Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.
Monday, 2 April 2012
Its the weekend ....
"On a Friday night after a drunken house party with his straight mates, Russell heads out to a gay club, alone and on the pull. Just before closing time he picks up Glen but what's expected to be just a one-night stand becomes something else, something special. That weekend, in bars and in bedrooms, getting drunk and taking drugs, telling stories and having sex, the two men get to know each other. It is a brief encounter that will resonate throughout their lives. Weekend is both an honest and unapologetic love story between two guys and a film about the universal struggle for an authentic life in all its forms. It is about the search for identity and the importance of making a passionate commitment to your life" - so reads Andrew Haigh's blurb for his highly-acclaimed indie gay romance WEEKEND.
Sometimes though an acclaimed movie one has been looking forward to leaves one curiously dis-satisified, and I am afraid so it is here. It seems a very long weekend sometimes as the camera stays in one set-up while a scene plays on in real time until almost boredom begins to settle in. And I don't get Russell's comment that he thought Glen was out of his league ... it is surely Russell who is the charismatic attractive one .... some scenes work very well, the growing intimacy of the two men, like the scene in the kitchen with them getting closer and closer, and life in any suburban city (Nottingham here) is nicely depicted with our very-much-alone hero looking out at night from his highrise apartment (I was reminded again of Antonioni's L'ECLISSE with Monica Vitti aimlessly looking out over the neighbouring apartment blocks at night).
After that Friday night out, Russell wakes up to find Glen in his bed - but we do not really see much of how they got together in the first place. Over the course of the weekend though they get to know each other, discovering a deeper connection than they had envisaged. Andrew Haigh's study of two men falling for each other nicely depicts the excitement and awkwardness that comes with starting a new relationship (I really must write about one of my own particular ones, one of these days, set in London and Brighton from 1985 to 1996...). WEEKEND also shows many aspects of the contemporary gay experience once one gets used to its pace, and then there is that ending ... It will be interesting to see what Haigh tackles next, and the two guys Tom Cullen (Russell) and Chris New (Glen) are also people to watch. Is Glen though really heading off to America? - he seems curiously low key about it, and we know he does not "do boyfriends" so could he possibly be using this excuse to avoid getting involved, why would one start a new relationship if one was leaving the country the next day ?
More gay issues in mainstream cinema to comment on when I shortly see BEGINNERS and THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, as well as revisiting favourites like KINSEY, GODS AND MONSTERS, LOVE AND DEATH ON LONG ISLAND, THE LINE OF BEAUTY - and see previous reviews (gay interest label) of items like Fassbinder's FOX AND HIS FRIENDS, Tom Ford's A SINGLE MAN, Techine's LES ROSEAUX SAUVAGES, Hermosillo's DONA HERLINDA AND HER SON, the Italian LOOSE CANNONS, the BBC Isherwood CHRISTOPHER AND HIS KIND, PHILIP MORRIS I LOVE YOU, LAWLESS HEART, SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE etc. - and then there's that new issue of that 1980s once-notorious view of Berlin gay life TAXI ZUM KLO to dig out ... and then of course there's movies as diverse as THE HOURS, FAR FROM HEAVEN, THE DEEP END, and Albert Finney's great performance as the gay Irish bus conductor with the Oscar Wilde obsession in A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE! - and a very intriguing documentary FOR THE BIBLE TOLD ME SO, which I shall be returning to in due course ...