Ordinary Human Language

by Brian Crane

Christopher and His Kind

-Film Poster

Christopher and His Kind by Geoffrey Sax

I went to the closing day screening of this BBC adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s Weimar memoir at Image + Nation, a festival that must be among the worst advertised in the city and, as a result, one that tends to draw an oddly desperate but self-righteous crowd of anti-clones. The screening was in the Concordia amphitheatre and the sound was brutal: the projectionist clearly works for a film prof already deep down the spiral of deafening volume producing deafness that in turn requires even more deafening volume. I plugged my ears and still the dialogue in this quiet nostalgia piece hurt. The film itself was fine but was caught in a double-bind: the film was gay to the extent it was all about sex and the joys of posing and being beautiful; it was worthwhile to the extent it sobers up and tackls the dangers of an emerging fascism. A strong lead actor might have pulled the movie through this contradiction, but this guy’s Christopher just looks blank and stunned. So no help there. In fact, the only concrete thing about his performance that I can remember is that you can see him remembering to stand up straight in a lot of scenes. No lie. The film’s at its best in its only moment of nostalgic romance. (It has numerous “aren’t we brave for showing it” moments of sex.) That one romantic moment is, thankfully, captured on the poster. So I can enjoy it without having to see the actual movie again.

Posted November 6, 2011