Beautiful Thing (1996)
Directed by Hettie Macdonald
How far should one travel in order to find love? Sometimes, it seems, only a few steps would be necessary. That's what happens in "Beautiful Thing" (based on Jonathan Harvey's play) when Jamie and his neighbor Ste get romantically involved.
Only a few decades ago, a number of theories tried to explain the origin of homosexuality. Which is only baffling as one might wonder, why didn't they try to explain heterosexuality? But alas, the heterosexual domain is what constitutes the symbolic order, and thus all other forms of sexuality are bluntly banned or at least discarded.
Freud's followers tried to explain homosexuality in the most contrived ways. For example, the absence of a fatherly figure would dangerously wreak havoc in a child's psyche, thus neutralizing the normal course of the Oedipus complex (since there is no father to rival against for the love of the mother, the whole structure falls apart). This sort of theory could be easily applied to someone like Jamie, who has no father and lives with his strong-willed, almost masculine mother that symbolically castrates her temporary male partners.
But what happens with Ste? His homosexuality cannot be explained by a textbook approach like the one that so easily fits into Jamie's background. Nor does it need to. And this is what should be considered one of the most important things about this movie. You don't need to explain homosexuality any more than you need to explain heterosexuality. One is just as natural and beautiful as the other.
Can gay and straight people coexist? Or there will be constant struggle and friction? Hettie Macdonald's film elicits a possible answer that will only provide the viewer with hope. After all, if an infraction of the Lacanian symbolic order is committed, id est, the homosexual relationship, then it's only logical to deconstruct that symbolic order. Deconstruction does not mean destruction, deconstruction focus in the fissures present in every structure and takes advantage of them in order to rearticulate the symbolic order (society, any given society, is first and foremost a symbolic order, that would constantly readapt and modify depending on the individuals that are part of that society).
|my drawing / mi dibujo|
Jamie and Ste achieve that task admirably. It's a long way, though, from simple friendship, to the first hazed and rushed sexual exploration, to the difficulty in assuming their roles and true sexuality, to the stable relationship they solidify with time and patience.
Perhaps the fullest, most powerful, affirmation of the deconstruction of the previous symbolic order is the final scene. I won't spoil it to those who haven't seen it yet, suffice to say rather than a "beautiful thing" it is a very beautiful moment. Usually I don't like films about hope, as I am rather devoid of such virtue, but I found the end both touching and immensely reaffirming. Sometimes, I guess, it's not to so bad to dream of a world where gays and straight people can, indeed, coexist peacefully.
Ayer en la noche se inauguró la muestra “Aluminación” de Luitpol Ruiz en Dédalo. El artista, en un derroche de imaginación, ha creado diversos objetos hechos con aluminio; desde autos con una cierta línea art deco ensamblados a partir de botellas de vodka Danzka hasta encantadores robots con cajas de aluminio de Jack Daniel’s.
En esta ocasión, hubo una barra de vodka Danzka así que aproveché para pedirme un vodka con jugo de naranja, otro con jugo de cranberry y otro con agua tónica. Justo andaba en esas cuando me encontré con Pedro Casusol, encargado de prensa de Dédalo. Nos quedamos conversando un par de horas sobre libros, cómics y películas, y me regaló generosamente un ejemplar de su novela breve “Coca, keta y marihuana”. Durante el transcurso de la noche saludé a Eduardo Lores, a Isabelle Decencière y a Hugo Alegre. También conversé un poco con Fernando Carvallo, Sebastián Lores y María Elena Fernández (y de hecho me tomaron un par de fotos con ella). Y finalmente acompañé a Carmen Alegre hasta su casa. Sin duda un evento sumamente entretenido.
Los dejo con un cuadro de Michele del Campo y un dibujo mío. La versión original la pueden encontrar aquí.