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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An interesting film in many ways... At the beginning the film-maker is
in awe of the Irish gay poet who she is following about and doing a
documentary on. However, when she follows him to Nepal where he goes
for 4 months every year..little by little she begins to realize that he
has an ever-growing coterie of young men (around 17 years old on
average) who he is befriending, buying all kinds of things for - and
then inviting up to his hotel room to spend the night. In the end, the
film-maker confronts him directly... after having interviewed some of
the boys he bedded. By the end of the film there is a bad taste left in
And yet... I know someone in Paris who cruises after young straight Arab and Indian youth (he's of Indian origins himself). And he gets them - so many of them and with such ease... and the guys keep coming back for more. It is usually HE who puts an end to things as he gets bored and wants someone new.
The major difference between the Irish poet in Nepal and the people this guy in Paris gets, is that the Paris guy only gives them a pack of cigarettes or some beer - and not necessarily all the time, either. If they ask for money, he gives them maximum 5 Euros, whereas the Irish poet is giving his guys astonishing sums of money (the equivalent of three months' wages in Nepal), or buying them 150 Euro bikes etc.
So - when the film-maker corners some of these kids, and they begin to complain that they didn't really want the sex, I'm not totally convinced. When asked directly, they seem to feel that they are expected to be indignant...and so they are! Yet the kids in Paris keep coming back for more without the major financial incentives that the Nepalese kids are getting. Hey, how many 17 year old males are gonna complain about frequent and easy sex? They don't seem to mind that it is a guy instead of a girl...especially if they are being the "active" partner.
So the question is... is this film-maker manipulating her audience as much as the poet seems to be manipulating the guys he picks up? The film-maker "doesn't want to moralize", but can't help mentioning that the boys are 17 and he is 50. Would she feel better if he were only 25?
One of the boys the poet picked up many years ago has been helped through school by him, and also has a jewelry shop for tourists that was completely bought by the poet. He considers the poet as his second father (his real father is dead)... and states very plainly that he loves him, and sees nothing wrong with giving back to the poet his affection and his body; he is now married (an arranged marriage) and has a child, but still feels completely linked to the poet. He states that his relationship with the poet totally changed his life - that without him he would have ended up as a poor farmer or a worker in a sweat-shop. His life is infinitely better for having known the poet... and all of this is certainly true. So in the end, who has really been harmed here, apart from the film-maker whose disappointment and standard Western value-system makes her shy away from accepting these relationships as anything except negative? As I said - an interesting film in many ways...in the hands of another film-maker, it might well have come to entirely different conclusions...
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