Keep the Lights On
Directed by Ira Sachs
Cornerhouse, 9 November 2012
Rene Char is the chap who advised, ‘Develop your legitimate strangeness’ and this film is about two men, Erik and Paul, who struggle to do just that.
Their relationship, though loving, is blighted by alcoholism and drug use on the one side, spasms of promiscuity on the other. What’s interesting is the question – and it is an open question – as to whether their problems and travails are caused by the relationship itself (the constraints of monogamy) or by the other person or whether there are personal foibles and failings that each needs to overcome. Do you need to change yourself to be happy? Or can you just jettison the other person, will that make everything hunky-dory?
The film is about love, yes, but it is also about how, even in a loving relationship, one can be the victim of another. And about how abuse can be almost invisible.
On many levels, this is an impressive film. In particular, Zachary Booth’s performance (he plays Paul) is outstanding: lively, full of integrity, moving, even intensely so.