Sunday, May 27, 2012

"The Man of My Life": eclectic French film about a wise gay neighbor

A French film by Zaibou Breitman, “The Man of My Life” (“L’homme de sa vie”, 2006) sets up a well-to-do family in the Provence region of France, with a new gay neighbor.

Frederic (Bernard Campan), in his 40s and looking fit but otherwise close to his age, has loving kids and an attentive wife.  They invite a new neighbor Hugo (Charles Berling) for dinner, and gradually Frederic starts to question the basis of his own existence, over time.

The film shows a lot of fantasy, apparently embedded in computer and cell phone images, such as Hugo’s “hanging angel” for a boyfriend. It even makes art of the fitness equipment and running gear.

Hugo tells Frederic how his father threw him out of the house, and spread the misery by saying “You hurt your family was well as yourself” by being gay. How?  By not offering grandchildren?  But then we learn that Hugo has a daughter himself anyway.

Hugo also challenges Frederic about the existential basis of life, for example, the importance of family, which cannot be chosen, and friends and lovers, which can be.  He says that Frederic is living his own life from a distance, as if he were looking at it in the third person. 

This film is a bit more ephemeral and subtle than the usual "gay man loves straight man" film. 

Strand Releasing’s trailer:

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