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directed by Bruce La Bruce
USA 2013

 

Young Lake (Pier-Gabriel Lajoie) is starting to believe that there is something very wrong with him. In his gap year along with feminist girlfriend Désirée (Katie Boland, TV's REIGN) - who considers Winona Ryder a hero since "Shoplifting is always revolutionary" - the two are trying to keep body and soul together. Désirée has found work at a bookstore belonging to a lecherous fan of Canadian feminist authors (Brian D. Wright) while Lake hastily quits a job as a lifeguard after getting an erection while performing mouth-to-mouth on an elderly drowning victim. Fed up with dancing, his mother Marie (Marie-Hélène Thibault) takes up a customer's offer of a job at the old folks' home "Coup de Coeur", and she secures a position for Lake as an orderly. Although taciturn Nurse Baptiste (Yardly Kavanagh, WHITE HOUSE DOWN) discourages Lake getting too close to the patients, and co-worker Kevin (Jean-Alexandre Létourneau) does not bother to conceal his disgust for sponge-bathing patients and changing their bedpans, Lake finds himself growing close to "old queen" Melvyn Peabody (Walter Borden). Initially attracted to the Melvin's aged body, Lake (who has heretofore never questioned his sexual identity) gets to know the man over nights of gin rummy, strip poker, and cocktails; and starts to share his perspective of the nursing home as a prison (especially once he discovers that the patients are being given psychotropic drugs by trying them himself). When their relationship is exposed, Lake - with the help of Désirée, who is hurt but admires his revolutionary stance on the desirability of the aged - sneaks a drugged Melvyn out of the home and takes him on a road trip towards the Pacific Ocean in a rust-bucket with dwindling funds. As Melvyn enjoys living again, Lake discovers that the older man is charming to other people (including other younger men) and grows possessive and may blow their cover of a grandfather traveling with his grandson.

In spite of the subject matter, this surprisingly mainstream effort from Bruce LaBruce is not as edgy (or even pornographic) as the works for which he is better known like HUSTLER WHITE. It uses the discovery of a fetish and its alienating effects to study the emotional maturation of its protagonist as he learns to differentiate sexual attraction and love. Lake's romantic relationship with Melvyn seems more abrupt and undeveloped than the sexual aspect (given his fetish); however, the coda scene of the film demonstrates that the fetish continues without trivializing the relationship. Lajoie is a bit stiff, but his performance is workable given his growing emotional distance as well as his seeming unfamiliarity with various idioms like "pie in the sky" uttered by other characters. He is well-supported by Borden (who sacrifices no dignity as the subject of the film's fetish), Boland, Thibault, and especially Kavanagh. LaBruce injects some biting humor into the film via Boland's intellectual feminism (without actually deriding it) and through the usage of source music, the lyrics of which creep in and out of the surround mix like Pulp's "Help the Aged" and Crystal Castles' "Child I Will Hurt You" ("Keep them locked away, reduce them to strays").

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 26 March 2014 (France)

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DVD Review: Strand Releasing - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Strand Releasing

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:22:12
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.46 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English SDH, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Strand Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
� Q&A with Bruce LaBruce at MoMA (16:9; 23:25)
� Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:55)
� Strand Releasing Trailers

DVD Release Date:July 7th, 2015
Amaray

Chapters 8

 

 

 

Comments

Photographed with the Arri Alexa, GERONTOPHILIA looks quite good in standard definition on Strand Releasing's high bitrate, dual-layer, progressive, anamorphic DVD with a minimum of downscaling edge enhancement and no distortion in the fine lines of Lake's sketches. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is in keeping with the film, generally front-oriented and using the surrounds for effects and source music. The French dialogue features burnt-in subtitles while the SDH subtitles help to highlight the director's use of sometimes pointed song lyrics.

Besides the film's trailer and trailers for other Strand releases, the disc also features a Museum of Modern Art Q&A with director Bruce LaBruce in which he recalls first discovering the titular term in a book by John Waters (as well as the shock auteur's influence on his work), the mainstream approach, the casting process and production (which embodied more of a traditional industry model than his his other films), Borden's reputation as Canada's only Black Panther and as a gay and black activist, intentionally casting the least experienced of the actors auditioned for lead role, and the role of film history throughout his filmography.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Strand Releasing

Region 1 - NTSC

 



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