Male Rape in controversial ‘The Book of Revelation’
Based on Rupert Thomson’s novel, the psychological thriller The Book of Revelation opened this week in Australia. Directed by Ana Kokkinos, and co-written by Kokkinos and Andrew Bovell (Strictly Ballroom), The Book of Revelation has stirred up quite a bit of controversy because the film tackles the seldom-discussed issue of male rape, depicting the horrors faced by a man (Tom Long) who’s turned into a sex slave for three cloaked and masked women. If that wasn’t all, after the ordeal is over no one seems to care about his suffering.
But hey, isn’t that sort of male rape the sexual fantasy of millions of men everywhere? Well, quite probably yes, but The Book of Revelation reportedly attempts to draw parallels between female and male rape – why one is considered revolting while the other (as long as it doesn’t involve male rapists) is the subject of bad jokes.
The Book of Revelation filmmaker Ana Kokkinos
Ana Kokkinos is no stranger to difficult themes. Head On, the tale of a pleasure-seeking, young-and-handsome Greek-Australian gay man (Alex Dimitriades) came out in 1998, receiving a number of positive reviews. The Book of Revelation, for its part, is already garnering praise in some corners. Michael Fitzgerald’s Time review commends Kokkinos for “turning prose poetry into the magisterial mystery of motion.”
On a totally different note, Kokkinos’ effort prior to The Book of Revelation was the 2002 documentary The Original Mermaid, about Australian-born swimmer and Hollywood movie actress Annette Kellerman, who predated Esther Williams by a good three decades. Williams, in fact, would play Kellerman in Mervyn LeRoy’s 1952 biopic Million Dollar Mermaid, opposite Victor Mature.
The Book of Revelation cast
Set in Melbourne (instead of the novel’s perhaps even kinkier Amsterdam), The Book of Revelation features the aforementioned Tom Long (of the TV series SeaChange and Young Lions), in addition to Greta Scacchi (Jefferson in Paris, Presumed Innocent), Colin Friels (Angel Baby, The Man Who Sued God), Deborah Mailman, Zoe Coil, Nadine Gardner, Ana Maria Belo, and Anna Torv. (Image: Tom Long in The Book of Revelation.)
Tom Long The Book of Revelation photos: Palace Films.