a film by Patrick McGuinn
2006 | 92 mins | US
›› Sun Kissed
a sexually charged, if surreal ode to gay love
Sun Kissed by Patrick McGuinn Ejaculating with homoeroticism and in particular in the form of the prime cut of man-beef that is Gregory Marcel, here we find writer and director Patrick McGuinn deliver a tale that is as confusing, as it is beautifully sensuous.

For here cue the life and times of budding novelist Teddy, a man who facing writer's block is more than happy to accept his former English professor / agent's offer of spending a week or two at his isolated desert retreat so as to rest, unwind and let creative prose flow. Only Teddy is not alone, as he is soon to be greeted by Leo; the enigmatic caretaker of the place who helps Teddy settle in and in more ways than one, bathed as they are in enough sunshine to loosen shirts and a lot more besides. But who is this man of mystery and is his life story, stranger than fiction?

With McGuinn on record as wanting to create a film that "had the same level of disorientation and alienation that one might feel in the morning, when one wakes up," perhaps it is of no surprise that this windswept depiction of homosexual love is hard to follow, as scene after scene of gay affection is intercut with visions of bloodshed and violence. Only here, the cinematic jigsaw is so fragmented that the scenario upon which the film is built is difficult, if near impossible to see through all the twists and flashback turns of a piece, laden with a series of questions over what is real and what is imagined.

Sun Kissed by Patrick McGuinn That said, what is lost by way of a perplexing narrative, is more than compensated for in terms of erotic photography, given this is one of the most overtly gay works to hit the screen in a long time, filled as-it-is with lingering camera shots of the male physique, let alone seemingly endless scenes of the two leads homoerotically hosing each other down in typical Jarman Super-8 fashion. To that end, John Ort as Teddy and Gregory Marcel as Leo appear only too happy to show off their physical assets, with Marcel relishing in some passionate man-on-man lip-service. Not that Ort is reserved on that front, having previously starred in McGuinn's 2001 short Soda Pop and who here equally gets down to the bare requirements of the plot. Only into such a mix, McGuinn adds Laura Leigh as Leo's wife Cheryl. And it is here that the film's narrative hits home, given her "dead or alive" sequences result in its surreal gay killer thriller status, given this is but a sexually charged ode to gay love, delivered knife-edge style. It is also a guilty pleasure of sun-drenched man-candy. Need more be said?

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - sexually sensuous. 
Overall - file under ... 3 stars. 
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue: 26.January.2009.
starring: John Ort, Gregory Marcel, Laura Leigh, George Stoll, Dyanne Asimow, Josh Kanuck and Michael M Hong.
dedicated to the memories of John Harrington and Stephan de Leon.
Copyright 2009 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #190
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