes, the stylisation is exquisite; but this love story is far from pure. [...]
After a particularly sensuous title shot ー quite simply, a smoking cigar ー this film opens rather frivolously. We pan over New York City, watching our characters go about their daily lives in a classically retro scene-setting montage. But don’t let this cheery start fool you. As catty bitchiness descends into destructive hate, ancient and fresh wounds alike are torn open, exposed to the audience. Further still, dripping in internalised homophobia, our cast of bitter gay men pour in the salt..
Paraíso Perdido is Portuguese for paradise lost. Set almost exclusively at night in a Brazilian cabaret club lost in time, I could think of no more appropriate a name. Paraíso Perdido (Monique Gardenburg, 2018) follows the lives of a family who own and work at the club after which the film is named. We also meet other performers ーa kind of extended familyー and are introduced to the scene through Odair, a policeman who is given the club’s flyer by a speeding motorcyclist. Odair acts as a way-in for the spectator, and we discover the club, the family and their secrets alongside him. The more time he spends there, the more we all learn about this twisted family touched by tragedy. [...]
Duck butter, or “manteca de pato”, is a term for (and excuse the graphic description) thick white discharge around the vagina. Viscerally, this is quite an off-putting term, but it is also a lightly humorous one, and perhaps even subtly charming. This is a good representation of the film as a whole. And while the [...]
I watched this last weekend with some friends and I just had to find a way to process this clusterfuck of a movie. So here we go. Oh, and just to clarify, it’s not about incest …probably. Donne-moi la main, English translation: Give Me Your Hand, (Pascal-Alex Vincent, 2008) is a French-language film about a twin brothers’ journey across Europe. As they travel to the funeral of a mother they’ve never met, Antoine and Quentin confront their complicated sibling relationship, as well as perceptions of their own and each other’s desires.
As queer people ー specifically, gay men ー we are used to relationships not lasting forever. People get scared ー of their own romantic and sexual impulses, of how they feel about their identity ー and they run away. Encounters are often hidden: we meet at night, in dark corners, away from prying eyes. Sometimes the light of day eclipses what went on in the dark, and we are left wondering if our desperate minds fabricated the whole thing. And then the night begins again, and he comes back, and we know that, even if just for tonight, it’s real.
In 2020, it’s hard to believe that a film about a gay and a lesbian being each other’s beards (pretending to date each other so people think they’re straight) hadn’t been made. I suppose there was that one storyline on Glee… but still, here it is, finally, in full cinematic force. Of course, the main question is: does it live up to the hype? And the answer, of course, is complicated. Dating Amber (David Freyne, 2020) is a coming-of-age comedy set in oppressive 1990s Ireland. The story follows baby gay Eddie (Fionn O’Shea) and baby lesbian Amber (Lola Petticrew), and their developing friendship as they pursue a pretend relationship. [...]
Come one now. It’s a gay classic at this point. You’d think that a whimsical comedy about queer kids forced to attend conversion therapy camp wouldn’t work at all... but it so does. Let me tell you why. But I’m a Cheerleader (Jamie Babbit, 1999) focuses around the story of Megan (Natasha Lyone), a timid 17-year-old coming to terms with her sexuality. At an intervention, her friends and family affront her with hilariously problematic lesbian stereotypes that she seems to follow, such as “being a vegetarian” and “liking Melissa Etheridge’s music”. They decide that she should be sent to “True Directions”, a gay conversion therapy camp that imposes 1950s-style gender roles on its unwilling teenage attendees.
“I’m just like you, I have a perfectly normal life” says our protagonist Simon, as the camera shows him outside his large house in the suburbs getting a 4x4 for his birthday. Ah yes, it is clear from this opening shot, or even from the trailer and a quick glance at the cast, that Love, Simon is a gay film made for a cis, straight, white, middle-class audience. Or at the very least made to be palatable to The Hetties™. That doesn’t make it a bad film, but it is glaringly apparent, even in the first two minutes of the film. Then again, as (self-proportedly) the first film by a major Hollywood studio to focus on a gay teenage romance, it is a step in the white direction. I mean the right direction. Didn’t I say that? [...]