Poison

What a really fucking weird movie. I dug it. There are few things I’m more into than weird gay movies. Really it’s more like three weird gay movies braided together.

There’s the part about Genet, the part about this kid who disappeared, and part that’s like an old paranoid 1950s horror movie. The Genet bit is hard to follow, but it had some great cinematic moments. I’m reading The Thief’s Journal, and this thread of the film really does manage to evoke the feel of the book. It’s definitely the strangest part, the one that feels like an art film, while the other two are playing off more conventional genres.

The story of this kid who disappeared is presented like true crime, the sort of sensationalized thing that winds up on television. The general take away is about family, and the way things might not be the way that they seem, the things we keep secret. Within the film a young boy who isn’t understood by his parents clearly connects to being gay.

And then there’s an old horror film, which is about deformity and transformation and sickness. It’s black and white, and the effects are very low-fi creepy. It feels like a paranoid old horror film, but while they were worried about the Soviets and nuclear fallout, this is in the shadow of AIDS.

The whole film is, and when we put it in context, coming out in 1991, one of the first features of New Queer Cinema, we can really start to take it apart. Which isn’t something I’m going to try to do today, because it’s a really weird interesting film that has a lot to say. I’ve been trying to figure out what I wanted to write about it since April, and I’m not any closer to having an answer. I’m glad I saw it, I think about it sometimes, I’m going to rewatch it someday. It’s a great weird movie.

 

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