Jacques Nolot might be said to have ushered in the New Old Queer Cinema. While trenchant films about gay desire have become as rare as first editions of Billy Budd (the work of Portugal’s João Pedro Rodrigues notwithstanding), rarer still are those movies—of any orientation—that deal with the carnal needs of anyone over the age of 50 (coincidentally, Nolot’s best-known performance in the U.S. features him with Charlotte Rampling on top in François Ozon’s Under the Sand). The writer, director and star of this remarkably bracing film (his third semiautobiographical feature), Nolot is equal parts Proust and Joe Dallesandro.
We watch Nolot’s character—a 58-year-old ex-hustler named Pierre, HIV-positive for 24 years—have a nightmare about his recently deceased lover, pay a regular stud (D’Asnières) for rough sex, write at his desk, debate with a rich friend about which nation supplies the cheapest gigolos, visit his psychoanalyst and soil his pants. Nolot’s portrait of senescence isn’t about rainbow visions; his film, one of the most honest, courageous and witty of the year, instead looks at decay, insufferable loss and humiliation—all endured, particularly at the end as Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 blasts, with defiant, willful abjection. “We don’t share the same past. Mostly I need affection,” Pierre tells his wealthy pal, a line delivered not with self-pity but with quiet matter-of-factness. Nothing will stop Pierre from burrowing deep into that past, whether or not he gets what he needs.
Cast and crew