Aug 092013

A couple gay films to consider for the next LGBT class screening list.

Private Romeo

An adaptation of Romeo and Juliet that sets it in a military academy. The cadets not taken along for a long weekend–they’ve failed to qualify in some vaguely established way–must continue their classes, which means continuing to read through the play in English class. The film then shifts: the cadets begin using the language of the play outside of class and the story plays out between two cadets. 

As a whole, the adaptation doesn’t work. There’s no real place for the family conflict to rest in the academy setting, for example. And death is not an option, much less four of them.

But this adaptation is ultimately about an attempt and about moments, and the iconic moments work incredibly well. The first meeting at the party is especially good, capturing the hesitations of first love and the anger provoked by that love.

Children of God

Set in the Bahamas and humbly ambitious. There are four or five interconnecting narratives here, all well handled. As the movie shuffles between them the characters and their struggles come alive despite some awkwardness. Ultimately though this movie is not about the individuals per se. It is about the sources, methods and consequences of homophobia. The various narratives weave together into a portrait of how people are defined by the publicly circulating ideas, what we call “culture.” Worth a second look.

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