Saturday, December 22, 2012

Du er ikke alene (1978) You Are not Alone

Du er ikke alene (1978) You Are not Alone


Subtitles hardcoded English

Recently, I’ve submerged into the viewing of this so-called groundbreaking classic. Everytime I watch a Nordic film I have a subtle feeling of recognition – there is something that refuses a grandiose and often grotesque meaning in most of my Nordic artistic experiences. Du Er Ikke Alene confirms this perception once more, through the delicate use of cinematic art, you know, like those paintings done by youngsters in aquarels, not masterpieces, not violently beautiful, but giving a taste of certain naiveté and innocence. Not a self-righteous “awww” but rather a complacency in the delicacy of its art.

The plot revolves around boys in a boarding school in Denmark. The main love-action happens between a prepubescent boy and a pubescent boy. Quite stunning for 1978. Hell, even today I have yet to see a gay movie that deals with people under 18. The ease with which the subject is treated is amazingly sweet and tender and relaxed. There are no politically struggles, social inequalities, biased injustices like so many in your face gay propaganda movies nowadays (which have an undisputable social role, no doubt). This is just a plunge into childhood and sexual experimentation and the defining of one’s sexuality. Only this time is not something done with the traumatic, violent depressing connation that adolescents seem to enjoy so much when dealing with personal issues. On the contrary, we have a laidback movie, with hippie-like tendencies and a little socio-cultural mumbo jumbo power to the people acts, only to end with a nice performance art prepared by the boys for the school principal.

Blonde godly faces replenish the screen in sheer beauty and amazement. 15-16 year old effeminate boys take showers and swim together, play, curse and take drugs. It’s an intricate pleasure for homo-erotic fantasies. And the ease of the subject makes one weary of the primitive nature of other communities. While other countries were struggling with gayness and are still struggling now, Denmark was presenting scenes of naked boys in the shower and scenes of boy under 12 kissing in 1978?? Or maybe this was just a show for the cinema, but hell, cinema has always been a pretty accurate medium for the context of the times, and since it was banned all over Europe, but not in the country of its production, this says a lot about that country’s liberties.

Of course Du Er Ikke Alene does not figure in the list of great cinematic experiences, but falls definitely under the time well spent category. Rarely do I experience such delicacy and sensible direction in movies, subtle portrayals and faded-pastel colors that emphasize the discretion of feelings. Somehow, the director manages to describe masturbation, shower scenes, sexual initiation not through cheap pornographic shocking imagery, but through a gentle, distilled, depiction of humanity filled with contemplation and hope.


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