The dreamlike opening scene could be a short flim in and of itself, and besides that it works too well. I got preoccupied with what it meant exactly, and with wondering how it might possibly relate to that clunky film title. Then I spent a while wondering who or what was on my own “list”. Had it not been for that opening scene, this post might have been written quite a bit sooner.
The title sounds clinical and is a bit off-putting. In Austria, Switzerland, and Germany it was sensibly shortened to GERON. But the Turks got it right, calling the film ASKIN YASI YOKTUR (Love Has No Age). The film is not a clinical study. It is both a tale of self-discovery, and a really nice romance.
The sponge bath scene is shot in a way that reminds me of scenes from the 1996 Lynne Stopkewich film KISSED (which, by the way, was not titled “necrophilia”).
Since his mother Marie (Marie-Hélène Thibault), gets Lake (Pier-Gabriel Lajoie) a job in the nursing home where she works, it would seem a reasonable assumption that she has some inkling that he’s attracted to old people, but she seems genuinely surprised to learn, later in the film, that he is in a relationship with Mr. Peabody. The scene where Marie confronts Lake about his sexual preferrences, and then falls down the stairs is a bit strange. Lake teases her by holding the car keys just out of her reach, dangerously close to the unprotected stairwell. There is no railing (and one wonders how that is possible in a building with rental units). Did Lake intentionally cause her to fall down the stairs? She could have been much more severely injured, but sustained only a compound fracture. Maria is very conveniently hospitalized for a while, which means she cannot drive, which in turn means he can use her car to take Mr. Peabody on a road trip.
Re-enter the parochial revolutionary Désirée (Katie Boland), the ex-girlfriend who helps get Peabody out of the nursing home. She likes to label people but often has no idea which pigeonhole to put them in. Désirée has already labelled her bookstore-owner boss as a “weirdo”, possibly because he is inordinately attached to his books and does not loan them to other people. Désirée the revolutionary rejects him because to him the books (and by implication the ideas contained in them) should be preserved in their original condition and not modified in any way. She labels Lake a “saint” because he always seems to be taking care of other people at the expense of his own happiness. Once he reveals that his motives are less than altruistic, she becomes confused.
As Lake prepares to leave Montreal with Melvyn, Désirée tells him: “I think that what you’re doing, and what you are, is really great. And the fact that you’re acting on it, you know, like it’s revolutionary. All these ideas that people have about aging and beauty and what makes somebody desirable, you’re going against that. You’re fighting against nature, and do you see how radical that is?”
Lake responds: “I don’t know what I am.” Désirée does not specify what new label she has created for him. One wonders how she would have reacted had Lake gotten involved with an 82 year old woman. (Lake’s sketchbook contains drawings of both elderly men and women, so that seems a possibility.)
Walter Borden turns in an engaging performance as the charming elderly ex-actor Melvin Peabody. Melvin and Lake have mostly a good time, and they make it halfway across Ontario before Melvin dies. Four people (other than the organist) attend the funeral: Désirée, Lake, Mr. Peabody’s son, and Maria. The latter two make out (we are told) in front of the casket, raising the possibility that Lake might become related to his deceased lover by marriage. Lake will always be a “saint” to Désirée. (She actually gives him a ring with that word on it.) Whatever he may be, Lake is more useful to her with that description attached. Perhaps she will even put him on her list.
Melvin is a compartmentalized character. He never interacts with Marie or Désirée. It is as though the Lake/Melvyn relationship is a separate story that the film’s other primary characters may or may not hear
the details of at a later date.
Katie Boland is Alycia in the film PEOPLE HOLD ON. Alycia is one of a group of old friends who haven’t seen each other for quite a while, and spend the weekend together to celebrate an upcoming wedding. Like the characters in the story, the castmembers have all known each other for many years and Michael Seater and Paula Brancati’s script, which began as a detailed outline, was fleshed out based on workshops and rehearsals held with the cast prior to filming. PEOPLE HOLD ON will be in Canadian theatres beginning
9 October. The official trailer is on YouTube.
Louis Negin (the crossing guard) plays five characters in THE FORBIDDEN ROOM, a film that is, apparently, difficult to describe. Mike D’Angelo, writing for The A.V Club, called it “a hilarious nesting doll of lost cinema” and went on to say “…each of The Forbidden Room’s many nested narratives was inspired by an actual lost film from early in cinema history. In some cases, [Guy] Maddin and [Evan] Johnson have adapted an extant synopsis;
in others, only a titillating title survives, and they’ve invented an absurdist story to fit it.” THE FORBIDDEN ROOM will have its
initial Canadian theatrical release in Toronto and Winnipeg on 9 October.
You may want to look up some of GERONTOPHILIA’s music. There is no soundtrack available, but below is a listing of the songs in order of their occurrence.
Dive In (The Horrors) — TheExact Colour of Doubt (Liars) — Child I Will Hurt You (Crystal Castles) — Lightning Song (Blood On the Wall) — All That (Lizzy Parks) — The Ditch (Blood On the Wall) — You Don’t Have to Be (Jennifer Castle) — Sacred Team (The Highest Order) — Rideaux Lunaries (Chilly Gonzalez) — I Can’t Control Myself (The Horrors) — Offer Still Stands (The Highest Order) — Nothing’s Alright (One Hundred Dollars) — Too Much, Too Much (Liars) — Undertaker (Fiver) — Help the Aged (Pulp)
GERONTOPHILIA can be streamed on Netflix (US). The DVD is available on Amazon.