JOSEPH GRAHAM — BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING — 2015
Rough and powerful, viscous and fluid, hot and freezingly fearful. A film of pure contrast and even opposition. I just wonder if the full unity we reach at the end is not the result of the sordid and yet pathetic conflicts and tearing up passions and feelings in all the characters all along.
A gallery of something like five main characters around whom the existential situation or situations revolves or revolve. Brian is a poet. Jim is just a lover to Drew, a sculptor, but this Jim has a flimsy episode with Brian and another with the older man (the older man’s own lover when he was young died in Vietnam), Bob Williams who does not want intercourse actually but only some gay company to reminisce and cultivate his nostalgia, the only way for him to feel happy. And finally Sergio who is going to be the morning-after consolation gift to Brian after he has spent the night roaming around with a lover who runs away, an ex-lover turned straight who kicks him out, Jim who terminates the relation after his own hormonal satisfaction. Sergio accepts a relation, accepts to speak and tell his story provided he can do what he likes, hold Brian like a human doll you love and embrace and touch and caress.
The first turning point in the film is the poem Brian finally manages to write after having been kicked out by his ex-lover turned straight and other failed episodes. The poem is about “Your Name” meaning the name of the man he loves but no particular name at all. It remains generic and yet each line is what this name brings into Brian’s mind. This turns the film into a gay urban 21st century Walt Whitman’s “Song of myself,” or rather in this case “Song of yourself.” It projects us into that generic character with a generic name who has only one defining characteristic, he is loved by and he loves Brian, and as such opens up doors, gates and windows for us to get into the world of love.
The second turning point is the time spent by Jim with Bob Williams, drinking some, making half a strip tease, dancing with and for Bob, reminiscing life, Bob thinking of his dead lover of a long time ago who he has not been able to forget and yet who needs Jim to be reactivated in Bob’s memory, and Jim just dancing with Bob, then dancing for Bob and finally stripping for Bob and speaking of his desire to be protected by Drew and yet not to be possessed though the divide is very fuzzy. But at this moment we can finally feel empathetically that the characters are coming to some consciousness that intercourse is nothing but hormonal desire whereas love is a passion that burns inside and possesses or even haunts your mind.
No lecture about it but a clear succession of episodes showing how brittle intercourse is and how strong love could be, with or without any hormonal satisfaction. That is strange how the 21st century is discovering what has been known by the Buddhists for centuries, since Buddha himself who stands in contrast with the Hindus who cultivate, in their Kamasutra and in their gods, physical intercourse as a basically and defining human and divine, human because divine, activity.
For Buddha love is a great human achievement whereas physical or even physiological attachment and satisfaction are nothing of any value since the individual is only attracted by the body of the lover and not the mind, the illumination even or attempt to reach that enlightenment that is residing only in the mind of the person you love and who loves you. The call of the flesh is excessive attachment for the Buddhists whereas the empathy and love from the mind to the mind of the other is a gate to enlightenment. At times though, this mental dimension can be slightly cold, but it is mental and has to be enjoyed in your mind, not in your toes, walking away, running away or escaping the call of the flesh you are not able to control.
That spiritual dimension in this film is utmost and brilliant. It makes us desire to love other people just for the pleasure of feeling the mind, the passions and the empathy of all these others, with maybe one standing out now and then, at times for long periods, at times forever, even after death them does part.
The exclusively gay situation among men only is thus a friendly discovery for those who do not know about it and a homely welcoming warmth for those of us who have experienced this mental and passionate state. A film that should be shown and discussed, along with others of course of different orientations, with all teenagers, as soon as 15 according to the rating of the DVD.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU