LGBT interest DVDs
Allan Radcliffe unearths a healthy mix of the sublime and the ridiculous among the latest crop of LGBT-friendly DVD releases
The re-release on DVD of Wong Kar Wai’s Happy Together (Artificial Eye) ●●●● is cause for celebration. The award-winning film follows the fortunes of a gay couple from Hong Kong, who part company shortly after arriving in Argentina, leaving Lai (Tony Leung) consumed with thoughts of what might have been. Visually arresting and acute in its exploration of loneliness, the film features moving performances from Leung and the late Leslie Cheung as the hapless lovers. Extras include an elegaic ‘making of’ documentary.
Another queer-interest release from the arthouse stable is Singaporean director Royston Tan’s acclaimed 4.30 (Peccadillo Pictures) ●●●●, which depicts the fascination an 11-year-old boy develops for his mysterious Korean tenant. Tan’s beautifully shot, stately-paced and near-silent (though never dull) film creates a palpable sense of urban alienation, embodied in the two protagonists. Finn’s Girl (Peccadillo Pictures) ●●, meanwhile, attempts to explore grief and loss through a woman devastated at the loss of her long-term female partner, and the couple’s sassy teenage daughter, but, with its low production values and predictable storyline, recalls instead a cheesy Movie of the Week special.
As you might expect from a collection of shorts by fledgling directors Boys on Film: Hard Love (Peccadillo Pictures) ●●● is a bit of a mixed bag. Most of the nine films rise above the restrictions of their budgets by sheer force of inventiveness, though, the highlights being Hong Khaou’s moving coming-of-age/coming out tale, ‘Summer’, and Michael Simon’s funny, camp, irreverent ‘Gay Zombie’ (pictured), in which a member of the undead decides that a night on the town with a bunch of queens is the best form of therapy.
Another compilation that’s never less than fascinating is the Bruce Weber Boxset (Metrodome) ●●●●, which brings together the fashion photographer and filmmaker’s features for the first time. Highlights include Weber’s passionate life of the jazz great Chet Baker, Let’s Get Lost, and his multi-layered poem to desire and beauty, Chop Suey, which weaves the story of beautiful teenage wrestler Peter Johnson with archive footage, still photography and an expansive soundtrack.