Dustin Lance Black Sex Scandal Nonsense + Frameline & 'Beyond Hate'

Frameline 33: The San Francisco LGBT Film Festival

John Hurt in An Englishman in New York
The Country Teacher by Bonham Slama

Frameline 33, the 2009 San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, kicks off on Thursday, June 18, with screenings of Richard Laxton's An Englishman in New York (above, top photo), starring John Hurt as Quentin Crisp, and Bonham Sláma's rural Czech drama The Country Teacher (above, lower photo), set universes away from glamorous Park Avenue and the superciliousness of Crisp and his milieu.

Champion by Shine Louise Houston
Joe Dallesandro in Little Joe
Mr. Right by Jacqui Morris and David Morris

Among Frameline 33's other films are:

  • Shine Louise Houston's Champion (above, top photo), the tale of a tough female wrestler who must decide between success and “being herself.” (“If you liked Girlfight, but felt like it was missing strap-on action and penetration,” reads Frameline's info on the film, “then Champion is for you!”)
  • Auraeus Solito's Boy, described as “An exquisitely tender evocation of the delicate, dreamy netherworld between lust and love.” Banned in Singapore, Boy was presented at the Torino gay fest earlier this year.
  • Nicole Haeusser's Little Joe (above, middle photo), a documentary about Andy Warhol's most famous male muse, Joe Dallesandro, this year's winner of the Honorary Teddy Award at the Berlin Film Festival.
  • Jacqui Morris and David Morris' Mr. Right (above, bottom photo), about the emotional and romantic entanglements of a group of Londoners.
  • Adrian Shergold's Clapham Junction, another London-set film dealing with a group of gay/bi men and their issues.

The eclectic festival runs until June 28.

Olivier Meyrou 'Beyond Hatred' PBS Showing

Olivier Meyrou's 2006 documentary Au-delà de la haine / Beyond Hatred, an exploration of the effects of a 29-year-old gay man's brutal murder in the northeastern French city of Rheims, will be shown as part of PBS' P.O.V. series on Tuesday, June 30, at 10:00 pm.

François Chenu happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. One night in 2002, three skinheads were looking to “do an Arab,” but since apparently none could be found in the Rheims park where they were roaming, they settled for a gay man instead. Chenu reportedly fought back fiercely, but even so he was beaten unconscious and thrown into a pond, where he drowned.

Meyrou's documentary depicts the aftermath of the young man's senseless murder, especially the efforts of Chenu's parents, schoolteacher Jean-Paul and hospital caregiver Marie-Cecile Chenu, to come to terms with their loss, to understand why it happened, and finally, to transcend their desire for revenge.

“As the project proceeded,” Meyrou explained in an interview at the World Socialist Web Site, “the Chenu family became a more and more important part of it, because their reaction to François' murder was unpredictable, and yet so constructive, that they became the main element in the film. By speaking through the Chenu parents I was able to alert audiences about gay bashing and by showing that this man was such a central part of his family—he was not just a shadow in the park in the middle of the night—lift this tragedy to a more universal level.”

Beyond Hatred won the Berlin Film Festival's 2006 Teddy Award for best documentary with a gay theme.

Dustin Lance Black, Sex Scandals & Role Models

Dustin Lance Black

The fact that Dustin Lance Black will – at least for the time being – be better known for his sexual activities than for his Milk screenplay says more about our society (or societies, since the thing has gone global) than about Black himself, whose sex life – with or without condoms; with or without a camera – should be his business and nobody else's.

Some have tried to turn the online leak of Black's sex photos into something of momentous importance for gay rights, the spread of HIV, etc. In truth, except for Black and his sex partner those photos are irrelevant. Really, will anyone now decide to fight against marriage equality simply because of Black's sexual life? Will gay youth the world over go on a condomless sex rampage because of those photos?

Since I'm unfamiliar with Black's “gay activism,” I don't know if he has attempted to pass himself off as a “role model” to anyone, or if it's been others with little imagination and few brain cells who have labeled him thus. In fact, those who push the idea of “perfect” role models aren't just stupid, they're dishonest as well. After all, role-model proponents are adults. They know better.

I remember that as a kid I never wanted to be like someone else. What I wanted was to grow up and be my own individual self. I didn't want to be like the other boys, like the grown men I knew, like girls, like grown women, like hermaphrodites. I wanted to be me. And what I resented the most was having adults – always with the best intentions, of course – disrespecting my intelligence and my personal integrity by trying to coerce me into following someone else's steps; what they thought would be appropriate for me.

To me, their stance felt particularly offensive because I'd inevitably find out that the role models in question didn't live up to their public image. Adults were usually shocked – horrified – by the revelation. (Or, more likely, they merely pretended to be.) But even as a kid, I'd just think to myself, What's the big fucking deal? I'd also have my core belief reaffirmed: To hell with role models; I want to be myself.

Somewhat ironically, in late summer Black is scheduled to direct Liam Neeson and Jennifer Connelly in What's Wrong with Virginia, a drama that pits a man's public persona against his “shady” private life. Written by Black, the story follows a psychologically unbalanced woman (Connelly) whose 20-year secret love affair with a Mormon sheriff (Neeson) may become an issue now that he is running for a state senate seat.

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1 Comment to Dustin Lance Black Sex Scandal Nonsense + Frameline & 'Beyond Hate'

  1. Byron\

    I was wondering if anyone knows if there are any public web photos of Francois Chenu, the man who was attacked and killed in Rheims ? I am interested to seeing his photo
    Byron in Berkeley, CA