Imagination + Nation,
now in its 25th year, screened over a 100 films in this year’s
2012 edition, including such riveting documentaries as Call
me Kuchu, Emergency Exit and Lesbomundo, as well as a
gamut of gay topical films that effectively and artistically
subvert the stereotypic collective consciousness most of the
population holds on homosexuality.
totally compelling film that depicted gay love inexorably
glued to life's gritty realities was Beyond the Walls
(Hors les Murs) directed by David Lambert."
seeing the film, I spoke to a gay couple who candidly explained
that the tortuous love affair revealed in the film and the
situation that imploded from it was completely credible, but
that it was outside their own personal experience as a gay
couple. Both young men told me that in various pockets of
gay communities, all kinds of obsessive and unhealthy experiences
happen. Gays are driven by the same yearnings as heterosexuals:
the need to connect, feel loved and exult in joy. Indeed,
as this film shows, gay love is not solely a sexual beast.
Its animus can be found in the need to survive, the quest
for stability and the desire to 'fit in' without fear of ostracism.
This movie touches upon these aspects of the gay culture,
as well as highly profound emotions that affect gay love.
Above all, it tells a story of two men brought together by
sheer happenstance and circumstances that both solidify and
sunder apart their budding love. Sound familiar? Though we
wish for a different ending in the film, it is one of the
most powerful to stride across the screen in this festival
-- North America's largest and one that attracts an exciting
mix of really interesting people striving to make this world
a far more just one.
falls madly in love with Ilir, a bartender at a small club
who also plays guitar. Paulo had gotten drunk, and Ilir, who
didn't know the young blond-haired man, takes him to his home
to ensure he will be ok. Paulo seems schooled in the ways
of gay sex, and he is quite taken by Ilir who comes from Albania.
Ilir, however, is reluctant to get involved with his new human
puppy who offers himself up so easily. But they laugh so much,
and are good for one another they eventually embrace. In fact,
Ilir did not have much choice to take it slow, since shortly
after meeting Paulo, this blond beauty's girlfriend kicked
him out of her apartment when she realized he has no interest
in her at all. Paulo has no place to go, so he heads for Ilir
's apartment. Ilir really does not want to live with him,
but he accepts. What follows is a tortuous series of events.
leaves on a trip; Paulo eagerly awaits his return, but he
never shows up. Finally, he gets a letter form his lost lover.
It reveals Ilir is in prison for bringing drugs across the
border. Paulo is beside himself. But he is a great and loyal
boyfriend. Ilir 's slow descent includes rejecting Paulo's'
obsessive visits. He feels seeing him makes him weak, which
does not help him survive in prison. He forbids further visits.
Paulo takes up with the owner of a sex shop owner who takes
good care of him though their sex involves Paulo being subjected
to some painful moments (S & M). Paulo seems to be a parasite.
But he certainly has a heart of gold. One day, Paulo receives
a call from Ilir requesting him to visit him once more in
the prison -- though it's been months since he hadn't returned
to see his ex-lover. He wants Paulo to smuggle in cocaine.
Paulo is still in love with him, so he consents. Ilir swallows
the tiny plastic pieces in which the cocaine is wrapped. Illir
who now has skin cancer has changed. No longer is he virile
and happy; he is poor and sick. Finally, Ilir gets out of
prison and visits Paulo at the shop where they used to hang
out -- the one owned by Paulo's present lover. Everything
that Ilir once knew has changed, too. Paulo has become a rich
dandy and his stunning boyish innocence has been replaced
with studied coldness. His new lover has taken good care of
him. Still, Paulo books a room for them in a swanky hotel,
but is unable to be with Ilir. He has made his choice. The
reversal of roles and fortune is most striking.
is films is about a gut-wrenching love story between two men
who fall in love, but bad luck and wrong decisions have sealed
each of their fates. They will not be together again. In the
end, both cry -- Paulo is walking down the street from the
hotel; Ilir is standing on the balcony of the hotel room watching
his ex-lover on the street below. Tears and regret are all
that is left for Ilir, and perhaps for Paulo as well.
the Walls offers great acting. Matila Malliarakis put
in a profound performance as Paulo. Guillaume Goulx as Ilir
expressed the turbulent push and pull of love's emotional
angst while portraying a smiling character ready for a joke
that masks secrets and sadness. What a great movie!