Rabbits & Treasure
(God's Own Country, dir Francis Lee)
I've been waiting impatiently for the Blu-ray release of God's Own Country - the achingly frank gay love story set on a bleak farm in Yorkshire, a film that utterly destroyed me when I saw it in the theater some months ago. Today, while lamenting on Twitter about the excruciating week or so I have to wait, a very kind Twitter user mentioned that it was streaming on Amazon Prime in the States as of today!
And so I revisited the farm. It was all there - the emotionally crippled Johnny Saxby, the gentle and capable Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe, the runt sheep wearing another sheep's clothing, the hardened father and step-mother... and yes, the sex. There's the first muddy tussle where Gheorghe and Johnny wrestle for dominance - both grotesque and erotic, but the significant moment is the second scene of intimacy where Gheorghe literally teaches Johnny, step by step, how to love. Each time Johnny reaches for Gheorghe's cock, Gheorghe blocks him and pulls him in for a kiss. It's a highly titillating game, but also a pivotal moment for the broken Johnny who, finally freed of his emotional inhibitions, grunts and groans, desperately trying to force their bodies together. He literally can't get close enough to Gheorghe. It's not a scene about intercourse or penetration - Johnny's first sex scene with the twink auctioneer trainee in the cattle trailer proves that he is skilled and fearless when it comes to a purely carnal romp. On the contrary, it's a scene about giving in to the possibilities of love. In essence, that's what the entire movie is about.
But when we finished the movie, that's when I was bombarded with the unfortunate reality of gay cinema. There in the Amazon Prime LGBTQ interest cue was a never-ending assortment of soft-core porn and gay message movies - shirtless beefcake, sad-looking twinks with their bangs in their eyes, that gay guy from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman who just can't do any better than low-budget gay late night "Cinemax-style" thrillers.
Every movie was either a silly sex comedy with punny names like Fifty Shades of Gay and Straight, To Bed or some dark holocaust-meets-gay Lolita movie, and an unfortunate array of "After School Special-style" gay agenda films, heavy on exposition and light on acting ability. There were hundreds, just one after another. It made me realize how God's Own Country, Moonlight, and Call Me By Your Name (and Beach Rats and that one part of Lady Bird) were merely flukes - shooting stars in a night sky of shit.
(Call Me By Your Name, dir Luca Guadagnino)
There are a lot of bad gay movies out there. They disguise themselves as "important messages" about coming out or discrimination or history, but they're really just poorly acted, poorly constructed excuses to feature beefcake and twinks having sex - or they're the result of mainstream Hollywood exploiting a demographic. My dream is to fulfill the promises made by God's Own Country and Call Me By Your Name - to make movies about people and the human condition that appeal to and feature homosexuals and homosexual situations - like my student sketch, Inquisition.
(Inquisition, dir Monty Wolfe)
I'm eager to announce that I'm in the early stages with my first attempt at this sort of film. I'm hoping for some grant money this year, but regardless, the film is going to happen. It's called Rabbits and Treasure - and it's a love story set in a post-apocalyptic Pacific Northwest. In the film, no one comes out - no one delivers a brave expositional speech about discrimination. The homosexuality in the film is not the issue at all. Instead, it's merely about two people finding their place and purpose in a world gone to Hell. I think we can all relate to that.
Lemme see... Here's a snippet.
If that's not a love story, what is???