TIFF 2013 | Gerontophilia (Bruce LaBruce, Canada)—Vanguard


By Blake Williams

Who could have predicted that in making a film about an ostensibly straight, 18-year-old pretty-boy nurse who gets his rocks off with his octogenarian patients (complete with full-frontal shots of the latter) Bruce LaBruce would produce something that critics could reprimand for being limp? More Gus Van Sant than Jack Smith, so reserved is Gerontophilia in comparison to every other one of LaBruce’s cinematic manifestos that it’s easy to lose perspective on how subversive it still is beneath its naive surface: the absence of erect dicks, cum glops, and pulsating intertitles aside, this is nonetheless a recognizable product of the revolutionary fetishist behind the Marxist Raspberry Reich and subsequent zombie pornos. The difference could just be a Téléfilm Canada factor, bumping Bruce up from micro budget to low budget, and thus into certain market obligations that preclude black cumshots spewing out of an undead protagonist. But then what is revolutionary thought if it can’t proliferate within a broader class consciousness?

Sold as “a reverse Lolita” or “a gay Harold and Maude” in LaBruce’s failed Indiegogo campaign, the narrative is still comprised of rebels and their discontent. “You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about what you’re doing,” says the young hero’s girlfriend of his so-called affliction, “and I think it’s really revolutionary.” In the context of a film this cloying—in which diegetic slurping, smacking, and moaning played over the white text-on-black opening credits is revealed to merely be the sound of an innocent, fully-clothed make-out session under falling snow, albeit one where the girl cites her favourite revolutionary women (Patti Smith, Lizzie Borden, Winona Ryder) between each smack—the line is hilariously forthright and didactic. “But it also means,” she continues, “that we can’t be together anymore.” The tears are false, the performance is hammy, it’s all rather ridiculous, but it still hurts a little, and then you remember what makes LaBruce so special.

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