The Velvet Café

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Archive for the ‘Weekend’ Category

Some ramblings about the LGBT revolution followed by a film recommendation

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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