I was happily impressed that the few films I was able to see this year at Outfest, to me anyway, broke new ground. In two instances, fairly ordinary–inside and out–gay men wrestled with their environmental and inner circumstances, which to the extent of either their dissatisfaction and/or unhappiness, provided intriguing dramatic circumstances.
While from one of the coolest places on earth temperately, the first burned with an intensity that practically any commercial narrative feature ever dares to sustain. Progressing rapidly like a fever dream, two protagonists who randomly collide in the opening sequence are realigned ironically through technology. But without either cheap gimickry or the artificial connections that virtual reality is privy to, subject to.
What follows are two journeys casually followed until they converge. The practically stone-age milieu, i.e. LGBT life under repressive circumstances, is on display in all its repressive gore. And in one moment, not even a whole night practically, the two anti-hero seemingly antagonist “homo-swains” are together, both are drawn to one another magnetically. The attraction of the other is almost equal to the revulsion of what each is repelling.
The second, which was set not even a couple of hours out of Los Angeles, in the one atypically red-spot of the state, flicked more slowly, and at times artfully. The archtypical American fraternal confrontation–of differing choices with a look back of starkly varied results–is given a refreshing take through two gay middle-aged brothers whose single father has just died. The rebel twink has flamed to black down south, and is ambivalently returning to the roost. The steadfast (closeted) bachelor also smolders, with bitterness, resentment and an aching loneliness.
Inspired by the writer/co-star’s own experience, the story expands generously well beyond into often uncomfortable territory such as fraternal incest, competition, and responsibilities. Most of the visuals are stunning, though the blurred shots were jarring. And while the adult brothers look different–the bachelor comes off at times as down right nebbishy, and the twink initially appears as if he were adopted–the filmmakers use all of this to the final product’s advantage successfully.
And like most interesting, human cinematic stories today, the most they can aspire to is the Netflix ghetto, at least they’ll be in company. Hoping they both can be streamed from a player near you.