11 Aug 2009
Sexually-challenged: Rémi Lange unveils discrimination
Do you remember travelling some distance to meet someone for a one-night-stand? Photo exchange in a chat room or on MSN, followed by exchange of numbers and arranging to meet somewhere for casual sex. Directed by Rémi Lange, the film Devotee recalls exactly the same encounter, except that one guy is an amputee and the other a devotee.
Original Title: Devotee
Director: Rémi Lange
Language: French, with English subtitles
Starring: Guillaume Quashie-Vauclin, Herve Chenais
Release Date: 2008
Naturally born without hands and legs, Hervé Chenais acts in Devotee, which is part fiction, part autobiographical. [A devotee (devoteeism -or acrotomophilia - is the sexual attraction to people with amputations.] Unfortunately for him, the hyper-eroticism of Internet chat rooms has never allowed him to experience the joy of an amorous relationship. From the greed of money to the lure of fetish, men come to his place to fulfil their desires, only to leave immediately after the sexual act.
The film relates Hervé’s three encounters with a social escort, a young man in his twenties and another guy with a physical abnormality. In each of these narratives, Rémi Lange pitches the tone of the scenes to reveal deeply rooted stereotypes of people who are physically and sexually-challenged. Shot with minimal alteration to natural lighting and environmental sounds, the film aims to present the honest reality of the everyday life of a homosexual amputee.
Other than a couple of philosophical quibbles so typical of the French, but so essential to the film’s message, character development of the antagonists is measured precisely to deliver the entrenched reification of sexual intimacy. In Hervé’s own words, “you took your pleasure… you used me as an object… Did you kiss me?”
Strong acting by an experienced and good-looking cast, this film is one of those artistic rarities from the international circuit, which deserves more screenings than the one that our local authority has allowed.
Boo Junfeng’s Tanjong Rhu, a short film which recalls a fictionalised account of a gay man who was arrested alongside 11 others during a police entrapment exercise in Singapore in 1993 will be screened prior to Devotee.
Devotee – Directed by Rémi Lange
2009 | 49 min | French, with English subtitles | R21
Tanjong Rhu – Directed by Boo Junfeng
2008 | 19 min | Mandarin, with English subtitles | R21
14 August 2009, 8pm @ The Arts House
The reviewer is a researcher in Music and recently won the Rascals Prize special commendation award. He is also the Programme Coordinator for Indignation 2009.
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