The Arts Desk recommends the best films in protest against Valentine’s Day.
“The Living End” directed by Greg Araki
Nicolas Pedrera-Zetzer, art editor
Nothing says so much about Valentine’s Day as sex, death and hedonism. Grego Araki New queer cinema The classic tells the story of an HIV-positive gay couple – Luke (Mike Dietry) and John (Craig Gilmore) – when they travel around California, living out their last days to the fullest. The film offers a unique look at the gay love of the 1990s, when the main couple embraced the motto “Fuck the World” and embodied their most free, beautiful and transgressive image, realizing that their lives were coming to an end. The end product is a beautiful, albeit sad, reflection of love. As a protest, The Living End offers a powerful attack on widespread homophobia in the United States around the 1990s; As a reflection of gay love, the film provides a sad story of how queer communities are often humiliated and marginalized. “Living End” not only serves as a great first film by a director with a unique style, but also represents a turning point in American cinema, which marked the rise in the development of queer films by queer directors. “Living End” is both reassuring and cynical, offering a challenging look at gay love that has never been shown before in a film with such shameless self-determination.
“Come Out” directed by Jordan Peel
Yas Akdag, music editor
If you’re looking for an occasion to never meet, Jordan Peel’s psychological thriller “Get Out” is pretty good. The film tells the story of the plight of Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluya) when he first meets the parents of his girlfriend Rose Armitage (Alison Williams). As a black man, Chris worries that Rose’s white parents may be hostile to him, even if she assures him they won’t. At first, there seems to be no reason to worry – all is well, albeit awkward. However, as Chris spends more time in their family home, things get damn weird – and really white. Through one garden party Chris makes the discovery so shocking and sinister that you may be permanently disconnected from dating programs. “Get Out” serves as a microscope for 21st century racism as Peel turns white rescuers, neoliberals and Obama’s third voters on their heads. However, in essence, “Get Out” shows that some of the worst betrayals come from those you love the most.
“Romeo + Juliet” directed by Baza Luhrmann
Isabella Armus, Deputy Art Editor
If there’s a unique story that proves that even the hottest novels are doomed to ultimate failure, look no further than the color chaos of Luhrmann’s 1996 Romeo + Juliet Base. Although the script is taken directly from the original text, Luhrmann replaces swords with shotguns, lace collars on skater chic and pumps up a mournful, Radiohead-rich soundtrack between brilliant and frantic jumps. The aesthetic excess reinforced by LSD does not subside for a minute of the film, allowing the low narrative to become as exciting and effective as the hot highs. Well-chosen Juliet (Claire Danes) and Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) play the lead roles with the exact level of deception needed for lovers to meet their final death. With style and immeasurable energy, Luhrmann creates the perfect apocalyptic epic for the MTV generation and proves that if you meet him with a vision, even the most misanthropic classic can still be imbued with a share of excitement.
“The Wheel of Ashes” directed by Peter Emanuel Goldman
Nicolas Pedrera-Zetzer, art editor
Peter Emanuel Goldman’s “Ashes Wheel” reflects the unleashing of a relationship. In it, Pierre Clementi, everyone’s favorite sexy French avant-garde, plays Pierre, a tortured poet who seeks spiritual consolation in mystical Buddhist traditions. He reaches a point full of dissatisfaction and suffering, unable to fall in love with his partner, Anka (Cat Bo), and wanders around the city in search of something that will give him a boost of life. Goldman captures Pierre’s fall into heavy thoughts through a combination of hard camera work and photographs that cast doubt on whether the film got lost in the same void of contemplative self-destruction. From the “Wheel of Ashes” emerges a terrible ode to a man who has lost the ability to love life, a man in destruction: broken, vulnerable, who falls freely in the hope that some hard concrete will finally free him from his troubles. “Ashes Wheel” is a film without love, which comprehends the inconsolable sadness of everyone who has ever felt incompetent, reviving the tragedy that lives in everyone when they feel the thirst for communication, sitting alone.
“Woman in the Dunes” directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara
JP Pak, film and television editor
For disruptive, controversial, or lonely viewers, Valentine’s Day is a great chance to explore twisted and nightmarish novels that return the day with contempt. One of the best in the genre “Woman in the Dunes” directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara, a surreal adaptation of Kobo Abe’s classic transgressive novel. Aidi Okada plays an entomologist who searches for insects in the great desert outside of Tokyo. When he misses the bus back to the city, locals persuade him to spend the night with a young woman (Kyoka Kishida) in her lair at the foot of a sand dune. The result is a tense battle between a man and a woman that mixes erotic visualizations with the message of the struggle of daily life. Teshigahara brings a clear sense of realism to the existential themes that gave Abe’s novel strength. Shocking and thoughtful “Woman in the Dunes” is a master class on literary adaptation, which opened an important voice in anti-romantic and surreal cinema.
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