“Flirting with Anthony”
Tough Gay Love
“Flirting with Anthony” (TLA Releasing) is an amazing look at gay love in a way we do not usually look at it. It is not for the weak of heart as this is a way to love that we are not usually accustomed to.
Anthony is a young gang member who is at odds with other members of the gang. When the movie opens Anthony (Daniel Cartier) is strapped to a table waiting for Bruno to come and torture and possibly kill him. Suddenly Jack (Linus), a friend arrives who not only frees Anthony but also deals with Bruno on his own terms. As the two men exchange deep stares and review in their minds what had just transpired, they agree never to see each other ever again.
Anthony decides that it is time to change his life and begins living in suburbia with Donna (Lowe Taylor) his girlfriend and Leroy, her younger brother. Leroy is gay, independent and infatuated with older leather men. Anthony and Donna try to give Leroy a proper adolescence in terms of how modern America raises youth.
Suddenly, Donna receives word that her father has died and she and Anthony take off on a road trip to the funeral. As they travel they meet a cast of characters that can only be described as bizarre and strange. Among those they meet are several prostitutes, a no guts pervert, two drag queens (Boofont Sisters) who are stranded on the road, a physic (Mink Stole), and an evangelist who is on the verge of losing his mind. They are also being followed by a man who looks a great deal like Jack, Of course they do not know if it is really Jack or not and if it is they wonder if it is a coincidence that he is following them or if he is on a “hit”. Eventually the two men come face to face in a bathroom at a gas station and what happens is both chilling and exciting. Anthony becomes haunted by his past when he suspects that he is being followed and he question whether jack is there for romance or retribution.
The movie is like being on a roller coaster which ends in the most surprising of ways. This is “queer cinema” to the definition of the term and it pushes all limits. As the film meanders so does the mind of the viewer and some of the violence is gratuitous. This movie is not an easy one to sit through. Encompassing several film genres, it is extremely hard to categorize “Flirting with Anthony”. Director Christian Calson has fashioned a movie that defies description and is difficult to watch and even more difficult to understand but let me emphasize that neither fact means that this is not a good movie. Upon first watching I was shocked but as I watched it again and again I saw so much in it that it left me stunned. It is an experimental film in terms of both form and structure. The genre shits as the life of man shifts.
Looking at the character of Anthony, we find it is as hard to categorize him as it is to categorize the film. We do not know whether he is a gay man living I the closet or a straight guy who is totally confused. But classifying him would really not help to understand his role in the movie.
The colors of the movie set the three different genres. The beginning is red and very grainy; the middle is pastel and the ending s blue. The movie starts as horror/porn which dissolves into a road trip film and finally finishes up as a romantic comedy in which the characters are on a mission to find love.
The sexuality of the film is as close to pornography as one can get. There is a great deal of sex and male frontal nudity in it. I found that even with the descent into porn that the camera work was just incredible. The camera gets right in on all of the action and the viewer is never in the dark as t what he is seeing on the screen. The characters are real “queer” characters—that is to say that they related the pulse of the queer community. They are archetypes who are filled with emotions and their portrayals are infinite and they live and breathe on screen. Because we may not be able to identify with them does not mean that they are not real.
The question we are left with at the end of the film is what happens to our two main characters. We may never know and the audience can come to its own conclusion. The movie has no rules and that is its major asset.
Watching “Flirting with Anthony” is a real experience and it is impossible to relay the impact that it had on me. I am sure that many will not like it or see its value but Personally, I am very glad that someone went out on a limb to make the film regardless of what might happen after it is screened.