Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Weekend at BAMcinemaFest

Staycationing cinephiles in the vicinity of the five boroughs are advised to trek over to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where the BAMcinemaFest begins tonight. Propelled by a favorable review in Film Comment I saw the opening film, the British-made Weekend, last week and it's a keeper, a finely wrought gay romance...well, that's limiting. Yes, it's about two men inching their way toward some sort of commitment beyond a one-night stand, and an audience (gay or straight) underserved by the usual cliche-ridden love stories has reason to cheer a more serious one, not that the film lacks humor (or heat). This one digs deeper, and while not a suspense picture per se it builds considerable tension of a kind as the tentative, sort-of out lifeguard Russell (Tom Cullen, below in frame) hooks up with Glen (Chris New), a garrulous, probing artist...on the last weekend before Glen is to leave for Portland for a two-year fellowship. Andrew Haigh's film suggests Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise but the stakes are in their own way more urgent; a subtle sub-theme of the movie is how England's baleful surveillance culture (represented by security cameras around Russell's housing estate) deforms lifestyles, presenting another hurdle for the two very different men to overcome. A stimulating and rewarding start to what promises to be an excellent festival, Weekend is slated for fall release, but the filmmakers are trekking to Brooklyn to screen it...and so might you to see it.

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