It should tell you a little something about filmmaker Bruce LaBruce that his most mainstream project to date is about a relationship between a teenager and an 81-year-old man. LaBruce’s earlier films have been marked by an in your face queer sexuality, with many deliberately pushing the boundaries between legit cinema and porn (and we mean real porn, not just actors having sex on screen).
However Gerontophilia lacks the explicitness that many see as a hallmark of Bruce’s work, even if it still has a subject that might make some people uncomfortable. The film is about an 18-year-old who knows he’s attracted to much older men and so takes a job at a retirement home. He finds himself drawn to 81-year-old Mr. Peabody and decides to break the aging gent out of the home after he discovers they’re over-medicating the patients. Together they head off on a road trip across Canada.
We actually missed the trailer when it was first released (shame on us), but our attention was drawn to it via a new interview with LaBruce over at Vocativ. The chat is well worth a read in its entirety, with the director talking about his inspiration for making the movie, not least his own attraction to older people when he was young.
He says, “After I hit puberty, I had very strong sexual fantasies about older men, ranging from male teachers in their 30s or 40s to even older men in my life. Our contemporary Western culture doesn’t even want to acknowledge that postpubescent children can have these kinds of sexual impulses. Age of consent laws vary worldwide, but it is obviously often a gray area in terms of morality and ethical behavior. With my movie, I chose to represent an inter-generational love and sex relationship that is as extreme as possible and still within legal boundaries. But it still disturbs people in its extremity, if in a deceptively gentle and subtle way.”
As for what fans of his earlier work might say about him making what is essentially an offbeat, slightly Harold And Mauch rom-com, he adds, “I wanted to try something totally unexpected for me. People often want to put you in a box and expect you to give them the same thing every time. I wanted to make a film that was shocking by not being shocking. It’s also very trendy now to make sexually explicit films, but I’ve been doing it since the late 80s. For me, making a film that isn’t pornographic is going against the grain.”
The film debuted at the Venice Film Festival and recently opened in France. It’ll be out in Canada on April 18th, and will spread to other territories after that.