The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Some ramblings about the LGBT revolution followed by a film recommendation

with 25 comments

What is the biggest change that society has gone through during my lifetime?

Without giving too much thought to it I’d probably vouch for the digital revolution. Just look at this blog. Every time I think about how I’m sharing my thoughts with strangers on the other side of Earth, how effortless we cross oceans and overcome differences in class, age, gender, language territories, how we let our thoughts bounce around in a wireless global dance I have to pinch myself. Is this for real? It’s like science fiction coming real.

But if you expand the list a bit one of the changes that I would rank pretty high is how society has changed its view on people who count themselves as either of the letters in LGBT.

Obviously it’s not the same all over the world and there are still places where you risk ending up in jail or even getting killed if you’re open about being lesbian or gay. Even in countries like my own, which claims to be open minded and well educated in those matters, homosexuals find themselves forced to move away from the countryside to the big cities to get away from the prejudices of their neighbors.

A changed world
However on the whole, I’d say that it’s a completely new situation where I live compared to how things were when I grew up. A marriage is now a marriage, either it’s between women, men or a mix. Lesbians and gay have children like the rest of us, hold hands and kiss in the streets and I would argue that less and less people even as much as raise their eyebrows about it.

We’re not at the point where it’s regarded as just as unremarkable as having blue eyes or being left handed. Celebrities still “come out” accompanied by huge headlines in the media. But the reporting is always (at least in Sweden) in a loving and supporting tone. If anything I would argue a bit of a bonus to be gay or lesbian as far as media goes. It makes you stand out from the boring, unimaginative vanilla crowd and gives you an aura of bravery.

I can’t remember exactly when and where it happened. It’s the same as with the digital revolution or with my hair’s ongoing process of switching into gray. You can’t say from one day to another that “today society is a little bit gay friendlier than it was yesterday”. And yet, after a few years everything is completely different. The phone has shrunk, you’re tweeting like a madman and that relative who you thought was hopelessly homophobic speaks about the gay participant in “Dancing with the stars” as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

Has the world of movies kept up with this change? Not really, I’d argue. It seems as if it takes some time to move the huge, reluctant rock of Hollywood. While Brokeback Mountain was comparatively successful at the box office, most movies where gays or lesbians are in the center are in the area of low budget/art house/indie productions. This doesn’t mean they’re bad. They just never reach a wide audience.

Low budget film
This is the case of Weekend. The numbers are small to say the least. According to IMDb it has currently played for $ 455,000 in the US. It means that the movie is on plus, compared to the estimated budget at £120,000. But it also means that very few people can have watched it. And this is really a shame.

This movie fits into one of my favorite genres, namely conversations between two people in a very limited time and space. In this case we get to know Glen and Russell, two guys who meet at a club, have something that could be just a one night stand, but who end up getting to know each other more intimately. Throughout the film they alternate between fucking, taking drugs and having conversations where they share their different views on having a relationship and being open about their sexual preferences.

It’s thoughtful, touching, romantic and in a completely natural style which makes you think they must have improvised some of it. I’d describe it is as a mix between Before Sunrise and Queer as Folk (which is a British TV series from the end of the 90s which I really recommend in case you haven’t watched it already.  It was a little bit controversial when it came out, hopefully less so now. It’s enjoyable, fun and engaging regardless of what sexual preferences you have. And gay or straight, I think we all can agree on that Aidan Gillen was radiant as one of the main characters.)

Unless you live in a major city I suspect chances aren’t great that you’ll ever get to see Weekend in a cinema. But there’s always the Blue-Ray/DVD/digital download option. This little gem definitely deserves a wider audience.

Weekend (Andrew Haigh, UK, 2011) My rating: 5/5

Written by Jessica

August 14, 2012 at 1:00 am

Posted in Weekend

25 Responses

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  1. This article makes me wish I lived in Sweden. I actually live in an old-fashioned part of Virginia, US. We’re not a progressive area. No gay marriage. In fact, most people here believe that homosexuals shouldn’t be teachers or parents either. My family is no exception. At Christmas dinner last year my relatives had a conversation about the dangers of gay marriage. I had to speak up and they all yelled at me and threatened to kick me out. Imagine that, one person fighting against 20+ family members. Maybe if you visit the US I can invite you over to Christmas dinner to help in the fight lol.

    Great article. I haven’t heard of Weekend but I’ll check it out. A few of my favorite LGBT films are “A Single Man”, “Milk”, and “The Kids Are Alright”. I’m married to a lovely woman, but love stories still interest me, no matter who’s in love.


    August 14, 2012 at 1:50 am

    • It appears to me as if US extremely diverse in this aspect. Some areas seem to be more or less the same as Sweden in regards of acceptance of same-gender rleationships. And then there are other places where time has stood still.

      Good on you for speaking up at the dinners table! I think the fight for the acceptance of LGBT very much is a fight that heterosexuals should take. The homosexuals in those areas have so much to carry anyway – just coming out is a huge thing. Besides they’ll less likely to be listened to, speaking for their own case. But straight people like you and me can stand up, not risking more than to be thrown out from the Christmas party, which may not be the worst thing in such company.

      I haven’t seen A Single Man or Milk yet, but I’d sure like to check them out. I really loved The Kid’s are Alright. It was wonderful in the way that it had moved beyond the “coming out” story into a place where the lesbian marriage and parenthood was a fact and the story was about something else.


      August 14, 2012 at 7:24 am

  2. I absolutely loved this movie. I admired how it abandoned all the clichés and stereotypes typically associated in media and film with homosexuality and took a more natural, realistic approach. It almost felt like a documentary in a strange way. I adored the long sequences of dialogue (which to me seems to be closer to the film My Night at Maud’s than Before Sunrise, though a strong connection to both of those films can be easily made) and I really thought the direction was top notch. I said in my review that this is a pure and prime example of why I enjoy independent cinema more than mainstream cinema in general, and I stand by that statement. This movie would NOT be made in the mainstream. Not in the way Andrew Haigh has made it. This is an important movie.


    August 14, 2012 at 5:33 am

    • Well spoken Tyler. You convinced me that I’ve been cheap with the rating of this film. I’ll bump it up to a 5/5. It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen this year.


      August 14, 2012 at 7:13 am

  3. This was one of my favorite films of last year. I really loved it. It’s beautiful in its simplicity. The casting, so essential to the success of the film, was perfect. Great write-up! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

    George Watches Things

    August 14, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    • Thank you! Glad you too saw it and loved it! I agree that the casting is wonderful.


      August 15, 2012 at 7:25 am

  4. Whether or not it done any good for gay relationships onscreen, I thoroughly enjoyed “I Love You Philip Morris” with Carrey and McGregor delivering fantastic performances but I’ll take your recommendation on this one Jessica. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for it. Thanks, and as always, great post.

    Mark Walker

    August 15, 2012 at 12:17 am

    • I totally forgot about that film when I was mentioning my favorite LGBT movies. It’s one of the funniest movies of last year and the most underrated by far. It’s amazing to me that a Jim Carrey/Ewan Macgregor comedy can slide under the radar, but it did. I guess that’s due to anti-gay movie-goers? I don’t know, real shame though.


      August 15, 2012 at 12:22 am

      • Glad you agree Dusty. I thought it was a great movie and your right it was hilarious yet it also delivered on the drama. I just noticed your earlier comment mentioning “A Single Man”. That movie is an absolute masterpiece for me. I wasn’t Firth’s biggest fan bug after seeing that, I was convinced. Such a great performance and a very beautiful film.

        Mark Walker

        August 15, 2012 at 12:31 am

        • I haven’t seen that one but I really need to find it. I’ll see if my library can help me out. Any movie that has Colin Firth in it is a good movie.


          August 15, 2012 at 7:31 am

      • I watched it on DVD after completely missing it out when it ran in cinemas (if it ever did). It can’t have been heavily marketed.


        August 15, 2012 at 7:28 am

    • Oh, I really loved that film! Such a little gem. I definitely think this film could be one for you. It’s from UK, so I really think you should be able to get hands on it.


      August 15, 2012 at 7:27 am

  5. I think the true problem is that humanity still does not really accept difference. It does not really matter what that difference is, if you do not belong or hold the relevant opinion, you are likely to find yourself the subject of bigotry.

    Now that the cause of homosexual equality is starting to become the majority view in some cultures/countries it is rather depressing to see they supporters of that movement start to behave in ways not dis-similar to the people who opposed homosexual equality. I guess human nature wins out regardless.

    Sorry for the slightly depressing post, I guess i am on a pessimistic streak at the moment.


    August 15, 2012 at 1:03 am

    • Forgot to add, doesn’t quite sound like my film, though not because of the relationship. I just find sex in films somewhat off-putting and un-necessary. I totally realise that might make me a prude 🙂


      August 15, 2012 at 1:07 am

      • There isn’t all that much of explicit sex to be honest. I’m like you with that: basically I feel either uncomfortable or bored with detailed sex scenes in films. I just want them to get over with it so we can move on.

        A lot of the sex is implied. They begin something and then there’s a cut to “afterwards”. Which suits me fine.


        August 15, 2012 at 7:24 am

    • I definitely agree on that unwillingness to accept difference usually is a bad thing.

      But in case I’m not 100 procent sure I’m with you. Is there any difference between being anti-gay and being a rasist or sexist? Is it important to make sure that rasists are respected, to defend the rights of those whose only mission is to restrict the rights for others?

      Of course this doesn’t mean that I think it’s ok to bully or persecute people who peacefully follow their own beliefs. That’s never right.


      August 15, 2012 at 7:22 am

      • I just guess I am with Voltaire when it comes to points of view I personally find distasteful: I disagree with what they say, but I will defend their right to say it.

        Of course, that is the ideal. I won’t claim I am always very good at living true to the ideal in practice. 🙂


        August 15, 2012 at 8:48 am

        • I think we think more alike in this than you think. I don’t begrudge the anti-gay people or the anti-abortionists or whatever to have their opinions. The problem is when they get so vocal about them that it turns into harassment of homosexuals, people who go to health clinics for abortions etc. That is way beyond the “right to speech” imo.


          August 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm

  6. Great post as always! I love what you said about the digital revolution and how it has made online interaction possible. It truly is something wonderful.

    “If anything I would argue a bit of a bonus to be gay or lesbian as far as media goes. It makes you stand out
    from the boring, unimaginative vanilla crowd and gives you an aura of bravery.” Great point.

    As far as Weekend goes, I don’t think it’ll ever hit cinemas here but I’ll look forward to renting it. I’ve
    heard nothing but good things about it.


    August 15, 2012 at 7:57 am

    • Thanks Fernando! I’m glad you at least have heard of Weekend and that you’ll look out for it. It’s not something that you need to watch in a theatre. Since it’s mostly about talking, it would work perfectly well on a small screen.


      August 15, 2012 at 12:51 pm

  7. I can think of little to add to this, Jessia. Lovely words, LOVELY film.

    Andrew K.

    August 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    • Thank you Andrew! And thank you so much for your link love on your blog. It’s a wonderful film and I would be surprised if it doesn’t reach my top 10 of 2012 movies (I follow the Swedish opening dates, so for me it’s a 2012 movie even if IMDb says 2011).


      August 19, 2012 at 8:44 pm

  8. […] Weekend Two people who talk in an apartment during a weekend, like a mix between Queer as Folks and Before Sunrise. My heart melted. […]

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