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Head On (1998)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 2,767 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 30 critic

A 19 year old Greek Australian youth struggles with his sexual identity and has one clumsy heterosexual and several homosexual encounters.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ari
...
Sean
Elena Mandalis ...
Betty
Tony Nikolakopoulos ...
Dimitri
Damien Fotiou ...
Joe
Eugenia Fragos ...
Sophia
Chris Kaglaros ...
Groom (as Chris Kagiaros)
Dora Kaskanis ...
Dina
María Mercedes ...
Tasia
Alex Papps ...
Peter
William Zappa ...
Vassili (as Vassili Zappa)
Andrea Mandalis ...
Alex
Ourania Sideropoulos ...
Bride
Anthony Lyritzis ...
Boy in Car
Ana Gonzalez ...
Woman Sweeping
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Storyline

Nineteen-year-old Ari confronts both his sexuality and his Greek family. Ari despises his once-beloved parents, former radical activists, for having entombed themselves in insular tradition. Ari is obsessed with gay sex, although he does make an unenthusiastic attempt to satisfy the sister of one of his best friends. While all of this is going on, he's facing problems with his traditional Greek parents, who have no clue about his sexual activities. Written by L.H. Wong <lhw@sfs.org.sg>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

full on - all night - come on

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 August 1998 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Head On  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$14,224 (USA) (13 August 1999)

Gross:

$378,667 (USA) (5 May 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(flashbacks)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

In a sex scene between Aria and Dina, the actress' sweater is buttoned closed but her body double's sweater is fully open. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ari: They tell you that God is dead but, man, they still want you to have a purpose. They say look at your parents: hard-working migrants, work two jobs, struggle all your life, buy your kids a house... there, that's purpose. They tell you to be a doctor, a teacher, be creative, do something, believe in something, believe in family and the future, save the world, believe in love, but, fuck it, I'm no scholar, I'm no worker, I'm no poet.
See more »

Connections

References The Grifters (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Genithika gia na pono
(I Was Born to Be Hurt)
by Vasilis Tsitsanis, Konstandinos Virvos
Performed by the haBiBis
accordion: George Kiriakidis
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Refreshingly Disconcerting
24 September 2001 | by (Santa Cruz, CA) – See all my reviews

After getting thoroughly discouraged by the (lack of) quality of films that hit the gay circuit/film fests, this one reaffirmed my faith that a film can include gay subject matter and shed light on the human condition without compromising artistic vision. GLAAD's bevvy of media Nazi's hasn't completely destroyed cinema, but you do have to look outside the US to find it. Of course, the fact that it's a straight woman from Australia that directed this gem should surprise no one. In fact, it seems that the only good films that include homo themes are made outside the US. Most US films on this circuit are made & consumed by bourgeois gay men, for whom the ideal life & dramatic interest is replaying "The Big Chill" but with a gay twist (the straight version wasn't any good, why would a gay one be worthwhile?). Head On succeeds because it presents its subject matter (the pain & difficulty in dealing with one's sexuality as an ethnic minority) honestly. In spite of the existence of many social & political organizations, the gay "community" (a misnomer if there ever was one) is hardly a welcome wagon for ethnic minorities, suffering the consequences of racism, economic disenfranchisement, etc. Let's face it, gay men spend more time in bars & seeking casual sex than they do in helping someone find a job or housing, so any comments that this portrayal is "negative" are clearly missing the point of the film.

In spite of the development of many organizations in this day & age, men have become sexual objects more than ever before (moreso for ethnic minorities who are often fetishisized for their ethnicity). This makes Ari's character quite appropriate. The world of gay running clubs & PFLAG meetings are just as invisible to Ari as he is to them (except of course if he were to take his shirt off).

He bounces back & forth between the world of johns & drag queens/drugs with the world of his family........neither of which he finds comforting. In such a scenario, sex is more of a release of frustration or an attempt at bonding which was doomed before it started. He blows the one chance he has to change this precisely because he never had the tools/experience to handle a relationship. Though the film is emotionally draining (not necessarily a bad feature), it is true to its subject. Anyone who denies this is not being truthful to themselves.


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