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A passionately committed young dancer is forced to re-examine his career and life when faced with death, finding hope through an older man who becomes his lover, mentor and companion. Written by
(at around 1h 30 mins) When the chaps who call them "lousy poofters" go past, when Tonio says 'I am angry', the two chaps turn the corner onto another path by a litter bin, but in the next shot they are still on the same path, with no bin in sight. See more »
At the "end of the day," love is really all that matters
Shown here on HBO Signature as "Alive and Kicking," I've seen this film twice now, and I marvel at how well it was put together, and how incredible it is that it never received the notices or exposure it should have...but not that incredible. My guess is that States-side audiences, gay and otherwise, weren't quite ready for such an unconventional love story, in which AIDS is definitely an issue, but not the sole focal point of the story.
The tale revolves around the coupling of an HIV-infected, self-absorbed dancer (is there any other kind?) with the bearish, balding, hard-partying AIDS therapist who was treating one of the dancer's closest friends, who has just passed away as the movie unfolds.
Gay American filmmakers who didn't get a clue from movies like BEAUTIFUL THING, PRISCILLA or THE LOST LANGUAGE OF CRANES should've paid more attention here. The barriers between these two radically different people are given an honest presentation, and AIDS just happens to be one of them. No one is more surprised or stunned than these lovers are, (except maybe the audience), at the level of passion, tenderness, concern and brutal honesty that they unearth from one another's bodies and souls.
Rather than the idyllic romance of two Soloflexed beauties, the differences in personality and body type both clash and compliment the two men, and the excellent performances by Jason Flemyng as Tonio, the dancer, and the curmudgeonly-yet-cuddly Antony Sher as his new love keep the scenario real without disintegrating into queenly histrionics or maudlin manipulation.
The entire supporting cast is excellent, but special mention should be made of stage-and-screen vet Dorothy Tutin as Luna, the founder and lioness of the dance company of which Tonio is a part. Experiencing her own 'Indian Summer', the once-innovative choreographer is only spared the agony of watching in helpless anguish as this century's plague continues to decimate the ranks of her once vital company, due to the ironic cruelty of an ever-advancing case of Alzheimer's. Tutin never plays the role for obvious laughs, and the ghost of a once-great creative force that she shows us does elicit smiles, but sad, nostalgic ones.
Lovers of films "off-the-beaten-path" of any sexual persuasion should give this one a try. The rewards are worth it.
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