gay sex and terrorism unite in trademark Bruce LaBruce style
As the first dvd release on Peccadillo Pictures new BadCat label, Peccadillo have chosen wisely and opted for the work of the BadBoy of gay cinema himself, namely Bruce LaBruce
and his controversial 2004 feature The Raspberry Reich.
Mixing political commentary and satire with 'images of an intimate nature,' LaBruce tells the story of revolutionary leader Gudrun whose fight against capitalism, war and oppression is seemingly more of a sexual kind, seeking as-she-does to liberate her fellow revolutionaries from the shackles of their heterosexuality, by forcing them to engage in acts of a homosexual nature. Only it would appear that this bunch of hetero terrorists are far from hesitant when it comes to getting in touch with their gay side, along the way falling in love with each other. Enraged by their acceptance of monogamy gay style, Gudrun resorts to Plan B, one that involves The Reich kidnapping the son of Germany's wealthiest banker. Only when the victim is more than happy to embrace their cause, having fallen in love with one of his kidnappers, what's a terrorist to do but replace her rallying war cry of 'heterosexuality is the opiate of the masses' with the proclamation that the revolution is, how you say - postponed!
Pushing the boundary between cinema and pornography to its outer edge, LaBruce delights in delivering a film in which the only difference between its more hardcore alternative are strategically positioned images of Tony Blair and George W Bush in places where they certainly haven't been seen before! That LaBruce has a lot to say is not in doubt, given line after line of dialogue fills the screen, although whether his message comes across in a coherent way is another issue, given the meaning of the opening recitation
from the Qur'an may well be lost in this feast of flesh.
That said and unlike his previous works, here LaBruce laces his cinematic offering with a strong sense of humour and if anything, some quite tender moments. That the majority of these scenes soon develop into acts of a sexually explicit nature, can leave no-one in any doubt as to what is on offer here, given this work is certainly not for those offended by the depiction of men photographed in, well as FAQS director Everett Lewis might well say, 'passionate positions.'
Only if pornography and a terrorist agenda make for unlikely bedfellows, then under LaBruce's direction they seen to merge into one, giving way to a series of ideological comments voiced by actors whose performances are amateurish at best, matching in many ways certain aspects of the film itself. That the end result is pure in-your-face cinema, filled as it is with images of guns, erections and raw sex was guaranteed in advance of the opening reel being set in motion. Yet this equally remains an entertaining work; albeit in a provocative sexually overt manner, being in effect a stark reminder of just how confrontational new queer cinema used to be and clearly still is, in the hands of one Bruce LaBruce!
screened as part of the 18th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2004