Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lucky Blue (Swedish TV, 2007)

by Mark Gabrish Conlan • Copyright © 2009 by Mark Gabrish Conlan • All rights reserved

Charles had screened an interesting half-hour movie for me: Lucky Blue, a coming-out short shot for Swedish television in 2007 which takes place on a farm. Directed and written by Håkon Liu (the last name had both of us wondering if he was the son of Chinese immigrants to Sweden), Lucky Blue — the title refers to a pet parrot that escapes during the course of the film but eventually comes back — is set on a Swedish farm whose owners, Kjelle (Johan Friberg) and Amanda (Michaela Berner), are setting up an outdoor stage for a karaoke party. The relationships of the people in this film took a little time to sort out but eventually it emerged that tall, dark-haired, handsome and relatively butch Olle (Tobias Bengtsson) is their son and Kevin (Tobias Bengtsson) is a house guest who’s traveling for the summer (Kevin is 16, Olle is 17 and they’re on summer break from school) with someone named Barbro (Britta Andersson).

The movie is a sort of extended flirtation between Olle and Kevin — Olle is, or at least thinks of himself as, straight while Kevin is already so aware of his Gayness that in the opening scene he is shown kissing his own image in a mirror in an almost exact visual quote from Funeral Parade of Roses, a quite dire Japanese film about Gays from 1969 (though the Japanese version is even kinkier because the Gay teenager is also a budding drag queen, so he’s kissing himself in the mirror while wearing lipstick he’s appropriated from his mother) — and it was a bit disorienting in that the central actors and the settings look so much like the stuff of Gay porn you end up thinking, “Cut the preliminaries and start having sex already!” Nonetheless, it’s an interesting little movie which Charles probably responded to even more than I did, mainly because he was a Gay teenager and I wasn’t (I didn’t really become aware of my Gay side until I was 24) and he had all the little adolescent crushes that seem so big at that time — only he had them on guys, and added to all the anxious worries endemic to sexual awakening anyway (“Will that person really like me?”) were the ones unique to the same-sex loving: “Are they Gay? Are they straight?” (Straight adolescents generally only have to worry about rejection; Queer adolescents have to worry not only about rejection but about the rejection taking the form of physical violence.)

The film reminded me of the quite nice French Gay feature, Come Undone, which Charles and I watched some years ago and which impressed me at the time as a refreshing antidote to Brokeback Mountain (which for all its being hailed as a ground-breaking Gay movie was still the old, dreary tale of two men falling into socially disapproved love and one of them ending up dead while the other ended up totally devastated and emotionally wasted inside); what Come Undone and Lucky Blue had in common was an acceptance of homosexuality as a normal reality of life, not some horrible fate either to be rejected at all costs or anguished over for years of misery and finally, only grudgingly accepted — and both films depicted their Gay characters as not so different from adolescent straight boys going through similar emotional angst over girls.