Keep the Lights On (2012) is a English,Danish movie. Ira Sachs has directed this movie. Thure Lindhardt,Zachary Booth,Julianne Nicholson,Souleymane Sy Savane are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2012. Keep the Lights On (2012) is considered one of the best Drama,Romance movie in India and around the world.
It's 1998 and New York City is in a state of intense flux when documentary filmmaker Erik Rothman (Thure Lindhardt) first meets Paul Lucy (Zachary Booth), a handsome but closeted lawyer in the publishing field. What begins as a highly charged first encounter soon becomes something much more, and a relationship quickly develops. As the two men start building a home and life together, each continues to privately battle their own compulsions and addictions. A film about sex, friendship, intimacy and most of all, love, Keep the Lights On takes an honest look at the nature of relationships in our times.
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As a gay man, I like to support films with gay characters and stories when I can. Oftentimes such films sacrifice writing and acting in order to titillate. This film avoided that pitfall and delivered a cohesive, relevant and tasteful product. The characters were gritty and weren't cardboard cut outs. Personally, I found it a lot more relevant than a recent art film I caught called THE MASTER. The central relationship in this film is between gay men but the film manages to touch on failing/toxic relationships in general and offers up some noteworthy and humorous ensemble performances. As difficult as it is to believe, these relationships exist in gay and straight life. It seems to me that the filmmaker decided it was important to hold up a mirror and show us reality and a real relationship gone awry instead of showing us that gays can have just as little sex and/or just as loving relationships as straight folk. We have enough sanitized and safe portrayals of gays on network TV. I found the performances to be interesting and the characters were dynamic. Each had a journey unlike the static characters in the aforementioned, lauded art film. Since this film was most certainly shot quickly and with a limited budget, I take my hat off to cast and crew. The selfishness, desperation, preoccupation, co-dependency and obsessive behavior depicted seemed right on point. I felt that the filmmakers unflinchingly and without apology depicted the good, the bad and the ugly of this relationship while tell a story about two individuals in love.
I saw this wonderful film at Sundance this year, and while some of it was difficult to watch, ultimately, the relationship and its ups and downs made for a compelling two hours. The lead actors (especially Thure Lindhardt) were wonderful, and the film captures New York and a small part of its gay world in a way that made me feel like I knew it. It's remarkable that this film--a story of a tumultuous gay relationship and crack addiction--was ever made, but I'm glad it was. I love that it was, and I feel like I understand addiction (to both drugs and to relationships) in new ways. At times dark and dirty, and at others bright and beautiful, I highly recommend this film.
A KVIFF screening of this year's Teddy winner in Berlin International Film Festival, from American director Ira Sachs. It is a detailed dissection of the a tug-of-war gay relationship between Erik and Paul, which soldiers on almost a decade in the present-time (1997-2006). Thure Lindhardt, the Danish out-of-the-closet actor who has shown the immense stretch in the skin-head gay-romance BROTHERHOOD (2009, an 8/10), transforms himself into a young immigrant documentary director Erik living in NYC, probably sex-addictive, met the dandy boy Peter (Zachary Booth), first time for sexual intercourse, then the mutual attraction brings both into a relationship complex, which encompasses an overt hindrance, Paul's drug-addition, a cliché default even makes for the consistent trappings of gay life, thanks to the barren soil of the genre. It's hard not to compare this film with last year's indie darling WEEKEND (2011, an 8/10), both stand out among other numerous lesser achievers, but in very disparate ways. KEEP THE LIGHTS ON is a sultry relationship conundrum exhausts one's vigor even dignity to sustain the suffocating love; while WEEKEND concentrates on the bad-timing symptom after a casual sex date which one must cut off his feeling and affection. Different terms, same payoff. Nevertheless, both films have a cracking two-hander cast, in this case, Lindhardt and Booth are fervently suited to their tailor-made roles, especially Lindhardt, literally carries the film on his shoulders to elaborate a not-so-extraordinary script, I do hope he will not be stereotyped into the gay-actor-can-never-act-straight category for his future career. The film at large is a mean-well, sincere work with some uneasy aftertaste, but never accomplishes itself as a boredom, a welcome 7 out of 10 is my indulgence.
This is a terrific, low budget, independent, limited release, film about a relationship mortally wounded by addictions. Erik and Paul (Thure Lindhardt and Zachary Booth) meet while trolling for sex on a phone sex line back in 1998 when people were still doing that. The opening scene is of Erik, spread out on his bed in his dingy apartment, on the phone, clicking back and forth between callers, sifting through details of size, appearance, top, bottom, etc. These calls are not about, "would you like to hook up". They are about, "I'm ready, you're ready, do we suit each others needs". One after another he either hangs up on them or they hang up on him, and then, score. Next, we then see Erik walking through the streets of NY, which are as dark and dingy as his apartment, to meet up with "Mr. Right Now", Paul. And then - the big reveal. Erik knocks on Paul's door and as it opens you have the moment that is the giant metaphor for this whole movie: are you who I'm hoping you are and will this work out? Did he lie or tell the truth about his height, looks, hair color, penis size? Will this be a fairytale or a nightmare? On most occasions this is probably where, if you are the one knocking you turn and walk away fast. And if you're the one with the door you slam it and lock it. They do neither. And, for just a second, before the sleaze begins, their eyes lock in a gaze that tells you that they will know each other long after this encounter is over. Writer/director Ira Sachs has some problems with this script. It bogs down near the end. In the scope of the entire film, however, it's minor but worth a mention. He has written, and brought to life, a very gritty, sentimental, and real, story about two men falling in love, as one of them crashes to the ground in flames. Paul has a drug problem. A bad one. Erik tries to tolerate it, bargain with it, talk Paul out of it, literally hold his hand through it, until he finally says, enough. The road from here to there is painful to watch. It unfolds nakedly through the actors, the script, a brilliant music score, and menacing cinematography. This is a familiar story, with a new treatment, and it is raw to the bone. The cast here is breathtakingly effective. Julianne Nicholson (Flannel Pajamas) plays Erik's colleague and best friend with disarming gentleness. Zachary Booth plays Paul, a man only slightly aware of the harm he does to himself and others. Erik's sister is played, sparingly but effectively, by Paprika Steen. With very few lines she establishes the "normal" facets to Erik's character. There's brother/sister tension. But mostly there's love and family. The very thing Erik and Paul want for themselves. One of the more interesting castings is Russ, played by Sebastian La Cause. Russ is one of Erik's distractions from the chaos of Paul, and he is bizarre. They meet over the phone and their first encounter goes a little differently. Sebastian Le Cause has very little screen time but he makes an impression. He is the flashing caution light for those contemplating anonymous encounters. And the way he does this character is jarring. He is as menacing as he is alluring. Ultimately, this film belongs to Thure Lindhardt as Erik. Lindhardt makes you feel this movie, and his journey, as he is dragged through the madness of drug addiction and loving someone who is out of control. He has the same quality that I attribute to great actors like Heath Ledger. He pulls away from the camera, away from the movie, and draws you in closer, until you're living the story with him. Before you know it, Erik's problems are your problems. Which made me care deeply about both of them. It is an astonishing technique and Lindhardt gives a mesmerizing performance. It is natural and unstudied. He finds the perfect pitch in every scene and the expert camera work is there to capture all of it. Thimio Bakatakis's cinematography is art. It's not possible to discern who the genius is here, Bakatakis or Sachs, but someone has angled a camera here, boxed in a shot there, and sometimes filmed scenes where a character is completely back lit by a bright sky, leaving them in shadow, empty, lifeless, or unreachable. Twice, you see Erik caged in the shot. The first time at the museum when he is made to hide from Paul's unexpected ex-girlfriend. The second time, at the bathroom door listening to the running water, quietly calling for Paul. If you turned off the sound, the camera work alone would tell this story. It's easy to get into the weeds too much about how, and in how many different ways, this film is brilliant. But ultimately, it is just compelling. You want these two guys to win. You want their love for one another to trump the mountain of odds stacked against it. You want them to live happily ever after. If ever a film cried out for a sequel, and they almost never do, this one does. Five years after the credits roll on this film I can see Erik and Paul together again, tenuously, carefully, and forever. At the beginning of this film when they see each other for the first time, unglamorous as it was, you know that it's the start of something better. When they see each other for the last time here, I just got the feeling that it wasn't over. This is not an easy film to watch. But much like driving past an accident on the freeway, you can't not look.
Okay, really? This movie is "homophobic" and "makes it look like all gay men smoke crack"? That it didn't seem "believable"? Huh. Maybe because I watched it not only knowing it was largely a true story, but also having read the real-life memoir of the man represented in the film by "Paul" (Bill Clegg), but I thought it did a very good job of depicting the tragedy of being in a relationship with someone fundamentally f*cked up and not being able to let them go until far too late. The acting was spot-on, particularly from Thure Lindhardt, and the portrayals were entirely believable. In no context whatsoever was it intentionally designed to depict gay men as insatiable crackheads. As for complaints that basically go back to verisimilitude: people, it's an indie flick, and a super- low-budget one at that. You can't realistically depict Manhattan circa 1998 that way, nor can you have characters whose attire and hairstyles change all that much during the film. (That said, I've seen photos of Bill Clegg, and his super-preppy "look" -- which is how Paul is consistently depicted in the film -- hasn't really changed much over the years.) My only issue in this regard was in terms of easily avoidable problems; in the second scene for instance, set in 1998, Erik walks by what is clearly recognizable (to a New Yorker, at least) as one of the bus shelters constructed within the past five years or so. They really had to shoot on *that* street? My problems with the film weren't with the acting, but more with its failure to fully flesh out Paul as a character. I'm unclear whether this was intentional -- in the context of "you can never *really* know someone" -- but Paul started out as an enigma and largely stayed that way. I understand that this comes with the territory with a largely autobiographical film written by the protagonist, Erik (though I have no clue whatsoever why he's Danish, to the extent of having conversations in Danish with his sister - Ira Sachs is American and Jewish, though obviously a real-life filmmaker), but hewing so closely to a real-life timeline left Sachs with too little time to delve into what compelled him to stay with "Paul" for such an extended period. I also thought there were a few too many largely extraneous side plots, particularly involving Erik's BFF's biological-clock issues and the weird muscley guy Erik inexplicably hooked up with two times five years apart. And why did a solitary, unexplained pair of scenes have him going to Virginia for an extended period of time? (neither of which had anything whatsoever to do with the main plot) Still, even given its flaws, it's one of the best gay-themed indie films I've seen in quite some time (though "Weekend" is still better all around). It avoids the most typical gay-film clichés (the coming-out stories, the happy endings, the life revolving around discos and fabulous hags) to deliver something raw and real.