wed 27/10/2021

DVD: Keep the Lights On | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Keep the Lights On

DVD: Keep the Lights On

Ira Sachs' Sundance hit furthers gay cinema

Honest and upfront about sexuality: Thure Lindhardt and Zachary Booth in 'Keep the Lights On'

Director Ira Sach's autobiographical tale of Erick and Paul's 10-year relationship shows the passion and destruction that can occur in any relationship. Here, we follow the decade of ups and downs that happen between documentary filmmaker Erik (Thure Lindhardt) and his attorney boyfriend Paul (Zachary Booth) as drug addiction takes its toll.

Shot in crowded city spaces and cafes, the drama closely follows Sachs' own relationship with literary agent Bill Clegg (whose memoir was published last year). What may shock is how lives can be changed by a chance meeting on the way to the subway. Sachs, director of Memphis films The Delta and Forty Shades of Blue, isn't afraid to make the film gay-centric, from its soundtrack to the focus of Erik's documentary on gay chronicler Avery Willard. Honest and upfront about sexuality in all its forms as well as drug use both addictive and recreational, Sachs never gets maudlin. The bliss of Keep the Lights On is that it shows the audience what actually happens in some relationships - this one happens to be gay - rather than focussing on something that is melodramatic or sanitised. (If the notion of drug use and casual gay sex doesn't appeal, then Keep the Lights On probably isn't for you.)

Like Weekend before it, Keep the Lights On's documentary style attempts to normalise gay relationships that don't adhere to the married-with-children-and-a-mortgage scenario. It doesn't judge nor does it condone. If anything, it confesses. The relationship Paul and Erik have is one of love, featuring ups and downs and ultimately a radical change. This is a story of a relationship where people really want love but can't quite find it where they thought it was.

Keep the Lights On is part of the new wave of gay films that don't question identity, preferring to tell a gay love story as any other love story. This one so happens to be tragic. Other than that, it's a case of the popular saying coined by journalist Simon Gage and often seen on T-shirts and bus billboards: "Some people are gay. Get over it."

It doesn't judge nor does it condone. If anything, it confesses

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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