Monday, June 16, 2008

FRENCH CINEMA—Les Chansons d'amour (Love Songs, 2007)

It's June Pride. A month when all things queer and queer-affirmative are to be celebrated, including cinematic representations of the homosexualized and/or homoeroticized (though I would prefer to phrase it as the joyful spirit of gender variance). Let the party begin!

As party favors, not only is Frameline opening Thursday night with Tim Fywell's lesbian bodice ripper Affinity; but, Holehead is offering up the West Coast premiere of Kankuro Kudo's gay samurai comedy Yaji & Kita; Dead Channels is shocking San Franciscan audiences with Sean Abley's electrifyingly addictive Socket; and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts offers Apichatpong Weerasethakul's mysterious objects, namely two programs of shorts. And that's just for starters.

Perhaps—as Michael Lumpkin and I recently discussed—what is most subversively rewarding is precisely that queer representation has succeeded past the immediate community to be found in mainstream fare. Case in point would be Christophe Honoré's Les Chansons d'amour (Love Songs, 2007). Though Michael Hawley and I agree Love Songs is a flawed vehicle and not as rewarding as Honoré's previous musical Dans Paris (2006), there's no denying the pleasure derived from the sensual parity with which Honoré directs his young actors. Michael Hawley caught the film last night and was "delightfully surprised" by its gay turn. Louis Garrel's girlfriend dies and he ends up finding redemption in the arms (and bed) of a very cute Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet. It's thrice twice. Michael offers a triptych of YouTube clips of their three songs together (the third one ends the movie). Unfortunately, there are no subtitles, which is a shame because lyrically they were probably the three best songs in the movie.

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