A Film with Gay Characters
Weekend is a very important part of our lives. We plan our freedom around it and I know it sucks but it’s the only time – apart from vacations – for working people to find some time to go nuts. This is much more important in gays’ life because the pressure of being self-conscious when surrounded by heterosexual community can be very overwhelming. Unless you are not working in a cupcake shop in Brooklyn where nearly everyone is fine with your attitude and pink cardigan. The movie does a great job in looking at the “Weekend” through Russell and Glen’s encounter.
The plot is familiar, two guys meet up in a gay club and spend the night together. After realizing that they have more in common Russell and Glen spend the weekend opening up to one another, getting drunk, doing drugs and having more sex. Soon after they both realize that this weekend hook-up might turn out to be much more important than they thought, one of them parts the country on that Sunday for two years. Yes it’s a drama and it has a sad ending but overall it makes you feel a grand scale of emotions varying from angst to arousal.
Andrew Haigh (Writer & Director of Weekend) in his YouTube interview said that “there are gay movies that portray gay life in metropolitan like New York or London but I wanted to focus on Nottingham and a small life to show the audience that gay life is everywhere”. This micro sphere was yet another aspect that made the movie spectacular. Since the characters like Glen’s friends or Russell’s best mate is so blurred out in the movie that it gives the audience the space to relate themselves more and more without the abruptness of side characters. Overall it’s an experience of Johnny, Nae, Moe, Scotty, Jack, Melissa, and many others…
Glen (Chris New) is a gay man who has done a lot of interrogation about the society and actively address the issues of heterosexual norms both through his art and his statements. He collects stories of his one night stands about the night that they have spent and records them to be put together in an art installation. He express his ideas in public to random guys to make them see “gays have sex as much as straight people”.
Russell (Tom Cullen) is a stunning life-guard in the public pool of Nottingham and leads a very routine life. He goes to work, and spends most of his time in his one bedroom flat in an apartment complex. He occasionally visits his foster brother and best mate Jamie and his family. He was raised in foster care and do not have any family except for Jamie. Although we only see one of his weekends, he seems to be going out to a gay bar over the weekends.
I went out to a spring awakening party last weekend and a girlfriend tagged along with me whom I adore. We arrive to the bash and it’s surrounded by LGBTQ folk doing their thing. Spreading their libidinal energy all over the place, dancing around, making out and having a blast to be short. After the party my girlfriend suddenly said that “thank god you have never made out with your boyfriend in front of us”. I was dazed. I had boyfriends over the years and my friends have been the first that I introduce to make everyone a part of my life. But I just realized even if I have kissed my boyfriend on the street, held hands when I felt no one was looking had shrank me down to not enjoying in front of my friends because of their opinions and their hidden and silent judgement. This opinions were coming from a highly educated, human rights fella.
In the Weekend, we also saw a myriad of dilemmas where mainly Russell facing. On the subway, at work place, and his best mates house, he needs the urge to act more subtle since what everyone seems to be talking about is their heterosexual sex life in a very public way. Russell has to suck up to it and look the other way while listening, understanding, and surrounded by these details where he doesn’t even dare to talk about his emotions. When he finally needs to open up to his best mate about Glen and his emotions, Jamie says “We never talk about this stuff, do we”.
Glen, on the other hand, challenges the community by having his farewell party at a random bar with many of his gay friends and talking about the details of his sexual encounters in public. He even lectures two straight guys who look annoyed by his stories. These two guys symbolically hold hands to show to Glen that they are fine with listening homosexuality.
A world where two guys can’t kiss goodbye without being bullied or two girls holding hand without being fantasized, we need more movies like Weekend to show the world that it’s ok and we are everywhere. That maybe we should talk about the world we live in behind closed doors more publicly.
That kissing, or holding hands are merely acts of love.