Wednesday, 18 February 2009

First sighting at the 2009 Mardi Gras Film Festival

As the attentive follower of this blog will be aware, getting to Were the World Mine has been high on my To Do ASAP list. It might have been over-eagerly anticipated, a flaw that Brokeback Mountain also suffered, and a flaw which can only be blamed on the viewer, not the filmmaker.
It was shown last night at the Academy Twin at Paddo where it seems there was another cinema-bulb problem: the lighting of the whole film was terribly glum.
The dispersion of musical numbers was uneven and the singing far from wonderful, especially by Wendy Robie, the unconvential drama teacher casting her own spell over her charges in an all boys' school. She had a big solo number sung with all the star quality of Mama Mia the most unmusical of musical films. Some of us may remember Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society (an unconventional English teacher casting his own spell over his charges in an all boys' school) with the magical potion of words blended in the cauldron of the classroon and poured out in the guise of poetry.
The highly improbable notion that pouring a love potion into someone's eyes is going to make them fall in love with the first person they see, no matter how improbable that choice is, is clearly the work of Shakespeare, but extended in this film to shoot cupid's arrows into the hearts of most unlikely couples, all same-sex couples, as queer and unconventional as that may sound. The boorish, thugish and stereotypical football coach falls in love with the headmaster. And his boorish, thugish and stereotypical football team, who pick on Puck terribly, fall in love with each other. Tis nice that such lads can strike an awesome ballet pose when called upon to do so. I saw this college hunk cliché in the 1979 film, Breaking Away on the plane from Dubai to Sydney last night. As straight as that film is, the director certainly fed us with some delicious eye candy. There is a very cute guy in the closing minutes of the film looking quite longingly at one of the hunk/jocks. I digress. We also remember it from Greaseand a thousand films. Clearly the makers of these films have an axe to grind, and clearly the rugby jocks are self-perpetuating, learning nothing from art, let alone from history.
Timothy-playing-Puck in the school's annual drama, Midsummer Night's Dream, had a crush on the star football player, who else(?) (played by Nathaniel David Becker, who did manage a few cute sneaky glances in his direction long before he was chemically altered. Waking from his poisoning he was unabashedly in love with the Timothy, and after the spell was reversed continued to be so, enabled/facilitated/permitted by a new world of more tolerance and understanding that derived from non-vicarious experiences of the whole community. Even some of the more aggressive footie team remained lovers for the rest of the day as the plot wound to its unsurprising yet satisfying finish.
Fairy stories that end with the start of a relationship that is articulated through that lamentable phrase and they lived happily ever after, beget a notion of foreverness which can never be taken for granted. But in the 21st century, the notion of a relationship-forever doesn't mean for the term of one's natural life, but until the good will drains away for one of a small repertoire of reasons, each with a zillion minor variations.
Heteroflexibility is a new word for me, but the concept didn't seem so new in the context of the film. Timothy has two friends out of school, the delightful Max (the delicious Ricky Goldman), who is the first person sprayed with the love potion. The potion works and leads to the champion sportsman beating the shit out of him - ain't love vicious? And his wannabe girlfriend, Frankie (Zelda Williams, daughter of above-mentioned Robin Williams) who uses said word. Upon Googling this word, as any self-respecting corpus linguist would, it emereged that heteroflexibility is a characteristic of women. A learned blog, poses the following quandary: Does thinking outside “the box” lead to rampant hetero-flexibility?
So maybe I have wandered too far from the film, but what's wrong a train of thought? The answer to that might be linearality - click here to read another blog pondering the strictures that blogs place on the wandereing mind. Wikis are better suited.
For the sake of tidiness, let me just say that the film would have benefitted from a bigger budget which would hopefully have led to some better casting. And I look forward to seeing it on DVD where the lighting will more closely match the director's, Tom Gustafson, intentions.