“God’s Own Country”, directed by Francis Lee, may come across as a “Brokeback Mountain II” from Ang Lee a dozen years ago.
This time, the setting is in Yorkshire in northern England, apparently in the 1960s or so, before modern technology. Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor) seems a little squeamish over his farming duties – in the opening scene is vomits when getting up on a day he has to help a sheep deliver a baby. His parents, especially mom, seem concerned about his manliness. In a nearby town, he finds nelly boys who make him feel a little manlier by comparison. Gay life went on in rural England, even only a couple decades after Alan Turing’s tragedy (Britain decriminalized sodomy in 1967). When a roughshod immigrant, Georghe (Alex Secareanu) arrives from communist Romania, the new guy first intimidates Johnny because the comrade really is very good at doing everything on a farm. The time of this movie may have actually been intended to coincide with the fall of the Soviet bloc and Ceausescu. But soom Georghe’s dominating (very cis-male) behavior entices Johnny and they fall in love, with some passionate scenes when out on the range with bedrolls.
A family crisis ensues when dad has a stroke, and Johnny has to really take care of dad personally. That leads to a whirlwind plot climax in the men’s relationship.
The film has graphic cinematography of the live animal birth scenes, with how farm boys really do this. The animals “know” and “trust” them (“it’s only me”). I’m reminded of a live birth scene in Walt Disney’s “The Vanishing Prairie” (1954), a bit of a sensation at the time.
The film was preceded by a 10-minute short “Breakfast” by Tyler Byrnes. A young man David (Altan Alburo) invites a boyfriend Alex (Tommy Bernadi) (quite handsome but apparently with dysmorphia) with an eating disorder to share a fattening breakfast. The film contains David Lynch-like scenes with chest tunes invading.
The show, sponsored by Reel Affirmations of the DC Center at the Gala Hispania theater in the Columbia Heights area of Washington DC, was preceded by a stand-up by Rayceen Pendarvis, advertising himself as 68, who got everyone one into a brief hug-fest. That isn’t my own personal message, but that’s for another time.
Link for Yorkshire picture (wiki).
|Name:||“Gods Own Country”|
|Director, writer:||Francis Lee|
|When and how viewed:||Reel Affirmations, 2017/10/19 opening night, Gala Hispania, Washington DC, sold out|
|Rating:||NA (explicit enough for NC-17, artistic and dramatic film for adults, not considered pornographic)|
|Companies:||Samuel Goldwyn, Orion Pictures|
(Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017 at 7:45 PM EDT)