Sunday, 5 January 2014

Killing Clichés

Although it is Behind the Candelabra which dominated the headlines this year, winning eleven Emmies and showing Michael Douglas as the camp and closeted (& Polish) Władziu Liberace, 2013 was actually a great year for boxing down queer stereotypes on film (especially in Poland).

Here my favourite features of last year that starred gay characters and refused to be 'gay films'.

1. Tom At the Farm

Xavier Dolan's fourth feature film lies somewhere between tragedy, comedy and psychological thriller. Sexual tension sizzles between characters dead and alive, and repression becomes a sign of madness. There is so much more to come from this 24-year-old, I cannot wait.

Tom at the Farm (2013), trailer

2. Floating Skyscrapers

"The most courageous film of the year" said the poster for this film, and it might be right: You don't see full-frontal gay sex in arch-catholic Poland every day. And yet the film isn't set on  provocation per se, but on exploring the fear to become oneself. Which ends up being much more shocking than naked bodies.

Płynące wieżowce (Floating Skyscrapers), 2013, official trailer

Floating Skyscrapers - English teaser

3. In The Name Of...

For being incredibly shot and shedding light on a Church taboo. Szumowska's film is not about paedophilia, nor about abuse, but about a priest who happens to be a homo. Powerful, beautiful, and necessary.

In the Name Of (2013), English trailer

4. My Brother the Devil

Alright, not strictly 2013, but I only discovered this gem a couple of weeks ago. Take an East London housing estate, second-generation immigrants, drugs, violence, and forbidden attractions: the right ingredients to fall into a cliché trap. And yet this film manages to dodge them all and create something entirely new and surprisingly empowering. A must-watch.

My Brother the Devil, 2012, trailer

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