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L'homme de désir 1971
Description: A boy reevaluates his life.
Released: 17 Mar 1971 Director: Dominique Delouche Writers: Dominique Delouche Actors: Emmanuelle Riva, François Timmerman, Eric Laborey, Patrice Alexsandre Genres: Drama
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L'homme de désir Reviews:

This is Dominique Delouche's second effort ,after critically- acclaimed shorts and a first movie,"24 Heures De La Vie D'Une Femme ",from Zweig ,starring Danielle Darrieux .When it was released ,circa 1971,it went thoroughly unnoticed.Too ahead of its time for its own good,it probably winded up into the gay underground distribution ,which is a finished misunderstanding,for it is NOT a porno film but a psychological drama and it could have been shown at least in the art house cinema theaters.To think that the female lead,Emmanuelle Riva ,was an extremely ambitious artist ,whose career encompasses such works as "Hiroshima Mon Amour " ,"Leon Morin Pretre" ,"Thérèse Desqueyroux" and her soon days worldwide triumph "Amour" about Alzheimer's illness .The another actors remained virtually unknown ,with the exception of André Falcon ,cast as the superintendent ,who had helping parts in "mainstream" cinema.In most of the ebooks about cinema ,the film is simply (and unfairly) ignored.Shot in bleak black and white (which had become unusual in the early seventies),it says a storyline of self -destruction.Those who might wish to see it to receive an eyeful won't receive anything out of it. The only homo erotic stage shows the Young guy Rudy alias Jean ,acting like a sleepwalker , "protected" by the married boy Etienne.Sleepwalking symbolizes Rudy 's uncertain sexuality ,as he fumbles through the dark house.Etienne is married to Valentine and tells "we are satisfied " ,but the viewer notices the empty cradle ,that they never have sex together - the only sex stage in the entire film is a heterosexual one,and only Riva strips bare -,and that,although he is a very educated boy ,a writer (about German culture),he realizes his desirable mansion means a routine life ,Willy nilly.There's a gap between his bourgeois life and that of his protégé,who belongs to a package of delinquents whose leader is a strange black boy .Etienne wants to receive Rudy out of his perverse milieu ;for him,it was love at first sight when he first saw the man ,a hitchhiker on a rainy road.But the man cannot relate to his privileged globe ;devoid of culture ,he despises this bourgeois globe which represents all that he hates and (in a fully non political way) wants to destroy.The man is troubled ,Delouche shows him putting on his protector's coat (a nod to films with homosexual undertones :Clément's "Plein Soleil" and Chabrol's "Les Biches" .When Rudy makes up his mind (actually his coming out),it will be too late ,and the final pictures present him driving through the night ,heading for nowhere.These tragic last scenes are treated as a bizarre choreography,almost recalling "West side story" ,which makes sense ,for Delouche's former shorts dealt with modern dance ("Le Spectre De La Danse (1960) notably.Like this? test these....."Les Amis" (Gérard Blain,same year)"La Meilleure Façon De Marcher" (Claude Miller,1976)"L'Homme Blessé" (Patrice chéreau,1983)


This movie is of a portrait of man's desire in relation to other man. However, from a post modern mission of view, the portrait sits on a historical crossroads. A cynical appraisal of the storyline might say of a bored, married, town commuter who is tied to the conventions of an office job and a marriage that has stagnated. The commuter seeks distractions from the hum-drum of his life and makes the mistake of falling for a bit of rough trade he picks up at the street side. The more he sees of the anarchy of the hustler's life the more he lets himself go. However, everything in the movie want's you to trust in Etienne's (the town commuter) attempts not to see the case in this way, but rather to share and perceive Etienne's concepts about spiritual love and redemption from suffering. In Etienne's delusions he is a Christian character bringing salvation and peace by following the purity of his natural propensity to love. But from a Freudian perspective Etienne is a latent bi/homosexual in a state of contradictory denial and private crisis characterised by self destruction. From a post queer era perspective, current verbal reference to 'homosexuality' is noted to be almost laughably absent from the movie despite a repeated inference to a homosexual underworld which provides a nice part of the setting of the storyline as much as an explicitly declared same gender love. It's a queer (in the old sense of the word) contradiction, meaning, it is rather 'odd'. Anything gay is unmentionable and this cinematic convention towards omitting reference sets up typical devices which are left to carry any notions of 'gay' queer themes present. Devices like, the blurring of definitions, the creation of ambiguities, the muddling of religious concepts with social inferences and even ironically,the necessity of asserting a 'gay gaze' to negotiate the existence of all these devices. Perhaps the most classic of these devices is the untimely demise of the hero who embodies the taboo emotions. Sadly, this movie does show that cliché. The test of such cinematic techniques to undermine the topics to which it refers to, that is, sexuality, is nothing new, but the overt assertion of same gender love portrayed to such an obsessive degree does feel edgy and remains exciting. The movie works greatest if the audience is moved towards a state of intellectual enigmatic-ism. However moving away from this comfortable position and trying to deliever answers to questions concerning the characters' actions feels like a decidedly queer task. At the heart of the question of the love portrayed in the film, it gotta be asked, what language greatest describes what has happened and who these folks have been to every another ? This void in language is as relevant today to unfixing constraints and coming to a process of knowing as it has ever been. It's not a matter of labels but rather language. But at the same time this does not mean avoiding altogether reference to the obvious or major themes portrayed in the film.



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