Saturday, 12 May 2012

Weekend (2011) - Andrew Haigh

Not since Brokeback Mountain has a film depicted a gay relationship in such candid, honest fashion.

When Russell and Glen meet in a Nottingham nightclub, their one night stand is seemingly the product of drunken lust.  But, spending the weekend together in a whirlwind relationship, their feelings grow stronger.  Yet, after Glen reveals early on he's moving to America, you know this is a doomed partnership.

Russell and Glen have very different views on their sexuality and the meaning of loving relationships.  Yet, tellingly, they only reveal their true feelings after countless amounts of drugs and alcohol, as if the weekend takes place in some sort of drug-fuelled dream.  Whilst Glen is 'out', Russell is still struggling to come to terms with his sexuality and, over the course of the plot, his rite of passage is fulfilled.

These sorts of films are often only notable for their bravery in dealing with homosexuality.  As Glen himself remarks on gay art, gay men will only view in the hopes of nudity whilst it's not part of the straight world.  But this shouldn't be the case.  Weekend is a touching love story that transcends prejudice.

What's most notable is the film's production.  The cinematography is artfully done, focusing on CCTV and often viewing the couple through barriers to emphasise the pressure Russell feels under public scrutiny.  As we ourselves view the film, it's almost as if we are complicit, judging the actions of these two men.  In fact, the film's outcome is depicted through the cinematography.  In the final moments, we see Glen and Russell through a metal fence, but as the camera almost imperceptibly zooms in the barrier gradually dissipates to focus solely on these two men.  Nothing else matters.

The script has an almost improvisatory feel that adds a real naturalism to the proceedings, whilst Tom Cullen and Chris New (as Russell and Glen respectively) are incredibly genuine and sincere in front of the camera.  This is a raw, sensitively portrayed and heart wrenching story of homosexuality, but more so a superbly created film that deserves far more exposure than it will likely receive.