Wednesday, 12 January 2011

More teen angst

Meet my new friend Gregg Araki.

Gregg is a visionary director who created the cult classic Mysterious Skin as well as lesser known, self-titled 'homo films'. An atmosphere of hostility and sexual depravity pervades his films from the close-up to the background. The shampoo bottle rape scene in Mysterious Skin is burnt into the mind of anyone who has seen the heartbreaking story of a mid-Western hustler...

Araki is no lightweight in getting his message across. His films are heavy, often depicting sadistic gay bashings, but this violence is not simply for shock value. He uses violence to recreate the hostility - real or imagined - which his characters feel from the rest of society due to their deviation from the norm. Totally F**cked Up, The Doomed Generation and Nowhere are Araki's self-titled 'homo films' starring James Duval (best known as the rabbit guy from Donnie Darko). Each installment of the mid '90s triology are about a completely different type of gayness, threaded together by the theme of teenage angst and alienation.

The trilogy features teens sleeping around, high on meth binges, generally acting out and trying to make sense of their lives. These are exactly the type of films that queer youths should watch to understand that there are gay guys and girls out who feel alienated from mainstream society, and sometimes, even from the gay community. The power is cinema lies in the fact that we define ourselves from the films we watch in our formative years, so I hope Araki's films have helped some  homo kids feel less alone.