San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
NORTH SEA TEXAS
(Bavo Defurne, 2011)
About the film:
A gay coming-of-age tale typically includes heartache or tragedy. Or both. But if it's told with elegance and honesty, then it's worth watching every second of it. That's why Defurne's beautiful tale of a young boy growing up gay in 1960s Belgium is so wonderful. Don't be confused, North Sea Texas (Nordzee, Texas in the original Dutch) has nothing to do with the Lonestar State (and is in Dutch with English subtitles). Rather, it's the name of a quaint local bar (housed in an early 20th-century building that looks straight out of a David Lynch dream) where Pim often finds himself when his single mother—who is more a zaftig pal than a truly maternal force—is out carousing with local gents or playing her accordion to get out of the suffocating small postwar town where they are stuck.
The rest of the time, Pim's spending hours worshipping at the table of a surrogate family where Mario, an older boy who Pim is in love with, lives. The teenage boys often end behind locked doors to self-pleasure or in fields far from prying eyes where we can only imagine they are engaging in heavy petting. Derfune keeps enough details mysterious, and his real knack is having cinematographer Anton Mertens focus on the natural lighting and beauty of the Belgian surroundings: the way the sand blows along the beach, the wind in the grasses, the light through a window.
The heartbreaking moments of an unusual child trapped in the wrong surroundings are certainly here. Moments when a younger Pim slips off his clothes and dresses in his mother's tiara and beauty queen sash could harken back to a groundbreaking film like Ma Vie en Rose, but it never feels derivative and contains a sweetness that is not soon forgotten.
BY JERRY PORTWOOD
(Opens in LA on November 2nd)
Official Selection of the Montreal World Film Festival,
Official Selection of the Rome Film Festival
Official Selection of the Palm Springs International Film Festival
Watch the trailer:
When & Where
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● A Graduate Student-run screening series of new sneak previews, LA premieres, and cult
or classic repertory films that runs twice weekly throughout the UCLA academic year. Films are frequently accompanied by special guests, cast or crew, Q&A sessions and more.
● Funded by the Graduate Students Association and ASUCLA Student Interaction Fund.