“AND THEN CAME SUMMER”— Beyond Friendhip

and then came summer

“And Then Came Summer”

Beyond Friendship

Amos Lassen

David (Jesse Petrick) and his little brother Ricky (Anthony J. Domingues) leave the big city to go and spend some time on the beach and to visit their father’s aunt Lillian (Phyllis Rodenberger) for the summer. As this seemingly happy family (though broken by divorce) settles in, Brian finds his old buddy Tommy (Jeremy Douglas) who has taken in his younger brother Seth (Mathieu Smith) as a favor to his family. As Brian and Tommy renew their friendship, we learn that both suffered losses in their lives. David and Seth get to know each other and gradually discover an attraction that goes beyond friendship. They share a kiss at night on the beach and they acknowledge their attraction for each other but they are betrayed by Ricky who says he will tell David’s father about what is going on.

The boys face their feelings with David’s father and Seth’s brother and find acceptance and unconditional love from their families. Seth talks about the time he spent in a rehabilitation clinic for gays  and this led him move in with his brother Tommy.

I love the story and wish that the actors had been better and that the direction did not do the job it should have done. The direction needed to be a bit tighter. The message of accepting gay boys who leave the closet is handled well acceptance of gay boys coming out is handled well. I really wanted to like this movie but some of the dialogue was unreal and the situations did not always work. Nonetheless, this is a sweet movie that plays on the emotions. Some of the questions I had remained unanswered and it just did not jell for me.

Jeff London wrote, directed, and produced the film could have been a good deal tighter. It also ran a bit too long.

“THE LAST YEAR”— Reconciling Religious Convictions and Sexuality

the last year

“The Last Year”

Reconciling Religious Convictions and Sexuality

Amos Lassen

Jeff London uses the problems that gay men deal with as a basis for his films. There is a good deal of honesty in his films but the sad thing is that too often he uses stereotypes which often makes his work look like he has not thought things out enough. This is unfortunate because he always has something important to say in his work. “The Last Year” is set in an American Bible college where Paul (Ron Petronicolos) is in his last year of study after something of a hectic summer. He moves in again with his roommate, Robby (Patrick Orion Hoesterey) and is inquisitive about (Merrick McMahon) who was a good friend and he learns that no one want to talk about him. He meets Alex (Mike Dolan), Hector’s roommate who tells him that he is gay. Paul also learns that the Bible College has discovered that Hector is gay and the Dean (Rand Smith) and others want to have Hector expelled. Robbie notices that Paul is different than the year prior and Paul tells him that he had a gay experience during the summer in a public bathroom. At first Robby is very uncomfortable about this but he eventually comes to support Paul when he realizes the anguish and the hurt he is dealing with. Paul is having a hard time with accepting his sexuality and also knowing that his parents totally disapprove. He and Alex become close and the two begin a relationship only to be discovered by the Dean who intimidates him, Alex, Hector and Robby. He takes disciplinary action against them. When Paul decides to fight back, he learns that the dean is closeted and that is the reason for the way he treated Hector with whom he once had an affair. Everything comes to an end that is tragic for some and freeing for others.

Petronicolos, Dolan, and McMahon turn in strong performances but they are hidden because of poor performances from other members of the cast. There is also a problem with some of the clichés that are presented here. This could have been a very strong film as well as a serious depiction of young gay men who try to make peace with their religious convictions and with their sexuality. There are good intentions here but unfortunately the script needs serious work if this story is to be believed.

“THE DECENT ONE” (“DER ANSTÄNDIGE”)— Himmler as a Loving Husband and Devoted Father

the decent one

“THE DECENT ONE” (“DER ANSTÄNDIGE”)  
Himmler as a Loving Husband and Devoted Father

Amos Lassen  

A recently discovered cache of hundreds of personal letters, diaries and photos belonging to the Nazi Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler show him to be a loving husband and a devoted father. These documents were found first in the Himmler house in 1945 but were then hidden in Tel Aviv, Israel for decades and were eventually sold to the father of Vanessa Lapa, a documentary filmmaker. It is from them that we get a picture of a different Heinrich Himmler. Using the documents as well as newly restored archival footage from Germany, Lapa has managed to bring us a fascinating case study of a man who was part of the Final Solution; the extermination of the Jews of Europe.

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The film is a portrait of the man responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the Second World War yet who thought of himself in heroic terms.

Heinrich Himmler was a man who should now inspire loathing in the minds and hearts of all who know anything about history.  He was one of the greatest mass murderers of the 20th Century. With the end f the war, Himmler committed suicide but he did so probably thinking that he had done God’s work.  Lapa was able to get and to use some of the most fantastic archival clips imaginable about the dark days of Nazi rule in Germany.  It is unlikely that you’ve seen a single frame of documentation culled from several sources, including hundreds of letters and photos found in Himmler’s home after it was occupied by Americans. She also had access to film that was being housed in Israel at the Ghetto Fighters House at Kibbutz Givat Hashlosha.  The Germans had a love for detail and record keeping and from this Lapa was able to make this film.

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Heinrich Himmler directed the mass extermination of six million Jews, tens of thousands of homosexuals and communists and even up to 500,000 Romani.  Yet he writes to his daughter in 1941, “In life, one must always be decent, courageous and kind-hearted.”  A more accurate depiction of this chicken farmer raised to almost the highest level in the Nazi SS is: “The best political weapon is the weapon of terror.  Cruelty demands respect.  Men may hate us, but we don’t ask for their love; only for their fear and their submission.”  What a study in contrasts.

The film is presented chronologically from the birth of Himmler. He had been a farmer having studied agronomy in college. He joined the  He was appointed Reichsführer by Hitler and he was able to get the organization to grow into a powerful group. He was promoted in 1943 to Chief of German Police and Minister of the Interior, overseeing the Gestapo.  He is the person responsible for the building of the concentration and extermination camps. He was directly responsible for the deaths of up to fourteen million people, mostly Polish and Soviet citizens.



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Himmler went to his self-administered death without remorse yet his daughter Gudrun has made regular attempts to whitewash her father’s history. (See the film, “Hitler’s Children”).  She remained a Nazi and kept an image of Himmler as not just a decent one but also an exemplary one. The archival film, even more than the exposé of the letters that Himmler writes to his wife (whom he loves despite his taking up with a mistress), makes “The Decent One” a compulsory film to see.  What we have seen over and over again is that the people responsible for out-and-out evil  consider themselves to be decent. Psychologists, historians and moralists have long debated how seemingly ordinarily people can do monstrous things. Lapa discovers some almost unbelievable discrepancies between Himmler’s self-image and his historical role  and her film shines a new, piercing light on the human capacity for self-delusion and the very nature of evil.

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The film was Winner of the Best Documentary award at the 2014 Jerusalem Film Festival and premiered at last year’s Berlin film fest. The film opens in Los Angeles on October 10, 2014.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuqgHir41gk

“Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You” by Todd Lowy-Hasak— Written in Lists

me being me

Lowy-Hasak, Todd. “Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You”, Simon Pulse, 2015.

Written in Lists

Amos Lassen

It was not a good year for fifteen-year-old Darren. His parents divorced, his older brother Nate went away to college and his best friend moved away. It also does not help that he is minus a girlfriend. This is a novel written in lists and it is about what Darren feels are his doubts, dreams, and life conflicts. It covers a few days in Darren’s life  . Even though it is written in the third person, the lists make it feel like Darren is speaking directly to us. This provides an interesting perspective and while it distances Darren from the reader it also somewhat separates fro his own emotions. He is filled with angst over his parents’ divorce and his perspective on the future and on girls is not good.

This young-adult novel caught my attention because of its marketing claim to be a story told entirely in lists. In some ways, it’s unfortunate that it sometimes takes a gimmick like this to attract attention in today’s crowded literary marketplace. For while the list-driven structure of the novel is notably unique, the chapters where the lists more closely resemble the traditional literary form and the well-drawn personalities of the characters are what make this coming-of-age story so compelling. Using lists to tell a story is a novel idea and the lengths of the lists vary.

Darren has a compelling personality and he is something of an “everyboy” since he experiences many of the same problems that other teens go through. Darren is trying to discover who he is as well as his way in the world. Aside from the aforementioned divorce, he learns that his father is gay and that he, himself, is attracted to an eccentric and artistic girl by the name of Zoey. And that’s not all—his older brother who has been his hero is now into drugs as he goes through his freshman year at college. More important than all of this is that this is really about coking-of-age and self-discovery. It takes Darren a while but he does improve and by the end of the book, he begins to make surer and more confident choices.

The lists come to represent how we communicate with teens whose responses are usually short and smart or long and detailed. The short lists here propel the novel forward. Here are three examples of the kinds of lists that make up the novel— the 12 members of the North High Jazz Ensemble,  4 words Darren got right on a pop vocabulary quiz, 7 standard ingredients in Darren’s daily wardrobe.

On some of the lists we get some very interesting details about Darren such as what he looks like, his emotional stability, his personality and his folks. There also lists that just seemed to be there and had no real purpose. I thought that is was probably as much fun to write this book as it is to read it.

I love the lists as the format for the novel and interestingly enough as you get into the story, you do not even notice it. The plot is just that captivating.

“The Return of Jake Slater by Zavo— Left for Dead

the return of jake slater

Zavo. “The Return of Jake Slater”, (Hot on his Tail), Bold Strokes Books, 2014.

Left for Dead

Amos Lassen

Let me begin this review with a warning—if you do not enjoy reading about gay sex, this book is not for you. There is a lot of sex here so I would actually classify this as erotica and not romance. As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “Not that there’s anything wrong with it” but be prepared.

This is the sequel to “Hot on his Trial” which I did not read so I am jumping in cold on this. Jake Slater is a Texas ranger and has been left for dead by Sheriff Rawlins, a man who uses his office for his own gain and who personifies the word “devious”. Rawlins captured Ben and is being taken to Abilene to be hung (from a rope, guys). When Jake heard about this, he heads for Abilene as well—he wants to save Ben who just happens to be his lover. When Jake gets there he learns that Ben is already dead. He cannot stay in Abilene because he is wanted there and so he sets out for Mexico to start his life over again. What he did not know was that Ben had managed to escape but he cannot clear his name and so he also sets out for Mexico. As they travel, Ben and Jake come into contact with train robbers, a farming community and the Mexican army.

Along the way, Ben and Jake who travel separately and do not know that the other guy is headed to the same place, encounter train robbers, a horny farming community, and the Mexican army. Their journeys meet at a Mexican whorehouse where the prostitutes are men.  There they become involved in a very serious fight that can only lead to death.

Their paths finally converge at a Mexican male whorehouse, where they face a fight to the death. Because the two men each other that the other was dead, we do not really get to see much of them together. Nonetheless, it is an interesting read and Zavo really knows how to tell a story.

“FOR A WOMAN”— A Family Secret

for a woman

“FOR A WOMAN”  (“Pour Une Femme”)

A Family Secret

Amos Lassen

“For A Woman” is a semi-autobiographical film from French director, Diane Kurys. Anne is a woman who learns a family secret as her father lies dying. When her parents escaped from the concentration camps at the end of World War II, they restarted their lives in France. Set in the early 80s, Anne (Sylvie Testud) is a young film director working on a script that is inspired by her parents’ lives. As she begins to write and she also has a look at her late mother’s personal belongings and we go back in time to 1945.

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We meet Michel (Benoit Magimel) who was born in the Ukraine and Lena (Melanie Thierry), his wife and we see them being interviewed by a French immigration officer. During the interview Lena tells Michel that she is pregnant. Michel becomes very excited and is very happy that he is to have a son. It turns out that his son was to be his daughter when Tania is born a little while later. Michel is now a member of the communist party and goes to meetings on a regular basis. He now owns a small tailor shop and while business is not great, he makes enough to support his wife and child.

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Not long afterwards, a new member of the family appears. Jean (Nicolas Duvauchelle), a handsome young man introduces himself as Michel’s brother. Michel barely remembers him because the last time they saw each other Jean was only nine. Michel had also assumed that after they were separated Jean was killed, which is why he never looked for him after he and Lena moved to France.

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 The brothers take to each other quickly and they share political views. Lena is also impressed by Jean but she is not politically minded even thought she goes to meetings with her husband. There she meets and becomes friends with Madeleine (Clotilde Hesme), the wife of another passionate communist (Denis Podalydes), who loves to talk about her affair with a younger man. Very quickly Madeline senses that there is more behind Lena’s interest in her brother-in-law’s observations. What seems to have been inevitable happens and Jean and Lena fall in love with each other.

 Even though Jean’s story about his recent past doesn’t quite seem true, they take him in to live with them anyway. Wherever Jean is, it would appear that the mysterious stranger Sacha is not far behind, and he ends up being employed in their tailors store. For a new arrival in Town, Jean surprisingly has a great many local connections that he uses, amongst other things, to make Michel’s business very successful. While the older brother divides his time between his flourishing shop and his Party activities, Jean spends his day wooing Lena who very quickly falls for her handsome brother-in-law.

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 Soon after, the inevitable happens – Lena and Jean fall in love. By the time Michel realizes that his family is falling apart, the French police also begin looking for Jean because they believe that he might be responsible for the death of an ex-Nazi officer.

I suppose we can call this a post-war romantic drama. There is a lot of intrigue and the movie is much like the old fashioned women’s films. The cast is uniformly good and the film is a visual feast.

“Debauchery” (A Harem Boy’s Saga: Volume 3)— The Saga Continues Once Again

debauchery

Young. “Debauchery” (A Harem Boy’s Saga) (Volume 3), Solstice Publishing, 2014.

The Saga Continues Once Again

Amos Lassen

We return to the story of a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society and was taken to the Middle East. Volume III of the memoir continues with the love story between the boy and his mentor and we now find ourselves at the third harem of which he becomes a part of—the Quwah, the household of a prince.

Now the boy and Andy, his “valet” are confidantes to the prince and assistants in “Carousel” an international dance club project as well as a photography plan, “Sacred Sex in Sacred Places.” This is not fiction but the memoirs of the boy and they will eventually cover seven volumes. Now that he is located in the household of the royal palace, he has a chance to learn more than ever before. On the other hand, he finds himself in some really uncomfortable situations and gets caught in them. He also comes into contact with some less than favorable characters.

What many may not realize is that this the true story of the author’s own experiences and while we, in the West, may deem what he went through to be taboo and horribly inappropriate, we must understand that there are places in the world today where people actually participate in activities that are related to us here. There are affairs that rob one of personal freedom and there are many places where sex and love do not go hand-in-hand. I admire the author’s bravery in putting this out there for the world to see.

“The Zone of Interest” by Martin Amis— Can Man Survive?

the zone iof interest

Amis, Martin. “The Zone of Interest: A Novel”, Knopf, 2014.

Can Man Survive?

Amos Lassen

This new book by Martin Amis has not yet been publishes in the United States (although it is coming out this week) but it is already being called controversial. I was lucky enough to get a copy from England and I am not sure what this controversy is all about. “The Zone of Interest” is a love story that takes place in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany during World War II. While this is something of a love story, it is so much more—it is a mystery, the tale of friendship, a historical novel about the darkest time in the history of the world, a look at friendship and a challenging story of insanity and bravery.

Every chapter has three sections and each is told in a different voice. There is Golo Thomsen, the supposed nephew of Martin Bormann and we see him as a civilian who is watching what is going on. Then there is Paul Doll, the commandant of the camp and whose wife is desired by Golo. The third voice is that of Szmul, the head of the Sonderkommando, the rotating force of Jews responsible for marshaling their own people through the gas chambers and crematoria. At first thought the three voices seen to be dedicated to the mission of the concentration camp which was the murder of thousands and this was regarded just as a job that had to be done, As we read, we see that attitudes change. In the beginning Szmul’s job and his moral dilemma was intriguing as was Thomsen’s objectivity and intellectualism and the silliness of Doll made him seem to be quite human.  He later becomes a victim of his own paranoia and we see him as something of a clown.

While Amazon has labeled this as a love story it is more about the death of everyone involved in the Final Solution. I saw something of Hannah Arendt’s theory of the banality of evil and the stupidity of the world as the eradication of the Jews was being carried out. I see this book as an exploration into the lives of those who participated in it and it is therefore a very dark look at that horrible time.

The story is set at the Monowitz Work Camp, sometimes known as Auschwitz III. It was built at the request of German industrial giant I.G. Farben to serve as a source of free/slave labor for its Buna Werke factory; synthetic rubber was to be produced there and it was to aid the German war effort.

What you have just read is as much of the plot that I can give and as I write this I find myself wondering if there even is a plot here. The story takes us through each character’s lives in the camp and details their relationships to the other protagonists. There is no single character here, with the exception perhaps of Szmul, who has enough moral gravitas for the reader to develop any affection or affinity for. Each character is guilty in his or her way of `sins’ of omission or commission in a setting in which they bear witness to and participate in the slaughter and death that marked life in the camps. As the story progresses and their lives of the characters are presented, we can only hope that the protagonists will find some way to be able to leave their black hearts behind and escape the madness. Here we truly see man’s inhumanity to fellow man. We really see how fiction can show the terrible horrors of genocide with extreme clarity. In fact it is the emotional clarity that we get here that is one of the major themes of the book.

As I began the book, I thought to myself that the details of the Holocaust with all of its horrors has been told and retold over and over again in histories, memoirs, novels and stories. The political, moral, and theological questions have been asked and have remained, as with all great questions about the past, fundamentally unanswerable. So then I had to wonder what Amis could tell us that was new and he chose to do so with fiction. (Actually the truth is still so unbelievable that there are times that it seems to have been fiction yet we have the proof that it all happened.

“The Zone of Interest” places emphasis on the ordinary,  banal emotional lives Nazi officials who were able to live and live well despite being surrounded by routine suffering and casual murder.  We are reminded early, in the first few pages of the novel, that one of the ways people can live through something like this is simple refusal to think about them. There is much here that many  will find familiar, though something so upsetting can hardly cease to shock simply because one has heard it before and put it in the back of his mind. What makes the Holocaust so fascinating is not the mass murder but the routine, industrialized process the Nazis developed  and this is in conflict with the modern assumptions about the relationship between mass murder and civilization. Amis shows that man’s inhumanity to man was more a logistical than a moral problem.

We find no answers here just as we find no answers anywhere about how the Holocaust happened and how it came to be. Amis cannot answer these questions that even great scholars have been unable to answer, What he did and did brilliantly is to give us this book in which he stresses the events and then imagined how people lived and died with what they had to endure. He implies, I think, that we can deal with the Holocaust but we can never understand it. I also think that Amis is telling us here that evil will not endure but art will.

At the end of the book there is a combined bibliography and historical note in which Amis confesses that none of his reading can make any logical sense of the Final Solution. It is simply inexplicable, an act of madness.

 It is difficult not to think about this book after finishing it. The characters, their actions, the time in history it was based in, the madness will stay with us for a very long time if not forever. I doubt that any novel can truly portray the nature of the Holocaust and Amis should be praised for attempting to do so.

The novel is verbose and absolutely brilliant. Amis writes with an audacious satiric voice about mass psychosis and personal hate and anger and the result is sheer brilliance.

“CANNIBAL”— Pain, Precision, Loneliness and Redemption

cannibal

“Cannibal” ( “Caníbal” )

Pain, Precision, Loneliness and Redemption

Amos Lassen

Manuel Martin Cuenca brings us a dark film about the life of Carlos, the most respected tailor in Granada, Spain with a macabre hobby. When her twin sister disappears, Nina comes to town to look for her and this puts Carlos in a rough position—“will Nina be yet another victim in his fruitless, fatal search for love, or will she be the first to show him just what it means to forge a true connection to someone else?”

The film begins with the perspective of a serial killer and we watch a car chase that ends with the car upside-down in a ditch and a streak of blood on the highway. We then see a girl lying naked on a table in a cabin somewhere in the mountains of Andalusia.

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 We are then introduced to Carlos (Antonio de la Torre) and the women he feasts on for his supper. He lives a routine life and the little quirks of that life provide a look into his psyche that at first seems to be taken from a serial killer’s handbook. For him, murder is just another thing to fit into a schedule that includes trips to the car wash, appointments with prospective clients, and bingo dates with an old woman. At a local church, he accepts an assignment to repair an immaculately detailed cloth, after which Aurora (María Alfonsa Rosso) stubbornly reveals that that material is too “sacred” for Carlos to handle. Carlos insists on his opportunity to repair it and ultimately he threatens her. It is here that we get a hint that his taste for human flesh is nit just a clandestine activity and we also become aware of his other psychoses that reflect his issues with his dead father, his trouble with women and his Catholic guilt.

As the film continues, Carlos murders his upstairs neighbor, Alexandra (Delphine Tempels), following a fight that the masseuse has with one of her clients, and entertains a romantic relationship with the woman’s sister, Nina (Olimpia Melinte). We see the importance of religion while at the same time we learn of the decline of tradition in Spain. Carlos regards his tailoring as something of a religious experience and it, like tradition, is floundering.  We see it as something of a vestige of a way of life that is dying. Watching Carlos’s indifference as he prays seems to let us know that he may never succeed at being resurrected as someone who can subsist on carbohydrates. His cannibalism is a difficult to understand metaphor. There appears to be a connection between his taste for flesh and his negative sex feelings.

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This is a slow moving character study and instead of concentrating on Carlos’s hobby of eating flesh, the director shares his day-to-day activities that are quite conventional. When the film ended I was left wondering about what I had just seen and I realized that the film is, at its core, about the relationship that forms between a straight-laced, uptight guy and a flighty, impulsive woman. The tenseness and suspense of the film is consuming yet we never really achieve any kind of resolution.

“SAFE”— A Terrifying Film

safe

“Safe”

A Terrifying Film

Amos Lassen

“Safe” has long been out of print and therefore difficult to see but now we get a beautifully remastered edition from Criterion and aside from the film itself, there are many extra features (including an extremely rare 1978 short film by Todd Haynes. Julianne Moore’s performance as Carol White, a Los Angeles housewife has been praised as one  of the great female performances.  Set in the 1980s, White has a debilitating illness and the doctors cannot give her a clear diagnosis. She begins to believe that she has “frighteningly extreme environmental allergies”. The movie itself can be seen as a metaphor for the AIDS crisis and as a drama about class and society as well as a horror film about those threats that we cannot see. It has been said that this is one of the most terrifying films ever made.

The horror comes from an abstruse place where suburban drudgery gives way to a self-inflicted, existential crisis. The  narrative is far from typical and its protagonist, Carol White is painfully not extraordinary. She is a marginal housewife whose slight frame seems to wither beneath her. Carol is privileged yet disconnected from everything in her life—her husband, her friends, even her stepson. She seems to be little more than a fixture in her sterile home.

We first meet Carol when she and her husband are having loveless sex. The following morning she is seen cutting back her rose bushes and waiting for the delivery of new sofas. She is quite the beauty and director, Todd Haynes furnishes his story with realism and sympathy rather than irony or satirical wit. We see the  film’s ’80s milieu via a sickening color-palette saturated with lavenders, teals and salmon-pinks and a selection of only the most frivolous music from the era. Carol appears to be dreading life because she has not yet lived.

Carol is no doubt sickened by her own life and gradually becomes hypersensitive to her environment and the material things that have come to define the fabric of her existence. Eventually, her unexplained illness leads her to Wrenwood, a non-profit communal settlement co-founded by Claire Fitzpatrick (Kate McGregor-Stewart) and Peter Dunning (Peter Friedman), a chemically sensitive man living with AIDS whose “perspective is incredibly vast.” The warmth and acknowledgement Carol receives in her first hours at Wrenwood are in striking juxtaposition to the loneliness and despondency of her everyday life. The pretenses of Carol’s life are stripped away but just as she begins to reestablish her identity, she begins to lose herself to the group.

Haynes has the view that taking care of one’s own illness brings about security and safety in a chaotic world where suffering is dealt out in a seemingly arbitrary fashion. He says, “Viewers of film have extraordinary powers: they can make life out of reflections on the wall.” The revelation that Dunning lives in a mansion on a hill high above Wrenwood is presumably supposed to make us see the character as corrupt. But this very response is engrained in an even more perverted notion that those who provide a healing service (teachers, priests, counselors) should not take money from those they help. To earn our respect, Dunning must live in poverty and martyrdom. Regardless of Wrenwood’s political implications, Carol’s cultivates an allegiance to the group and this affords her the ability to look inside herself and own her disease.

When the film first came out, it was misunderstood but since then it has gained quite a following and is regarded as a queer independent classic.

 This indie classic  was greatly misunderstood at the time of its release but has gone on to garner a huge cult following and garner a reputation as a subversively queer indie classic.

Carol’s disease transforms her protected upper-middle-class existence into one of terror as her life threatens her health. What Haynes looks at here is the complacency of suburban living, alienation and industrial pollution. We are reminded of the early days of AIDS and this is disturbing. The DVD extras include:

Audio commentary: Audio commentary featuring Haynes, actor Julianne Moore, and producer Christine Vachon

      Interview(s): New conversation between Haynes and Moore

      Bonus film: The Suicide, a 1978 short film by Haynes

      Original theatrical trailer

      Essay: An essay by critic Dennis Lim

      Interview(s): New interview with Vachon