Thursday, October 18, 2012

Keep the Lights On (Rhoades)

“Keep the Lights On”
Tries to Keep
Romance Burning

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

A movie’s title sequences sometimes foretell the film’s theme. For example, “Keep the Lights On” opens with a series of paintings depicting nude male bodies, often intertwined. Early in the film that gives way to actual bodies intertwined as this love story plays out.
Set in 1993 New York City, we meet Erik, a gay documentary filmmaker from Denmark who is trying to raise money for his next film, arguing with his sister over his career, dealing with his doctor about HIV test results, and looking for a relationship. Erik hooks up with Paul, a lawyer at Random House. Paul’s still in the closet. “The people in the publishing business like to gossip,” Paul explains his secrecy.
Erik likes him. “He’s like nice, very nice,” the blond filmmaker describes his “first American American boyfriend.”
They smoke dope. They go to art museums.
They eventually move in together.
There’s lots of graphic sex along the way.
Like any dysfunctional romance there are bumps to overcome. Erik struggles to be true to himself while involved with an addictive partner.
Danish-born Thure Lindhardt is winning as the thirtysomething filmmaker. He’s played it straight (opposite Laetitia Casta in “The Island”) and gay (with David Dencik in “Brotherhood”). You’ve also seen him in “Angels and Demons” and “Into the Wild.”
American actor Zachary Booth is both lean and handsome as the young lawyer. You’ve seen Booth on TV’s “Damages” and with Mel Gibson in “The Beaver.”
“Keep the Lights On” is current playing at the Tropic Cinema.
Directed and co-written by Ira Sachs, the film is based on Sach’s previous relationship with Bill Clegg, a literary agent whose own memoir is called “Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man.”
“Keep the Lights On” won a 2012 Teddy Award, an international recognition at The Berlin International Film Festival for films with LGTB topics.

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