Archive for January, 2011
When I die give what’s left of me away
to children and old men who want to die.
And if you need to cry,
cry for your brother walking the street beside you.
and when you need me, put your arm around anyone
and give them what you need to give me.
I want to leave you something,
something better than words or sounds,
look for me in the people I have known or loved,
and if you cannot give me away,
at least let me live in your eyes and not in your mind.
You can love me better by letting hands touch hands,
and by letting go of children that need to be free.
Love doesn’t die, people do
so when all that is left of me is love,
give me away.
Self-discovery, Affirmation and Love
Coming soon from TLA is the directorial debut of Haitian-American filmmaker Roger S. Omeus Jr., “Finding Me”. He film brings together several themes—romance, drama, the black gay experience and the search for identity. Here is an attempt to see the diversity of our community.
“Finding Me” takes a different kind of look at the black gay community and presents it with a pop sensibility.
Our hero, Faybien Allen (RayMartell Moore) has no direction in his life. His father is not only overbearing but homophobic and this does nothing for Faybien’s self-esteem. Things change a bit when Lonnie (Derrick L. Briggs), a macho guy with lots of self assurance, hits on him. Faybein’s friends are pleased. Greg (Eugene Turner) is a bisexual who is both down-to-earth and upbeat and Amera (J’Nara Corbin), a smart and perky “honorary” gay man, hope that maybe Faybien will now finally find himself. However Greg’s roommate, Jay (Maurice Murrell), is a shady and shifty character and is possibly the kind of person that Faybien could become if he makes the wrong decisions. Faybien faces quite a challenge. He must find a way to make peace with his father and come to terms with the overly flirtatious Lonnie.
This is a small budget film but it gives us some new insights into the gay black community. All involved in the film are fresh talent and we seem to have something new coming our way. If “Finding Me” is a sigh of what is to come, than we are very, very lucky.
“Withered in the Blooming Season”
Director Cui Zi’en tells a melodramatic and sad family story in “Withered in the Blooming Season” (Waterbearer Film) and in doing so gives homage to the great French filmmaker Jean Cocteau. A twin brother and sister are involved in a relationship and they decide that they want to spend the rest of their lives together. Feng (the brother) discovers that his sister Wen is pregnant with his child, he asks his gay friend Le Le into taking the baby as his own.
The twins are young. Feng is a high school student and he and Wen share everything including a bedroom. His attraction to his sister is obsessive and he truly loves her, However Wen is maturing more quickly than her brother and she is ready to make a life for herself. Feng decides to involve his gay best friend into their relationship because he would be able to control it but he loses control of his own emotions and his plan doesn’t work to his expectations and he discovers that he is in love with Le Le.
Dysfunction only mildly describes this family situation. We watch as our three characters try to gain hold of their lives and the power that attraction has.
Cui Zi’en is noted for controversial films and that is probably the reason that he is regarded as one of China’s most important young filmmakers. Although far from perfect, “Withered in the Blooming Season” gives a great deal to think about.
“Quemar Las Naves” (“Burn the Bridges”)
Francisco Franco’s “Quemar Las Naves” looks at a family of three: Eugenia (Claudette Maille), the mother, a former pop singer dying of cancer, Helena (Irene Azuela), her 19 year old daughter who wants to travel the world and become a singer like her mother and Sebastian (Angel Onesimo Nevares) who studies and plays classical music and has the desire to do little more than to move to the beach. The three are stuck somewhere between desire, death and dreams of the future.
Sebastian and Helena develop a special love for each other as they care for their dying mother yet Sebastian also feels sexually drawn to a boy at school. There is tension as well between brother and sister since Helena stays at home caring for her mother while Sebastian can go where he wants and even find a human connection away from home. In this case it is with Juan, the new boy at school. Helena becomes jealous and things at home explode after the death of Eugenia and the future of the family house becomes uncertain.
Into the picture comes Ismael with his repressed desire for Sebastian and Aurora who rents a room in the house. We are given a look at the strange nature of the family as well as the powerful position held by the youngest male and his yen for freedom in a place that is devoutly Catholic.
Every cliché in film appears here—incest, homosexuality, the broken family, abuse and death but Franco handles everything in a way so that it all appears brand new. The plot is not bogged down by these clichés because the performances are all so brilliant. The film glows with beauty and Azuela gives an Oscar worthy performance. This probably could have lapsed into black comedy; Franco guides his film to be a true highlight of Mexican cinema. Because we are never quite sure where the movie is going, we are interested throughout.
A Ménage a Trois
“Spring Fever” is Lou Ye’s first film after having been banned from making films in China because of his explicit sex scenes. Unfortunately it is not very good. He takes a look at gay sex this time in the film he made in central China and he attempts to create an atmosphere by which his characters who are caught up in a metaphysical fever, become involved in sexual situations. We watch a time of year when nature seems to take over and there is a lot of rain and haze. It as if we are to think about the relationship between nature and man.
The film begins with nudity. Wang Ping (Wu Wei) is married but he has a male lover, Jiang Cheng (Qin Hao) and he does not know that his wife, Lin Xue (Jiang Jiaqi) is having him followed by someone who takes pictures of the two men together. The three have dinner together and the wife attacks the husband for his unfaithfulness and then she humiliates him at the place where he works. There are wonderful scenes but the rest of the film never again reaches that level. Complications ensue and the film seems to never want to end. The director is filled with poetry, some of which seeps onto the screen and the film looks at how cruel emotions can be.
The music is wonderful and fits the film perfectly. There were times I felt I was watching a documentary because of the way the filming presented the ideas to us. I also found myself to be at one with the characters, occasionally, but by and large I was isolated from them. Melancholy takes over the film and what could have been very strong and powerful becomes like a television soap opera. I believe the film is meant to be impressionistic and this is something that is very hard to capture. Here it was not.