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NewFest Films: 'Futuro Beach' and 'Gerontophilia'

  Gerontophilia
Bruce LaBruce's newest provocation is intergenerational romance

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Help, he’s drowning! In good movies so don’t rush to the rescue. Both the opening and closing night films of this week’s satisfying NewFest (July 24th-29th), NYC's annual LGBT film festival in partnership with OutFest, begin with a drowning. Both drownings become romantic catalysts for the lifeguard, but the films couldn’t be more different in tone or purpose so it’s surely a coincidence. NewFest got the order right, opening with the dramatic punch and ending with a sweet drive into the sunset.

In the Brazilian/German film FUTURO BEACH, which opens the annual LGBT film festival tomorrow, two tourists are hit by violent waves. Lifeguards rush in to save them but only one survives. Donato (Wagner Moura) shaken up by losing his first swimmer, seeks out the survivor's friend, a sporty motorbike enthusiast named Konrad (Clemens Schick) to explain the process for dealing with the body. Soon they're angrily rutting, caught up in the disorienting and wrenching drama. Their hookup appears destined to burn bright and die quick due to its emotionally disconnected start and its rapid and frank visual presentation -- English language cinema still lags far behind European cinema in its depictions of sex; the full frontal here is presented as if it’s no big deal.

MORE ON BOTH FILMS AFTER THE JUMP...

FUTURO-arms

 

 

[The Futuro Beach trailer... unfortunately without subtitles]

But Donato and Konrad’s connection takes and the film moves across that same treacherous ocean to Germany. The film transforms into a drama about the difficulties of uprooting yourself for love, cutting ties, and maintaining passion. How will Donato, who his adorably feisty little brother nicknames "Aquaman”, survive and who will he even be when he's land-locked?

Futuro Beach is divided into three chapters like a novel in bulky parts. Like Donato, the film changes in its second chapter when the steam from the hot sex dissipates. But in the final chapter a third character reenergizes the film. Futuro Beach is slightly uneven (as stories told in clearly marked chunks often are) and its definitely abrasive at times, the rock song laced soundtrack in particular grates and director Karim Äinouz is unconcerned with getting to the next scene and sometimes as cool as Konrad to displays of emotion, which may leave some moviegoers impatient. But the film is beautifully shot to maximize its important locations and character dynamics. Most importantly, for any romantic drama, the actors are well cast: Wagner and Clemens have a combustible chemistry and their dissimilarity also makes for striking visuals when they share the frame. While there may be speed bumps of pacing and rough waves of ambivalence as you progress through the chapters, the film finds a satisfying and appropriately moody way to close its book.

Geronto-drown

 

In the Canadian film GERONTOPHILIA, which closes the festival on July 29th, the drowning serves as comic introduction to an unusual premise. A lifeguard named Lake (Pier-Gabriel Lajoie in his feature debut), who is just out of high school, pulls an old swimmer from the neighborhood pool to save him. During mouth-to-mouth Lake gets a surprise and visible stiffy (swimsuits, you know). The old anonymous swimmer survives so it’s a happy ending. For both of them.

Geronto-parkwalkIn a welcome turn of events for Lake, he quickly finds a job at an old folks home where he can ogle at will to his pervy delight. Lake is instantly fascinated with Mr. Peabody (Walter Borden), an 82 years young "old queen" (Mr. Peabody's own words) who he regularly bathes, visits, and plays cards with. Will they fall in love? Will the other nurses find out? Will Lake's girlfriend understand?

Gerontophilia isn't sexually explicit but it's too confrontational and risqué in its premise for any kind of mainstream crossover. That's a pity because it's both funny and romantic which is more than you can say for the bulk of what passes for romantic comedy. Lake and Mr. Peabody's situation may be highly specific but some of the details are as universal as they come; the film gets a huge laugh in a highly familiar moment at a gay bar but that's all I'll say.

In the end the most shocking thing about Gerontophilia is not Lake's rare sexual fetish or that queer provocateur Bruce LaBruce made it. Instead it's how he made it, LaBruce magically transforming this outré premise (imagine the funding meetings: "a cute twink is horny for a dying octogenarian in a rest home!") into his most accessible and endearing film (if not his best, which I might still argue is The Raspberry Reich from 2004). On the heels of two sexually explicit and gory films about gay zombies (Otto, or, Up with Dead People and L.A. Zombie starring French porn god François Sagat) we shouldn't jump to conclusions and assume that Bruce LaBruce is softening at his half-century mark. But, whatever's next, this is a welcome, surprisingly slick, and thoroughly entertaining detour for a filmmaker who has been frisky no-budget fun to keep up with since the birth of the New Queer Cinema.

 

 

Nathaniel Rogers would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

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Comments

  1. GERONTOPHILIA is not believable

    Posted by: saywhat | Jul 23, 2014 8:46:28 PM


  2. Gernotophilia= wishful thinking

    Posted by: FakeOutrage | Jul 23, 2014 9:22:43 PM


  3. Gerontophilia looks fascinating. I've seen a few examples of this over the years. Lovely young men who are attracted to lovely old men. It's rare, but so what. Love is love and, as the saying goes, the heart wants what the heart wants.

    Posted by: Smartypants | Jul 23, 2014 9:24:36 PM


  4. These two don't look like a match at all. The old man is way too fruity. That ruins it.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jul 23, 2014 9:43:21 PM


  5. i'm completely heartbroken that when labruce decided to make a non sexually explicit film it had to be the one with the gorgeous pier-gabriel in it ;)

    Posted by: chris | Jul 23, 2014 10:21:03 PM


  6. Mr. LaBruce is obviously testing his audience with this fascinating yet squirming subtext. A part of me is repulsed by the thought but I know some older guys who stray the line being classed as Silver Fox but were a bit older. So yeah, I want to see it. I'm curious what he has in store.

    And the other one as well. The trailer with the Bowie song was a nice touch.

    Posted by: MickyFlip | Jul 23, 2014 10:31:35 PM


  7. Isn't it a bit early for a biopic of Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black?

    Posted by: MaryM | Jul 24, 2014 4:24:58 AM


  8. MARYM, you just made me laugh so loud!

    Posted by: Greg | Jul 24, 2014 7:27:45 AM


  9. MARYM for President!!

    Posted by: Yup | Jul 24, 2014 8:49:19 AM


  10. Whatever UFFDA/RICK...whatever.

    Posted by: FREAKSONTHISBOARD | Jul 24, 2014 2:23:33 PM


  11. Thank you MARYM! That made my day.

    Posted by: Diogenes | Jul 24, 2014 5:01:03 PM


  12. Gerontophilia is great and sweet and funny,
    but I was disappointed in Praia do Futuro.

    Posted by: DanJ | Jul 24, 2014 6:03:07 PM


  13. Speaking as a "silverdaddy" or "polarbear" approaching 60, I think it is not so rare as youth-obsessed men think. Plus, the gerontophiles (aka daddyhunters) are not setting themselves up for depression as they age, because they value the things that age brings (confidence, knowing your way around, wisdom) and look forward to it. When I read some commenters that cannot fathom what's attractive about a man over 40, my heart goes out to the commenter because they are likely to spend more of their sexually mature life over 40 than under, and how will they feel about themselves? Ugly old troll? Sad. I find each age has its special powers and I like all of them; even tho my own tastes are more mainstream, having seen the world through the eyes of my lovers for so long has really opened MY eyes.

    Posted by: Terry Miller | Jul 25, 2014 3:16:02 AM


  14. The next time an LGBTI person descends into ageist defamation, they should read up about how utterly disgusting, if not criminal, their very being is considered by others. I was lucky enough in my teens to know a professor of mine who married his student once she graduated from high school. It would be difficult for me to imagine a more complementary pair of lovers. Intergenerational willing relationships are rare but a joy to behold for so many reasons, first being (of course) that both folks love one another for whom they are. Enough said!

    Posted by: Tom Cardellino | Jul 25, 2014 4:30:06 PM


  15. As someone who is over 65 YES 65, i still manage to meet some amazing young men over 21 and under 25 who love their silver daddy!!!! and NO THEY are not ESCORTS......Actually i have never had to pay for a young man's company as there are more then enough young men who appreciate an articulate, groomed and experienced man!!!

    Posted by: Daddy | Jul 25, 2014 6:35:25 PM


  16. I had an older lover as my first partner (me 21, he 38) of 9 years. I had an older friend, too, whose younger partner was into much older men (sliver daddy range). So it's not as rare as people might think. Now that I'm over 50, I'm just hoping to find one of those younger men that are interested in me! ;)

    Posted by: Kevin | Jul 28, 2014 5:38:03 PM


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