- Chile ponders hate crime legislation as thousands attend gay man’s funeral
- Proving your homosexuality to the Turkish army is a humiliating ordeal
- Malta’s government to propose civil partnerships for same-sex couples
- National anti-gay “propaganda” bill now submitted to Russian parliament
- Law allowing gay couples to adopt is rejected in Slovenian referendum
- German trans kid committed to mental institution against mother’s will
- Anti-Gay activists looking for unintelligent celebrities to advance their cause
- U.S. makes it easier to use “anti-terror” surveillance data against non-terrorists
- UK internet providers forced to hand over 9,000 user details of porn pirates
- U.S. House kills law preventing employers from demanding Facebook passwords
- America’s rich get even richer while gap between them and the rest widens
- Woman demanding care at a hospital is arrested for trespassing, dies in jail
- Study says compared to other groups, conservatives distrust science most
With the Motion Picture Association of America refusing to budge on the R rating it has slapped on the documentary Bully for strong language used in the film, the distributor Weinstein announced this week that it would release the movie unrated. Weinstein had sought a PG-13 rating that cautions parents that some material in a film may not be suitable for children under the age of 13. An R rating prevents anyone under the age of 17 from seeing the movie without an adult and prevents some schools from showing it because some school districts don’t allow the screening of R rated films in schools in general.
Releasing a film without an official rating from the MPAA can limit its distribution because many of the large theater chains have policies in place against showing unrated films. But Bully may prove to be the exception because of the widespread publicity it has received in advance of its release including support from famous people as Ellen DeGeneres, Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp. The film will open this weekend in a few selected cinemas before its wide-spread release on April 13.
Pim lives in a run-down house in a dead-end street somewhere at the Belgian coast, together with his mother Yvette Bulteel (better known as Yvette Mimosa, local accordion starlet). Life here smells of cold French fries, cheap cigarettes, vermouth and stale beer. Mother Yvette uses her fat Etienne with his lousy grey Fiat as a driver for the nights she has to “perform”.
As a kid Pim dreams of a better life, imagining princesses and beauty queens. But when Pim turns 16 he dreams of Gino, the boy next door, instead. Ever since they were children there has been this tension between them. Now Gino is Pim’s motorcycling hero. Cold mockery, little humiliations and tiny bits of hope make up Pim’s life. No wonder he sometimes flees to his dream world.
Then one day Yvette leaves with young, hunky Zoltan, the boy from the fair. When Yvette leaves her son alone in the empty house, Pim seizes the opportunity and his dreams become half-truths. Pim moves to the neighbours’ house to live with Marcella, his “second mum”. And with Sabrina, Gino’s sister, who circles longingly around Pim. He even sleeps in Gino’s bed. But Gino’s off romancing & living with a girl from across the border. Dreams never come true. Or do they?
North Sea Texas’ strength lies in its powerful cinematography and director Defurne’s ability to render bodies with epicurean beauty. His infatuation with the male form is enhanced splendidly with his play with light and shadow on bare skin and extensive use of close-up shots of faces. The result is that Defurne indulges an audience’s lingering prurient gazes, while wordlessly drawing from the characters the subtlest of emotions.
Perhaps the most admirable trait of North Sea Texas is that the actors are the age their characters are meant to be. Defurne claims he faced considerable difficulty when it came to this: "Most teenage boys are afraid of playing a gay character and make a fuss of doing things with a boy that would not be problematic if their partner were a girl. Many candidates did not show up to the audition. Some parents forbade their kids from attending the auditions."
Frank discussion of childhood and to some extent teenage sexuality is taboo, and this is undoubtedly heightened when the attraction is same-sex and there is an age differential involved. Defurne accordingly dedicates the film to "all those kids whose parents wouldn’t let them take part in this film." It might be more appropriate to dedicate it to gay teenage love – it’s a film that provides texture, empathy & humanity to one of the most ridiculed, shameful kinds of love we know.
North Sea Texas is showing at the LLGFF’s Closing Night Gala on Sunday 1 April.
Mailed in by Lilly, thanks!
- Two gay men, trans woman shot & beaten in attacks in Washington D.C.
- Gay student in coma after attempting suicide following bullying at school
- European Parliament calls on Nigeria to reverse its harsh anti-gay laws
- Kentucky rejects anti-bullying bill, doesn’t want queers to have special rights
- Governor in Utah vetoes “Don’t say gay”, abstinence-only sex education bill
- School gets sued for removing student council after pro-gay prom proposal
- Thought Crime: French president wants to make viewing "hate sites" offense
- Ex-FBI informant tells how FBI uses entrapment to manufacture own "terror" plots
- New Jersey school bans hugging, says it’s an “unsuitable physical interaction”
- New York City bans food donations to the homeless over nutrition worries
- UK teen arrested for saying dead civilians deserve same attention as dead soldiers