Uptown Minneapolis today is the setting of a groundbreaking new film about romantic and erotic desire. This indie, FAUX, blurs the categories of gay, straight, and even bisexual. It’s the second in a triptych, the first of which is titled FADE.
Christopher Beer, 23-year-old FAUX director-writer-cinematographer, says, “The characters are written as having no clear orientation—or rather, no definably-labeled orientation.”
Moreover, Beer observes how economics influences and shapes sexual expression.
FAUX is a Minneapolis-made film that elicits marvelous performances from the Twin Cities theater-actor pool.
Playing the lead, Caleb, is an astounding Andrew Sass, known for his sexually-charged stage performances (Anon, Medea Ex Machina, Needs/Wants/Desires). In the film, Caleb, a Caucasian writer, has lost his wife, Annie, in a hit-and-run accident. While emerging from his grief, he connects with Rin, a darling man of color portrayed by Jemar Rovie-Frenchwood.
Sass and Rovie-Frenchwood ignite luminous passion. Oh, the shower scene! Intimacy merges with sexuality. They share themselves heart to heart, in the flesh, rather than electronically.
Beer’s up-close-and-personal camera sometimes veers into space, while his characters continue to speak in intriguing dialogue. I can think of no other film that is simultaneously both so cerebrally thoughtful and erotically sensual.
For those who would insist that Caleb was denying his homosexuality when his wife was alive, Sass counters, “I believe that Caleb discovered a deep, meaningful connection with another man that he perceived as the same as—or at least similar to—his connection with Annie. Whether with a man or woman in his life, he longed for love, and he shared it both with Annie and Rin.”
Adena Brumer plays Annie in a stunning Weisman Art Museum segment. She’s like a vision out of Old Hollywood, but without a trace of narcissism. She’s the embodiment of love and openness. How could Caleb not love her?
In shocking contrast, a shattering Matthew Feeney rivets as Denny, a middle-aged gay man obsessed with Rin. Denny thought “coming out” would be a cure-all for heterosexist wounds and a swift passage to true love.
Beer notes, “Denny was written as a culmination of gay and lesbian people I have known who had approached coming out as the light at the end of their tunnels, only to be disappointed. They came out, and then went, ‘Well, now what?’ A depression also ensued. Instead of just being a person, they were now a demographic, a subgenre, a commodity.”
Radically contrasting Denny is Lavender CEO Stephen Rocheford in vibrant form in an actual interview. The antithesis of the victim personified by Denny, he notes that archaic negative stereotypes are understandable in terms of the eras in which they held currency, but are to be moved past. He weighs in smartly on the importance of GLBT financial power as a counter to the dominant paradigm.
Peppered throughout the film is a student trio led by Theresa, portrayed by a deliciously-funny Nicole Kreux. They lament how we’re reduced to what music we listen to or what liquor we drink.
Beer remarks, “We have this pervasive need to easily understand and label everything, and this insane desire to create some form of representation of who we want to be.”
The character Theresa asserts, “Love is a societal fabrication, rather than a base human need. Marriage is a creation of the state. The state also needs the marriage of man and woman strictly, in order to breed the more easily refined consumerists.”
Transgender drama coach Alexandra Billings, in another FAUX interview, hilariously considers how gay marriage would spur the economy. Injected into the marriage discussion at one point is a shopping-mall interior with a gigantic American flag.
Indeed, how image and words play off one another throughout FAUX simply astonishes.
St. Anthony Main Theatre
115 Main St. SE, Mpls.