Judas Kiss breaks new groundHelge Janssen
Helge Janssen: The US film Judas Kiss is part of the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in KZN.
This film is a surreal investigation (using a technique of parallel dimensions which doesn’t always work) into past decisions, past damages and the effects the experiences have had on one’s future.
A man, Zachary Wells (Charlie David) who is sent to judge a film competition, encounters a young man named Danny Reyes (a brooding ambitious teen-angst Richard Harmon played to perfection) in whom he sees himself. This propels him to investigate his past and to come to terms with events that happened at this same time in his own life. Zachary’s film, entitled Judas Kiss (the same title as Danny’s film - and hence the title of this film) had won the award some 15 years previously under dubious circumstances. The kickback of this created guilt that persistently threaded through him, causing him to labour under a cloud, preventing him from enjoying the life he has. It seems clear to him that Danny is about to follow a path similar to his. He thus intervenes.
Underlined herein is the empowering aspect of how a psychological examination of one’s past, when done with integrity, is able to heal the present. Central to this is to love and to forgive oneself for past errors of judgment. Youth has a way of not seeing clearly and thus has to pay the price for ill-considered decisions … some of which are outside of one's control. In the initial focus of this film ambition overrides consideration. The film thus shoulders a very brave task.
What is refreshing about this movie is that, while the story revolves around gay men, it takes place in a context where heterosexuals just don’t seem to feature. I find this a wonderful reversal of the accepted heterosexual films where homosexuality is non-existent. In a sense this is a mainstream film, with characters that happen to be gay. As such the film breaks new ground.
The subplot is very intriguing. With the devastating good looks of porn star Brent Corrigan (real name Sean Paul Lockhart) playing Chris as part of the love triangle between the ambitious Danny and the wealthy, seemingly shallow sexy Shane (Timo Descamps), there is enough cinematic interest to keep the viewer transfixed. The ensemble acting is flawless and is the primary satisfying energy that carries this film. Sadly, Sean Paul Lockhart is under-utilized and is definitely moresome. Here he is sheer virgin innocence personified and when, via research, I discovered his background, you could have blown me away – no pun intended! No wonder he has won virtually every category possible for a porn star!
However I have to admit to being disappointed at the dénouement. The build-up does not satisfy and the shocking event pivotal to the disturbance at the dark and hidden core is insufficiently dealt with. With this revelation yet another unexpected dimension is added. The script takes on more than it can chew.
Judas Kiss - 2010 USA, J.T. Tepnapa – Director
Rating: 6 ½/10
GAY AND LESBIAN FILM FESTIVAL, KZN ART GALLERY 28 OCTOBER TO 6 NOVEMBER
8pm Friday 28 October – PINK AFRICAN PREMIER AND OPENNG NIGHT FILM. THE OFFICIAL OPENING PARTY FOLLOWS!
8pm Wednesday 2 November
8pm Saturday 5 November
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