›› Little Gay Boy, ChrisT is dead
a short film by Antony Hickling and Amaury Grisel.
2012 | 30 mins | France.
principal players: Gaëtan Vettier / Jean-Christophe, Biño Sauitzvy / the Dancer, Amanda Dawson / the Mother, François Brunet / the 1st Photographer, Axel Sourisseau / the Métro Aggressor, Alvaro Lombard / the 2nd Photographer, Steve Shagov / the Shop Owner, Laeticia Lada / the Dominatrix and with Hervé Joseph Lebrun as the Devil and Christine Steinitz as God.
Official Synopsis: "Over the course of one unusual day, Jean-Christophe endures a series of abusive encounters that will change him forever. His youthful innocence is changed to hardened experience, as his dreams are destroyed by those around him."
Gay cinema has always been controversial, not least by tackling many a topic that mainstream cinema so often shies away from. And this sexually in-your-face short film from writer and co-director Antony Hickling is certainly that, given the subject under discussion is the emotive issue of degradation.
The life and sadomasochistic times of a troubled soul, in Little Gay Boy, ChrisT is dead.
So cue the life of the Little Gay Boy of the title; namely Gaëtan Vettier as all-round cutie Jean-Christophe who finds himself in a downward spiral of humiliation. Beginning on the Paris métro, he's soon to be subjected to the homophobic abuse of a fellow passenger, to be thereafter urinated on by his employer, before ending up in a sexual sling, manacle style, in a darkroom somewhere in the backstreets of Pigalle, a far cry from the sacred purity of the Sacré-Cœur. Add in scenes in which he's forced to fend off the incestuous advances of his English prostitute of an obese mother, subject to the whipping hand of a dominatrix, together with a sequence in which he's duped into stripping naked by a so-called fashion photographer with only one "can you pull your pants down a little?" thing on his mind, and you get the picture.
Yet it's a picture that strikingly juxtaposes its overt S&M imagery, with religious symbolism, let alone a dance sequence in which the artiste, painted pure white at first, finds his body becoming more bloodstained red after each act of degradation, as the troubled soul of a young man openly bleeds into the celluloid. And it's that moralistic element to the piece that underpins the narrative, even if you're not quite sure if J-C's sadomasochistic experiences are the rampant sexual fantasies of a young man in heat, or are real, and if so, whether such are by chance or by his own making, given it's highly unlikely that anyone could stumble into so many acts of humiliation, in one day.
Whatever way, the end result is clearly and to state the obvious, not going to be to everyone's cinematic, or even sexual taste for that matter. That said, here I'm nevertheless joyfully reminded of the very spirit of New Queer Cinema, given Hickling has delivered a work that frankly is stunningly artistic in parts. Wonderfully experimental, this marks the second of three short films charting the life and sadomasochistic times of Jean-Christophe, the trilogy of which is now compiled into the feature of the same name, one that is sure to provoke, shock and delight audiences in equal measure. It is however beautifully Jarman-esque, at times.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - sexually explicit.
Overall - file under ... subjective.