Ira Sach's new film, Keep the Lights On, follows the decade-long relationship between two men who meet on a New York phone-sex line in 1998. It includes explicit sex and copious drug use; it also includes domestic squabbles, quotidian work hassles and meals with friends, straight and gay. No one comes out or dies, and everything is shown with the same fluid, elegant transparency. "I feel very few films convey the communal nature of urban life these days, the lack of boundaries," Sachs says. "'Those are the gays over there' – that's not how we live any more."
Keep the Lights On is at once very good and conspicuously ordinary. Like several other recent features about gay characters by gay directors, it deploys naturalism – often shooting handheld in found locations