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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

entry arrow1:19 AM | Vicious Circles

In 2007, the United Kingdom's Channel 4 commissioned a season of appropriate programming to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the British decriminalization of homosexuality. One of the shows that was part of that slate was the TV movie Clapham Junction, directed and written by Kevin Elyot, which follows the lives of several men and women, most of them gay men, as they intersect each other's lives as they deal with the mundane. And alas, also the not-so-mundane, it turns out: there's gay bashing here, and drugs, and illicit sex, and closeted husbands, and gay marriages, and homophobia, and pedophilia, and murder -- in a sense, a gruesome picture of how ordinary people have the capacity to hurt each other, to cause each other needless misery just because other people are just ... different. The film's treatment of 36 hours in the lives of assorted people (a TV writer, an actress and her moody son, a doctor and his new husband, a waiter, a mailman, among many other) on an extraordinarily hot day in the Clapham district of London reminds me of the character juggle that went on in Robert Altman's Short Cuts and Paul Haggis' Crash. It is to Mr. Elyot's credit that he manages to tell a good and absorbing arch of a story composed of so many disparate elements without resorting to the pedantic finger-wagging about issues that would have been the easy way out. I've read some of the reviews of this film, many of them vitriolic in their estimation of this effort as being unoriginal or predictable. I am led to ask this question with such incredulity: were these people watching the same movie that I did? Because this film manages to go beyond the usual in queer cinema -- it shows how, 40 years after the fact of decriminalization, we are still faced with uncommon dangers, perhaps facing more complex troubles in an increasingly complex world. And also because this film said many things with such raw and sad power, and managed to constantly pull the rug from underneath my feet most times I thought I knew what was going to happen. This is such a difficult film to watch, but once you allow the film to wash over you, you are left with a sense of appreciation of what it is trying to do.

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