It’s been a good couple of weeks for Gay-Centric & Gay-Friendly films.
In addition to watching the fascinating documentary Paul Taylor: Dancemaker on DVD (thanks to Netflix) complete with the male lead dancer, the amazing Patrick Corbin, momentarily (and heart-breakingly) talking about his male lover
and now the Blu-ray of Keep the Lights On.
Keep The Lights On follows the relationship of Erik, a Dutch filmmaker from a wealthy family now living in New York City and Paul, a successful lawyer with Random House.
The following is how the film’s website describes the plot, with some deliberate truncating by yours truly:
“Nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor (Thure Lindhardt), Keep the Lights On chronicles an emotionally and sexually charged journey of two men in New York City through love, friendship, and addiction. Documentary filmmaker Erik (Thure Lindhardt) and closeted lawyer Paul (Zachary Booth, Damages) meet through a casual encounter, but soon find a deeper connection and become a couple.”
I watched this film without watching the included “making of” featurette and I could immediately tell it was a true story; the moments captured all feel real, natural, specific, and paced the way real life paces a relationship. I was not surprised in the least to learn this was the director Ira Sach’s real life retelling of his relationship with lawyer Bill Clegg. (Warning, even a Google image search of either of them may result in what amounts to spoilers for some of you.)
While the site mentions Paul as “closeted,” any emphasis on this is too much, as the film deals with that quickly and moves on to the others parts of these men’s secrets.
The film’s title references how the need for men of our generation, now in our 40s, growing up hiding larges parts of ourselves as in order to survive creates complications when, as adults, we continue to hide and compartmentalize parts of lives, particularly the parts we don’t want others to see.
Shot on super-16, the Blu-ray looks as I would assume it should look. It has a film like quality, but no one is going to rank this film’s presentation on Blu-ray as the best image-quality of the year. I suspect part of this is the limits of Super16, but I readily admit I do not have the discerning eye some of you have.
Tonally, this film reminds me Wong Kar Wai’s Happy Together, the recently fantastic The Weekend, and, frankly, a whole host films of the Scenes From a Marriage variety. The film is beautifully shot with careful attention to lighting which is quite lovely while still true to its indie roots. The cast all do exceptional jobs with their performances, especially Zachary Booth and Julianne Nicholson, who really stood out for me.
The Blu-ray also includes a commentary track with the director, which is quite good, along with the aforementioned “making of” feature and an additional documentary on early gay underground filmmaker Avery Willard.
Edited by Mark Walker, May 11 2013 - 01:18 PM.