Article Title:8 Simple Reasons To See Jeffrey
Author or Credit:Chris Banks
Published on:10th May 2011 - 09:49 am
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Story ID:10338
Text:Next week, Number 8 Films is hosting a revival screening of the classic 90s gay comedy JEFFREY at Galatos on Thursday May 19, 7pm. Starring Steven Weber, Patrick ‘Captain Picard' Stewart and Sigourney Weaver, JEFFREY tells the story of a red-blooded gay man who needs to overcome his fear of sex to find love. Taking a leaf from OutlineNZ's book, here's 8 simple reasons why you should come along and see this film next week. Friendship Friendships are at the heart of JEFFREY. Our lead character is surrounded by people who nurture and support him, including his best friends Sterling (Patrick Stewart) and Darius (Bryan Batt). Sterling's an interior designer and Darius is a chorus boy in Cats. They know that their flamboyancy makes them a target for discrimination from the outside world and their own community, but they don't give a shit. Their actions in the film belie a deep concern for their community and the people in their lives. Love While JEFFREY begins with our lead character swearing off sex, it's when he falls in love that his troubles really begin. As much as he's afraid of sex in the mid-90s, effective pre-meds era of AIDS, he's terrified of falling in love. When he meets Steve (Michael T. Howard), he'll have to learn the tough lesson that love can include loss and heartbreak as well as warmth and joy. (Spoiler warning: Steve doesn't die, ok?) Options The quirky nature of JEFFREY sees our character placed in all sorts of surreal situations, including a show hosted by a “post-modern evangelist” (Sigourney Weaver), a Catholic confessional that would make Pope Benedict blush (thanks to priest Nathan Lane), and a frighteningly frank conversation about sex with Jeffrey's parents which turns out to be a fantasy. The common theme shows how tough life can be when we don't feel we have choices in our lives, and Jeffrey meets plenty of people like that before he realises that he has some important choices of his own to make. Unity Cynics often decry the lack of ‘community' in the hackneyed phrase ‘gay community', but here in Auckland we do have a sense of community. We see it every month at our film nights, and it's displayed in JEFFREY in one of my favourite sequences, which sees Stirling and Darius leading the charge as ‘The Pink Panthers', a vigilante group formed to reclaim the New York night after a series of antigay attacks. Relationships Speaking of Stirling and Darius, their relationship is at the heart of this film. It's a clever writer indeed, coupled with great actors, that can take stereotypical characters and make you care for them, and this is brilliantly achieved. Stirling and Darius are the rock that Jeffrey needs to embark on his own journey towards a fulfilling relationship with Steve. But the path for neither couple is easy. Sexuality One of the best things about JEFFREY is its celebratory tone around sexuality, despite the era in which it was made. Many gay films of the 1990s carried a pervasive sense of doom, inevitably because of the tragic deaths from AIDS that were rocking the community worldwide, but JEFFREY takes a different approach, several years before the introduction of new antiretrovirals made genuine celebration a real possibility. Identity This film unashamedly speaks to gay men and their lives, and its fresh approach – described by one reviewer at the time as “politically incorrect and proud of it” – makes it just as relevant today as it was in 1995. Hope If for no other reason, come and see JEFFREY because you'll leave feeling better than when you went in. Sometimes life is tough, whether you're gay, HIV positive, or both, and hope is what keeps us going. Hope for the future is at the core of this lovely film, and that's something worth sharing.JEFFREY screens on Thursday May 19 at Galatos in Auckland, presented by Number 8 Films. Tickets available online at Chris Banks - 10th May 2011    
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