W DAR­REN SCOTT

Gay Times Magazine - - The Editor - @dar­ren_s­cott

hen I was grow­ing up, I would watch any gay movie I could get my hands on. We’re talk­ing VHS tapes or screen­ings on ter­res­trial tele­vi­sion here, in a pre-in­ter­net, pre-DVD age. Don’t re­coil in hor­ror, this was re­ally only the late 90s, it’s not that long ago. Is it? Don’t an­swer that.

I re­mem­ber stum­bling across Mau­rice, prob­a­bly on Chan­nel 4 – thank you Chan­nel 4, for so many late night moments as a teen – be­fore then in­ves­ti­gat­ing fur­ther by track­ing down the book in my lo­cal li­brary. No Ama­zon wish lists then, kids.

Some­one sug­gested I watched the works of John Wa­ters. I was hooked. My friends were ap­palled when I ex­cit­edly showed them my latest finds. About a decade later these films were sud­denly very ‘in’ with the same friends.

Beau­ti­ful Thing came along and changed so many peo­ple’s worlds. Over the last ten years at Gay Times it’s the film I hear peo­ple re­fer to time and time again. (The TV show equiv­a­lent, if you’re in­ter­ested, is still Queer as Folk.)

But let’s be bru­tally hon­est. Though it felt, to me at least, that the flood­gates of ‘new’ gay cin­ema opened in the late 90s, a lot of what fol­lowed was bad. Re­ally, re­ally bad. That didn’t stop me from watch­ing, re­mem­ber­ing and hav­ing a fond place in my heart for them. Well, some of them at least. And no, I’m not nam­ing names.

That hasn’t stopped as the years have gone by. I think it’s fair to say that I’m not al­ways a fan of ‘gay’ cin­ema – as those many years have passed, I’ve be­come a lit­tle more re­fined in what I choose to take and en­joy from gay cul­ture. That’s not claim­ing I’m any sort of ex­pert ei­ther, it’s ar­guably that so many things have got so much bet­ter!

So that’s why I was sur­prised when Call Me By Your Name com­pletely and ut­terly floored me.

I knew that the word of mouth from film fes­ti­vals had been good, I knew that there was the, by now to-be-ex­pected (and frankly bor­ing), ‘hot take’ on the cast­ing. But I had no idea the novel could be re­alised like that. Strangely, it takes me right back to Mau­rice with both films hav­ing been writ­ten by James Ivory. Ex­cept now I can truly pub­licly em­brace this mas­ter­piece, and proudly shout my love for it from the rooftops.

The cast, the chem­istry, the location… the gen­tle breeze in the trees seen through the win­dow that brings with it a fore­bod­ing that the sea­son is about to change. That story of a love that takes you by sur­prise, hits you like a truck and leaves you winded – and per­haps wounded – for­ever.

You can see your­self rep­re­sented, at some point at least, in the emo­tions of ei­ther char­ac­ter.

All those feel­ings I’d ei­ther thought gone or for­got­ten sud­denly rush­ing back and tak­ing a small screen­ing room of peo­ple speech­less.

And that beau­ti­ful, beau­ti­ful mu­sic – haunt­ing and stun­ning and rip­ping your heart out. I’ve al­ways loved The Psy­che­delic Furs’ Love My Way, but now I’ll never hear it in the same way again. And I’m glad.

There hasn’t been a film that has af­fected me, or touched me, this way in 20 years.

When I got the email telling me that my re­quests to interview the stars of the film had been ap­proved, I was on the bus and got a lit­tle bit emo­tional. It meant that much to me, and was that im­por­tant that we gave this the spe­cial treat­ment it de­served. Bear in mind that we don’t au­to­mat­i­cally al­ways get the peo­ple we ask for – which might ex­plain why cer­tain other films haven’t nec­es­sar­ily ap­peared in the print edi­tion of Gay Times...

Now when I look back in the dusty ar­chives of Gay Times (a bit like the Cham­ber of Secrets, but with a mir­ror­ball) I’m of­ten dis­ap­pointed that some truly land­mark moments in en­ter­tain­ment his­tory are glossed over in a cou­ple of pages. And that’s a cover story! Not so here. I think it’s safe to say that this is the most com­pre­hen­sive and ex­haus­tive (and pos­si­bly ex­haust­ing) cov­er­age of this movie in any pub­li­ca­tion. I hope if you haven’t seen the movie it will whet your ap­petite, and that if you have seen it, and need time to sit and re­flect and re­main in Elio and Oliver’s world that lit­tle bit longer… Well, this is­sue is a peach.

“There hasn’t been a film that has af­fected me, or touched me, the way that Call Me By Your Name has, in 20 years.”

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