reviews! at last!

It’s been a while, I know. Trying to get back into the swing of things…

As an introduction to Bruce LaBruce’s filmography, Super 8-1/2 (1993) poses an interesting dilemma—it’s obviously a systematic breakdown of the mythology that has sprung up around its creator, but being largely unfamiliar with that mythology, the film proved to be rather bewildering at times. As a film it’s all over the place—at once serious experimentation and playful, ironic parody—and the blonde-haired, fetal-like LaBruce displays no qualms in making obvious parallels between him and Andy Warhol (in all capacities—as an filmmaker, art icon, celebrity, even detached social philosopher). One way or the other, LaBruce plays it as a queer’s take on Norma Desmond, all self-aware tragedy, complete with countless close-ups. But despite how disorienting it can be, it’s disorienting in an interesting way—both outrageous and reflexive, and extremely erotic. A film I look forward to revisiting at some point.

The power of Juste une question d’amour (Just a Question of Love) (2000) is derived from the deep satisfaction of a straightforward, rather simple story told extremely well. Certainly its economy in terms of both its narrative and in the visual style is derived from its made-for-television origins (a rather shocking after-the-fact realization on my part), but there’s a distinct richness derived from its details, particularly in regards to its supporting characters. While the central boy-meets-boy and subsequently triumph over all hardships that come their way is certainly affecting, I found myself particularly intrigued (and impressed) by the cluster of characters that surround them—the supportive but weary mother of one of the boys, the other boy’s disgusted parents who feel guilty and betrayed, and the lovely Caroline Veyt as the girl who is fully aware of her unhealthy attachment to her gay best friend, but tirelessly plays his games anyway. It’s not hard to detect an admirable fairness, even sympathy in the script’s approach to these characters that are usually rendered as mere caricatures, as each in their own way are forced to come to grips with their views of homosexuality. It’s nothing that hasn’t been done before, and countless times at that, but that still doesn’t mean it’s not very, very good. I was quite moved, anyway.

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3 thoughts on “reviews! at last!

  1. In regards to “Juste une question d’amour”… I saw this at the Gay Pride film festival last weekend and well, you know how they say life imitates art ;) I did enjoy it though, which surprised me, since I tend to always feel as though I’m missing a key point (which, of course, I am).

  2. Derek’s Response on the Classics Board at IMDb:

    Glad you kinda like Super 8-1/2.

    What did you think of the focus-pulling during the credit sequence? In my opinion, the guy doing the pulling was a genius! :D

    Seriously…I am pleased that you liked the film enough to want to revisit it in the future…perhaps after seeing No Skin Off My Ass. I think one can appreciate the film more once one has seen its predecessor. Knowing that LaBruce became somewhat of a minor celebrity in certain circles because of NSOMA will make some of the jokes even funnier…especially those aimed at critics who tried to make more of the film than what was intended by its creator. (LaBruce was a former “Academic Critic” for Cineaction…the magazine Robin Wood edited until recently…so his knack for writing funny “Academic Critic” dialogue comes naturally).

    I don’t know if I would recommend checking out some of the other types of films that the movie references. Vintage gay porn loops and “Cinema Of Transgression” films by the likes of Richard Kern and Nick Zedd might be too much for you! (I know they have warped my mind )

    DEREK

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