a film by Alexander Grigorenko
2011 | 103 mins | US
›› A Heaven for Queers
a decidedly fresh approach to religion v homosexuality.
A Heaven for Queers by Alexander Grigorenko
Adapted Synopsis:-

On the brink of adulthood, lifelong friends Matthew and Brandon are forced to reconcile their love for one another with their evangelical upbringing, courtesy of an innocent video game encounter that is destined to set in motion a tumultuous journey of self-discovery.

Dave Says:-

Walking the tightrope of religion v homosexuality is a path so often tread, both in real life and on film, that you could be mistaken for thinking that you've seen it all before. Well not in this case. For here man of many talents Alexander Grigorenko makes his directorial debut, along the way taking a decidedly fresh approach to the subject in hand.

A Heaven for Queers by Alexander Grigorenko
For this is a film that is proudly indie through and through and what it lacks by way of budget, is more than compensated for in surprises, as the live action of the piece is strikingly cross-cut with animation, courtesy of the artistic pen of Alexander Shevchenko, only for the narrative to then interact with the odd production number or two, or even three, including the song "Jesus in My Pants." An apt title if ever there was one, given here Grigorenko cuts to the Christian core of his work, by acutely showcasing the two-edged sword of a religious calling that for all too many, is seemingly forever in conflict with their homosexual heart.

Yet and as this film poignantly illustrates, such need not be the case, with Grigorenko having gone out of his way to show two young men reconciling their religion, with their intense love for one another. For it is here that the indie nature of this feature works in its favour, as its clear low budget results in a raw, almost reality feel to the whole experience, all of which makes the emotional growing pains that the two young men are going through, all the more vivid.

Only here leads Aaron Judge as Matthew and the ever vibrant Alex (BearCity) Di Dio as lover boy Brandon are soon to be found more than just reciting their daily prayers, given it is all but rampantly obvious that the two have the hots for each other, even if and for all of the porno styled sex talk between them, the film remains coy when it comes to male nudity. That said and to the boy's credit, they relentlessly get down to some seriously sensuous lip-service, as scene after scene of man-on-man lip-caressing make their incessant words of love, all but superfluous.

Sure, there's some negatives in the mix; scenes that could have done with a trim or two, let alone the number of actors that didn't make the final print, actually outnumbering the five who did. An odd equation, given the reality of a key scene in which Grigorenko could well have done with another actor on set, only to have had to resort to a spot of casting improvisation. But that said, this is a film with a big heart and whilst the scenarios played out are more than familiar, cue coming out, religious wrath, parental rejection etc., Grigorenko is nevertheless determined to put on a show and a romantic one at that too, filled as it is with a series of beautifully tender moments between the boys, sequences that it has to be said are juxtaposed with some educationally direct animation; think rhymes with "swimming" and you get the theme.

Quirky, sexy and bursting with in-your-face vibe; frankly it has the word "indie" stamped all over it; that of the story of a committed same-sex couple, who just happen to be Christian. Praise the Lord, indeed.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - strictly from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 2+ stars. 

›› Available to buy from Amazon.com.
available on DVD as part of the Autumn Rain catalogue: 26.November.2012 / US.
starring: Aaron Judge / Matthew, Alex Di Dio / Brandon, Joe Konigsberg / Chuck,
Kevin Stone / Hunter Ramrod and Marc Lippman as Tommy.
with the voice of Alexander Grigorenko as Matthew's Dad.
official website:
Copyright 2013 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #2013006
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