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
Donate

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 5687 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 5687 times since Mon Jan 7, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

World AIDS Day: GLAAD releases 2022 State of HIV Stigma Study
2022-12-01
-- From a press release - (New York, NY - December 1, 2022) GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is releasing its third annual State of HIV Stigma ...


Gay News

GLAAD responds to renaming of Monkeypox
2022-11-30
-- From a press release - (New York, NY) - GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to the World Health Organization (WHO) announcement recommending a new ...


Gay News

Record 120 U.S. cities excel in protecting LGBTQ+ rights per HRC LGBTQ+ Equality Index
2022-11-30
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, in partnership with The ...


Gay News

State of LGBTQ+ Equality in nine Illinois municipalities detailed in HRC Index
2022-11-30
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, in partnership with The ...


Gay News

Landmark step toward equality: Senate passes bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act
2022-11-29
-- From press releases - WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — today celebrated the bipartisan passage of the Respect ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Elton John, Leslie Jordan, Joel Kim Booster, Janelle Monae
2022-11-27
Elton John gave Los Angeles concluded a three-show run on Nov. 20 back inside Dodger Stadium, taking a final bow as part of his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour," according to The Hollywood Reporter. The concert ...


Gay News

NATIONAL $1M donation, church departures, Harvey Milk, abortions, Grindr
2022-11-27
In Ohio, Dayton-based insurance company CareSource is donating $1 million to United Church Homes to support the development of a senior living facility at the site of the former Longfellow School that will also aim at ...


Gay News

GLAAD responds to mass shooting in Colorado Springs
2022-11-20
-- From a press release - (New York, NY - November 20, 2022) - GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs that killed ...


Gay News

HRC responds to fatal shooting at LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs
2022-11-20
-- From a press release - Colorado Springs, CO — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, responded to media reports of a fatal shooting at Club Q in Colo ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Respect for Marriage Act, lesbian judge, gay official resigns
2022-11-20
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said that debate on the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) is suspended and will continue on Nov. 28, when the Senate reconvenes after Thanksgiving, LGBTQ Nation reported. The RFMA ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Grammy nominees, Gabrielle Union, Trevor Noah, Brendan Fraser
2022-11-20
Out Magazine compiled a list of some of the 2023 LGBTQA+ Grammy nominees. Among those on the list were Brandi Carlile (who earned another seven Grammy nominations this year, raising her career total to 25), Lady ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT The geopolitics of being Brittney Griner
2022-11-18
WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner was arrested a week before Russia invaded Ukraine. On Feb. 17, the Russian Federal Customs Service detained Griner at Sheremetyevo International Airport for allegedly transporting cannabis-derived ...


Gay News

Human Rights Campaign Foundation Marks 10 Years of Tracking Violence Against Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People, Recording 32 Fatalities in 2022
2022-11-16
From a press release: WASHINGTON—Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil ...


Gay News

Hong Kong lesbian romance premieres at local film festival
2022-11-14
Hong Kong Lesbian Romance Premieres At Film Festival by Vernon Hester �As part of the semi-annual Asian Pop-Up Cinema Film Festival, which ran from September 10 through November 6, The First Girl I Loved had its ...


Gay News

Filmmaker Elegance Bratton reflects on The Inspection
2022-11-14
Gay writer and director Elegance Bratton has come a long way after growing up in New Jersey and being unhoused for 10 years. He eventually joined the Marine Corps, which led to his becoming the filmmaker ...


 




Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

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 Transegender 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


 

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.