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Charlie takes an odyssey through grief during a fall weekend in New York City. His encounters are planned and chance: with a homeless man who sleeps by his building, with a friend who's dying, with the couple who lives (and noisily loves) in the flat above him, with a bartender and a one-night-stand he follows home, and with a tattooed stranger whom he seeks out and befriends. Along the way, Charlie inhabits a city full of moments of violence and of stories and legends: a kidney thief, a microwaved poodle, a rat in a hot dog bun, a baby left on a car top, a tourist's toothbrush, needles in public-phone change slots. Charlie lives and tells his own stories. What caused his melancholy? Written by
A refreshing departure from the c**p that is most gay films
If you're tired of gay-themed movies about groups of catty, superficial gays backstabbing each other over guys and then offering platitudes of eternal friendship, or treacly movies about English schoolboys in love set against the gritty urban backdrop of their working-class neighborhood, or movies about a fabulous woman's best friend who is clean-cut, bitchy, and dresses to the height of fashion but is in no way a gay stereotype AT ALL, then Urbania is for you. It stands apart from every gay-themed movie I've seen in that it's unsentimental, free of the feel-good sentiment almost every other gay movie is terrified to be without, and is a challenging piece of writing and film. It's the first gay movie I've seen that doesn't bend over backwards to excuse the fact that it's gay.
This is a movie that is impossible to synopsize without giving away its biggest plot point, but suffice to say it's refreshing to see a movie that takes the depth and intellect of its gay characters for granted, and also assumes a decent level of intelligence of its audience. The movie contains complex characterizations and a challenging structure, exploring the dark side of human nature, especially the nature of those who have dealt with a number of additional issues revolving around being gay. This film begins a mile and a half past the starting point of other gay movies, who still seem stuck desperately trying to peddle a "Gay is Okay" agenda. The acting in this movie is also good, especially the main character, and the editing and cinematography keep the viewing experience tense and exciting.
I did not enjoy watching this movie, the way one enjoys, say, "Godzilla 2000." It's a harrowing and difficult film. But it's wonderful to see a movie like this coming out; one that is challenging and unsentimental, a real, thought-provoking work of film that happens to take gay men and their issues as its topic. It's a big step forward for gay film, and makes almost all other gay-themed films look as horribly amateurish, or just plain horrible, as they are.
--- Check out website devoted to bad, cheesy and gay movies: www.cinemademerde.com
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