Sunday, 5 November 2017

The New Gay

Every once in a while you see a film that parts the sea: a work that's so tender, so beautiful, and so new, that it redefines everything that came before it.

 TimothĂ© Chalamet and Armie Hammer shot by Mario Sorrenti for W Magazine

Call Me By Your Name (2017) is such a film. Directed by Luca Guadagnino of I-Am-Love-with-Tilda-Swinton-fame, this coming-of-age story recounts the meeting of 17-year-old Elio, the twinky prodigial son of a professor, and Oliver, a hunky American doctoral student.

What sets the story apart is its incredibly natural and nuanced depiction of desire and love. The film completely discards the tired and tropey polarities of gay or straight and good or bad, and instead shows a story of love that feels both complex and real. 

Of course it helps that both lead actors are stunning. Or that we get to fetishize the lives of the haute bourgeoisie (one of the director's specialities), or that the music is so good it will likely make you cry. But what ultimately matters is this: here's a work of art that leaves behind the figure of the tragic gay, and opens the door for a newer, better and wiser way. And for that I thank Signore Guadagnino. 

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