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A glamorous, colourful coming-of-age story that follows the dramatic journey of Frank, a high school kid in 1984, through an exciting world of sex and music, where his deep new passion is suddenly turned into a struggle for courage facing a new disease - the "gay cancer" - and becomes deep, true love in the expectancy of his friend's horrible death and beyond. Written by
Jean-Claude Schlim & Christian Thiry
An amateurish mess and an insult to the history of HIV/AIDS
If good intentions were everything then this film would be great. A comedy drama about the early years of AIDS set in a decadent Amsterdam cabaret/strip club. Unfortunately when a film is so ineptly conceived and made on every level, it ends up doing a disservice to the issues it raises and when it gets exposure in a prime spot at a major Gay and Lesbian film festival whose future is under thread, then it does a disservice to the future a gay film festivals as well.
The best I can say about the film is that is is professionally shot, but otherwise nothing here works. Why is the film set in Amsterdam when obviously nothing was shot there ? I'm all fine with low budget film-making but if there isn't any money, why not adjust the style of the film to the budget. Instead this sorry mess keeps aiming high only to fall short again and again. We get melodrama ( a death is foreshadowed by a clip of Sirk's Imitation of Life, just so we get it), garish flashbacks, a musical numbers, gross out humour, but all of it is done badly and nothing coheres into consistent tone.
The main culprit here is the terrible screenplay, full of one dimensional gay stereotypes we have seen a billion times before. Everything is sign posted and spelt out in terrible dialog. The two uncharismatic leads must have been purely cast for their abs, because the acting here is so embarrassingly bad, it would put a school play to shame. I have no idea how Stephen Fry (whose phone call to France got some unintentional laughs) and Udo Kier let themselves be roped in. The only thing that looks reasonably professional are a couple of animated birds by German comic artist Rolf Koenig, but what they are doing here I'm at a loss to understand.
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