There are few filmmakers who are more polarizing than Bruce LaBruce. His arty, message-y films fly right over the heads of many. But perhaps there’s encouragement to read that his latest feature, Gerontophilia, is supposedly a little more mainstream.
But only a little: the plot is about an 18-year-old who’s attracted to senior men, takes a job at a nursing home and then helps one of the residents escape on a erotic gay Canadian road trip. Yes, that should play well in the sticks.
Despite the unusual subject matter, it’s still a lot more gettable than some of his previous work. His debut feature, No Skin Off My Ass, concerned a love affair between a hairdresser and a skinhead, and was black and white. More recently, Otto; or Up with Dead People contains punctuation in the title and follows a sexy German pro-zombie propaganda movement. Understanding these films, we have found, takes a certain level of mental fitness that we just have not achieved.
But maybe this one will be different! According to an interview with Vocativ, LaBruce based the film on his own youthful appreciation of older men.
“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,” LaBruce recalls. “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.”
Hmm, maybe it’ll be a gay Harold and Maude.
Whatever the case, the movie doesn’t mean that LaBruce is abandoning his weirder side. Sure, this is his most expensive work to date, and his first union shoot, and the most organized film he’s ever made. But his next project is an “anti-narrative” experimental adaptation of a stage play based on a poetry collection. Now that’s a guaranteed hit!