Gay in 1995

Amos Lassen

“Sebastian” (WaterBearer Films) dates back to 1995 but just now sees its release on DVD. It is the story of a sixteen year old, Sebastian, who behaves strangely He sits alone in his room thinking and not talking. He refuses to tell his parents what the problem is. We see his problem and it is that he suddenly discovers that he has strange feelings for his friend, Ulf. We watch as he accepts himself—that he is gay and that he is in love with his best friend.

Looking at his movie today, we see how far gay cinema has come. As a coming-out story this movie is sweet but it hardly holds its own to what we see now. Nevertheless, it is important in that the movie reflects the way things once were.

The movie is Scandinavian and shows Scandinavia in al of its glory. The important family structure is intact. Sebastian has a younger sister and friends who love him. He leads a regular life. He is on the verge of manhood and therefore locks himself in his room and contemplates the meaning of life. When he discovers that he is gay, he proudly announces it to everyone.

It is hard to be a teenager and it is even harder being a gay teenager. Sebastian is lucky that his parents have no problem with his sexuality. The film makes coming-out look so easy when we know it s not. The actors are believable and when they tell us that it is ok to be gay, we find ourselves not quite agreeing with them. It does show homosexuality as a natural choice or option (when we know it is not quite that easy).

The plot is realistic but it is carried out superficially and full of clichés. The acting is fine but not special. The cinematography is beautiful but there are many scenes that are unnecessary and do not further the plot. The movie may be weak but it does entertain and it does handle the entire issue of sexuality well.

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