Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: Cloudburst; Amour; film note
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2013-01-07

This article shared 5959 times since Mon Jan 7, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


"Getting old ain't for sissies" Bette Davis once famously declared, and both out writer-director Thom Fitzgerald's Cloudburst and writer-director Michael Haneke's Amour vividly attest to the veracity of Davis' statement, albeit from very different perspectives.

Fitzgerald's movie, driven by star performances from Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker, is much lighter in tone, helping the medicine go down with a spoonful of sugar while Haneke's film, winner of the Palm d'Or at Cannes and drawing raves for its performances and sumptuous photography, is much more sobering—and much closer to real life. Both films—along with the forthcoming Quartet (Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut), the story of four opera singers reuniting for one last performance in a nursing home for classical musicians and the recent DVD release of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel—certainly point out a growing trend toward movies focusing on characters dealing with life during the sunset years.

It's nice to see—as in Cloudburst—that LGBT senior folks are part of this cinematic mix. The movie, which began as a play in Fitzgerald's native Canada and which has been an audience favorite on the queer festival circuit over the last year—is screening Saturday, Jan. 12 as the kickoff for the tenth season of Dyke Delicious, the popular lesbian-themed screening series held the second Saturday of every month at Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark St. The evening, which Sharon Zurek's Black Cat Productions and Reeling are co-presenting, begins at 7 p.m. with a one-hour social period followed by the 8 p.m. screening. (The movie is also screening tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 7:30pm at Columbia College's Hokin Hall, 423 S. Wabash Ave., as part of the Chicago Filmmakers monthly screening series.)

Cloudburst follows the adventures of Stella (Dukakis), a tough old bird if there ever was one, and her lover of 31 years, Dotty (Fricker). After Dot has an accident and winds up in the hospital temporarily, her granddaughter decides to put Dot in a nursing home and sell the home she shares with Stella in Bangor, Maine. Stella, mad as hell and as profane as a truck driver, isn't about to be separated from sweet, legally blind Dotty. After rescuing her partner from the nursing home, Stella and Dotty head for Canada to wed, in the hope of bringing some legal standing to their relationship.

With k.d. lang blaring from the speakers in their red pick-up truck, the two head off in what is a sort of geriatric Thelma & Louise. Like that classic female-buddy road picture, the duo pick-up a hot little hitchhiker (named Prentice, played by Ryan Doucette) who joins them in their quest. Prentice, who has the habit of removing parts of his clothing when the mood strikes, is heading home to visit his dying mother, and finds himself caught up in the constant love spats between ditzy Dotty and impatient (really impatient) Stella. The tone of the movie wrenches about nearly as much as the trio do inside the high-speed pick-up (that Stella certainly has a lead foot) and the actors struggle to keep the material, which veers wildly in tone, on track. And though certain sidebar sequences have their individual charms and warm laughs—a visit to Prentice's dying mother descends into screwball comedy when his naked father mistakenly comes on to Dotty, etc.—they stretch plausibility and undercut the actors' attempts to bring the characters fully to life.

But Fitzgerald—who will be familiar to queer film audiences from previous efforts like 3 Needles and Beefcake—has written great parts for Dukakis and Fricker and these alone are worth the price of admission. With Dukakis chewing the scenery one moment, tenderly embracing Fricker the next, opining about her lust for lang and telling off the clueless granddaughter a moment later, the movie is nothing if not entertaining. There's more than a bit of Baby Jane in the loudmouth, crude Stella, who apparently has no use for manners or decorum, and there's more than a bit of Blanche in the demure, refined but quietly resigned Dotty. The two actors, expert at finding nuance and telegraphing that to audiences, bring out the best in these two women in spite of the plot lapses and odd tonal shifts. Most endearingly, you believe wholeheartedly that these two are deeply in love, and Dukakis and Fricker gift their characters with a real bond of intimacy.

Intimacy is also at the heart of Amour, in theaters this Friday and the official Austrian submission for this year's Academy Awards. But while the intimacy between retired music teachers Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and her husband, Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant)—with warmth and unnamable pleasures—will be instantly familiar to many longtime couples so, too, will the heartbreaking and often uncomfortable affinity inherent in caring for a terminally ill loved one that suddenly is thrust upon them without warning.

After Anne suffers a debilitating stroke and a surgery to clear a blocked artery goes badly, it is up to Georges, along with a series of nurses, to take care of her when she returns home from the hospital. A series of health reverses follows as Georges does his best to keep up with Anne's constants needs. By the time the couple's daughter (Isabelle Huppert) shows up, he has little patience for her tears and remonstrations—there's no time left for regrets, miracle cures or second opinions. It's all down to days, then hours and, finally, minutes. Soon, Georges is nearly as much a prisoner as Anne is, and the couple's apartment—stuffed with music and books—becomes as familiar and inviting to us as to Anne and Georges. The film clearly demonstrates the importance and calming effect of accustomed surroundings to the chronically ill.

Amour eschews the shared sunsets and walks on the beach, and the unspoken moments in the dark after lovemaking that we often think of as the true intimacy between couples; instead, it focuses on the moments spent in bringing trays of food and medicine, helping the loved one take a sip of water, going in and out of the bathroom and trying hard to discern when communication skills have broken down—just what the loved one desperately needs and is trying to convey. It's an emotionally devastating, deeply moving approach.

That this incredibly heartfelt film has come from writer-director Haneke—noted for his cold, flinty movies that often portray humanity at its worst (Funny Games, The White Ribbon, Cache, etc.)—is perhaps Amour's greatest surprise. What's no surprise is that it will instantly resonate with a generation of gay men and women who became caretakers during the AIDS crisis and are now dealing with aging parents and significant others. Amour is a tough but rewarding film experience that honestly earns its tears—and the performances of Riva and Trintignant are revelatory.

Film note:

—A silent classic returns: The historic Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., is presenting a restored, colored tinted print of the 1926 Italian silent classic The Last Days of Pompeii as part of its Silent Saturday matinee series. The epically scaled movie, which features lots of decadent behavior from the citizens of wicked Pompeii before the eruption of the nearby Mt. Vesuvius wipes out their wanton ways, screens Saturday, Jan. 12, at 12 p.m. with Dennis Scott appropriately providing the dramatic music at the Music Box pipe organ. www.musicboxtheatre.com

Check out my archived reviews at www.windycitymediagroup.com or www.knightatthemovies.com . Readers can leave feedback at the latter website.


This article shared 5959 times since Mon Jan 7, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Second Glance Productions hosts LGBTQupid Soiree 2024-02-16
- In celebration of Valentine's Day, Chicago based film and media production company Second Glance hosted The LBGTQupid Soiree. The event, which was focused on spinning attitudes on this particular day, was presented at The iO ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Elton John, Hannah Gadsby, video game, Jennifer Lopez, queer thriller 2024-02-16
Video below - Sir Elton John has sold his Atlanta home and is now auctioning off more than 900 of his personal items that were kept in the 13,500-square-foot condo, The Daily Mail noted. The massive collection includes rare ...


Gay News

GALECA announces nominees for the Dorian Film Awards 2024-02-07
--From a press release - Feb. 5, 2024 - GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, consisting of over 500 entertainment critics, journalists and media icons, today announced the group's democratically chosen nominees for its 15th Dorian Film Awards. All of ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ JoJo Siwa, Tom Holland, Bowen Yang, Pet Shop Boys, Mariah Carey 2024-02-02
- In the wake of Nigel Lythgoe exiting So You Think You Can Dance, queer personality JoJo Siwa is returning to the series, per Deadline. Siwa, who was a judge on season 17 of the Fox show, will replace Lythgoe, who left ...


Gay News

Leather Archives & Museum announces 2024 Fetish Film Forum 2024-01-27
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois—After a wildly successful inaugural year, including a 10-film series at the Leather Archives & Museum and a 5-film series at FACETS, the Leather Archives & Museum is thrilled to announce the continuation of Fetish ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Sundance items, Green Day, 'Wednesday,' Queerties, 'The Wiz' 2024-01-26
- At the Sundance Film Festival, Jodie Foster told Variety that the $1.4-billion success of Barbie helps confirm that Hollywood no longer views women directors as too much of a risk. She said, "With a big success ...


Gay News

WORLD Arrest in Brazil, athlete dies, Ghana attack, World Economic Forum 2024-01-26
- A 30-year-old man was arrested in Brazil on Jan. 18 for his alleged role in the stabbing murder of prominent NYC art dealer Brent Sikkema, Gay City News reported. Authorities took Cuban resident Alejandro Triana Trevez ...


Gay News

OSCARS Gladstone, Domingo receive nominations 2024-01-23
- LGBTQ+ actors Lily Gladstone and Colman Domingo were among those receiving Oscar nominations when they were announced Jan. 23. Gladstone received a Best Actress nod for her role in the Martin Scorsese-directed Killers of the Flower ...


Gay News

Out truth-teller Jeff Hiller takes his act on the road 2024-01-21
- Jeff Hiller is an openly gay American storyteller who is bringing his act to the Midwest in February. He's making his way across the United States while filming the third season of HBO's Somebody Somewhere and ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Laid,' 'Nimona,' Lukas Gage, Lil Nas X, Lily Gladstone, John Waters 2024-01-19
- Peacock has given a straight-to-series order to the comedy Laid, which is slated to feature queer actress Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Variety noted. Based on the Australian series of the same name, the ...


Gay News

WORLD Conversion therapy, trans Haitian advocate, intersex report, activist attacked 2024-01-12
- Norway is the latest country to outlaw conversion therapy after its parliament passed a bill that criminalizes the practice, Mamba noted. The bill, under development since 2019, received approval in the Storting (the Norwegian parliament) last ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Call Me By Your Name,' awards, Aspen Gay Ski Week, Miss Cleo 2024-01-12
- The Oscar-winning gay romance Call Me by Your Name is leaving Netflix after Jan. 31, per Out. The coming-of-age romance was helmed by Bones and All director Luca Guadagnino, and stars Timothee Chalamet as 17-year-old Elio ...


Gay News

Few LGBTQ+ individuals score Golden Globes wins 2024-01-08
- The Golden Globes took place Jan. 7—but, for the LGBTQ+ community, there wasn't much to cheer about. For example, queer actors Andrew Scott (All of Us Strangers) and Colman Domingo (Rustin) fell short, as Cillian Murphy ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Kelly Clarkson, Billy Porter and Luke Evans, 'All of Us,' 'Book of Mormon' 2024-01-05
Video below - At Kelly Clarkson's "Chemistry: An Intimate Evening" residency show in Las Vegas, two men got married with the help of the singer/talk-show host as a witness, EW.com noted. In an audience video from the show, fans ...


Gay News

WORLD Activist honored, marriages in Estonia, Madrid law, trans sports item 2024-01-05
Video below - The National AIDS Commission (NAC) recently honored Caleb Orozco—a leading figure in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in Belize—for his instrumental contributions to the national HIV response, BNN reported. According ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.