homosexual-heterosexual cultures merge. In fact, as Araki challenged at the ﬁlm‘s I993 premiere, ‘all but one of the cast is straight. Their sexual orientation does not count and if you say it does. you belong to the same mindset that prevents gay actors coming out of the closet.‘
But for all that. the homosexuality of the characters is the lifeblood of the ﬁlm; without it. the material would be mundane and pointless. Araki recognises this: he was inspired by ‘the article about the disproportionate percentage of gay teenage suicides which begins the ﬁlm. I read in a newspaper about a troubled gay boy who killed himself by drinking Drano and drowning in his family’s swimming pool.’ But the need to deﬁne the gay experience as a more traumatic one flounders on the teenagers' normality;
as Araki acknowledges. M Steven (Gilbert Luna) is a ﬁlm student in his late teens, shooting a video i ' documentary about his group of friends. Hence a good part ofthe ﬁlm is . shot on video, which is a shrewd m money-saving move well integrated into the ﬁlm’s structure. The teenagers are gay: four fags, two dykes. In six out
' of ueer ofﬁfteen ‘celluloid fragments', Steven The cuulng edge q records their thoughts on the subjects
Cinema or a SlaCker which concern them most - sex, love,
that just happens to have AIDS, and how to have a fatherless H h child. The ﬁlm then abruptly shifts into gay CharaCterS' anna narrative mode, and Araki’s l6mm
Fries assesses the impact frame takes over to explore the sexual
-, , and emotional lives of the teenagers. Of Gregg Arakl S ldteSt Some ofthis is fun: the group are
ﬁlm, Totally F***€d Up. secure in their sexualities (always excepting the anguished Andy who Totally F***ed Up introduces itself as worries that he may be bisexual), but ‘another homo movie by Gregg Araki‘. their deep alienation emerges. An
The 35-year-old writer-director- anonymous bigot on Steven's TV is one when Andy kills himself, it wasn't cinematographer-editor thinks we'll reason why: ‘The vermin are coming because he had a particularly hard time remember its predecessor. The Living out of the closet and marching down c being gay.
End(l992), which is quite a reasonable the street . . . but God has willed that 2,, a 3‘5 x The ﬁlm courts its marginalisation, bet since that ﬁlm - surreal trash they are marching to their death!‘ ' ' ‘ not only because the teenagers are gay, though it is — got seen and acclaimed Yet aside from this and the “tam F..." “I” 'oﬂ'm‘ “mm Pd“, but because they are such normal
by a lot of people. Totally F***ed Up homOphobic beating Deric (Lance middle-class. We know, for example, adolescents, living unsensational lives. was drafted back in l99l. then given May) receives off-screen, the that Steven is reading Andre Bazin and But Steven and his friends are
second place while The Living Ind teenagers' situation seems to have little that the group watch the anhouse ﬁlm appealing in a grainy way — not the ‘swallowed up what feels like years of to do with their homosexuality. The My Beautiful Lazmdrette. Hardly the nostalgic, plastic ﬁgures we so often- my life,‘ according to its maker. By abused, decentred Los Angeles in culture of the dispossessed. get from teen movies, nor queer disco 1992, the director was a signiﬁcant which they live is inherently alienating, There is a double movement in Totally divas. but bored urban kids who listen ﬁgure in gay cinema, but he has never and sex. love and AIDS are by no l"***ed Up which ultimately to a band called Nine Inch Nails and taken up the mantle: ‘I do not like means exclusively gay concerns. dcstahilises it. Araki famously detests spend a lot of time of the phone. They movements, and I do not think of my Steven’s group is cynical, the commercial gay scene (which he convince. and [his is a victory for ﬁlms as part of anything,’ he claims. disenfranchised and without role has descride as ‘vicious' and Araki's 0ff_bem queer pride;
Totally F ***ed Up is another models, but not more so than their real judgemental. and ‘hOt Very diverse 3‘ homophobia is the abnormality, idiosyncratic avant-garde ﬁlm. scraped life heterosexual peers (none of whom 1111'). Totally I’***€d Up claims to commerica] gay culture is the together on a next-to-nothing budget. are represented in the ﬁlm), and in Speak fora generation of gay youth irrelevance.
Who knows how much it cost. but it many respects the gay friends are Which docs not identify With that Tom”). F***ed U], Opens a, me comes at you ‘desperate pictures style’, comparatively well off. educated and mainstream scene. In this Sphere. Edinburgh Film/um“, 0,, Friday 10.
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