The feature debut of Swiss director Lionel Baier puts a queer twist on the Mulveynian concept of cinema’s “male gaze.” Though it’s presented as a fictional film revolving around the exploits of young Loïc, a pugnaciously attractive, autodidactic gay sex pig (imagine a Bel Ami homage to the Dardennes…well, perhaps only if Bel Ami allowed a single spare tire or receding hairline to crash their frisky summers), Garçon Stupide uses as a framing device a series of direct-to-camera interviews between the rough trade and a never-seen man videotaping their brief encounters named Lionel, who obviously, if not the director himself, is certainly a thematic extension of his intellectual lust. Lionel assures his subject that he’s not after his mangina, a reassurance that the nymphomaniacal Loïc finds little solace in, given he routinely and symbiotically fills his spiritual voids and his erogenous orifices every chance he gets. All the questions that Lionel presses, all his inquiries about Loïc’s social aspirations, his life philosophies, his non-sexual dreams of intimacy, are treated with cavalier dismissal. Lionel’s interest strikes the sexually impatient boy as, at best, a waste of precious evening time that could be spent scouring chat rooms for hookups and, at worst, a surreptitious and sleazy tactic to get more than the requisite one-way trip through Loïc’s turnstile. As a director, Baier’s strategy of getting a fictional character—one based, so say the press notes, very closely on the life and styles of the actor playing him (Pierre Chatagny, who has a gangly, mid-pubescent brand of sexuality that correlates well with his unflappable promiscuity as well as his as-of-yet unstifled cerebral curiosity)—allows him to have his cock and eat it too…hell, it even gives him the chance to gallantly turn down Loïc’s frustrated offering in a public bathroom stall. Not only does Baier let his own earnest, chaste interest in the boy serve as the catalyst for his second awakening (one he confuses momentarily for heterosexuality, since he remains unattracted to Lionel), but he also gets to restage what he must’ve fantasized his amateur leading man Chatagny said to his friends behind his back. “He’s interesting, different,” Loïc tells his long-suffering roommate and possibly former girlfriend (Natacha Koutchoumov, who gives a fantastically understated performance in a film that tragically acts like it doesn’t need her). Sounds like the last words Baier might’ve imagined before frantically rubbing one off into his sheets.
- Picture This!
- 94 min
- Lionel Baier
- Lionel Baier, Laurent Guido
- Pierre Chatagny, Natacha Koutchoumov, Rui Pedro Alves, Lionel Baier
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