Thursday, December 01, 2011

International Aids Day with House of Boys

The 1st of December is the International Aids Day, a day dedicated to the War of Humanity vs HIV. Aids is a problem that touches us all, men, women, gays and straights, but you know that already, don't you? I will cut the preaching short and continue to mix good causes with cinema, as always. Just to add how much I miss my Athenian days, when with my friend Julie I was attending every singe Anti-Aids screening. Morbid I was, oh dear. Like when I wanted to write a piece on Cancer on the Screen and my prof found my idea scary. Life is hard, let's face it.

Except for wearing your Red Ribbon today to prove that you acknowledge and support the Anti-Aids campaigns everywhere in the world, you could also show up to events and special screenings dedicated to this day and its victims. Like the one on Saturday evening for Luxembourgers at Cinematheque, where you will have the chance to see very much talked about House of Boys (2009) by Jean Claude Schlim and the older Longtime Companion (1989). 

This Double Feature Night that looks back to "30 Years of Aids" and it is part of a big campaign here in Luxembourg, for which the Ministry of Health and the Red Cross worked together to raise awareness. I bet you've seen already the gloomy posters all around the city, featuring the Stars and Directors of the RTL sitcom Weemseesdet against a black background. It is almost heart-breaking; the connotations of death and illness are a bit too much, like they should, I guess - I do like dark concepts, personally. If not for the posters, you can watch the video ads onlineDésirée Nosbusch, Fernand Fox and others are offering their image to the cause.

That's all for now, see you at the screening on Saturday and come back later to read how it went.

RECAP:  Two very sympa ladies looked after us on the day of the screening, with some Luxembourgish wine and Oberweis delicacies (they say they are the best around here). The very informal and friendly Jean-Claude Schlim aka the only Luxembourgish director I know and like, decided to take questions in the foyer, instead of the usual awkward Q & A with the scary microphones, and it worked quite well -many of the audience decided to converse with him.

As for the film itself, every time I see it, something different catches my attention: the first time I was shaping my idea on a new trend in Queer Cinema, witch  is using an animated character/little animal in order to realease hidden emotions: two birds in this case, an angry squirrel in the film Strella or A Woman's Way (2009) by Panos Koutras of Giant Mousaka fame. The second time,  I noticed the reference to Eurovision as a gay community and not only intercultural celebration and namely the Luxemburgish star Désirée Nosbusch, presenting it that year (when the story in the film was supposedly taking place). This time, it struck me how a film about the plague of AIDS can actually have a happy ending and a positive message: life goes on, no matter what. Many people thank the director for giving them an insight on a way of living that they could not otherwise have, through a mainstream, but bold movie. The movie features the most enjoyable soundtrack, with many songs we love and a great musical reference to Les Nuits Fauves (1992), a film on the same subject, towards the ending, sung with the accompaniment of a guitar:

                Tu sais c'est si dur
                D'apprivoiser I'éphémère

My friend Diana and I were in the end convinced to stay for the second movie, as well, even if the House of Boys was the most serious contestant. Longtime Companion was a vivid description of gay couple's lives and their struggle with Aids on it's breakout back in the 80s and it closes with an equally positive message: a dream of the day the cure will be found.

Even after all this positivity, I could not help thinking how careless life should have been before the appearance of HIV virus. And how different awareness makes us in the post-modern era, how much more sceptical about the body and its needs -not sure yet if this is a bad or a good thing.

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