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One Way, or “the Other”: Asian American Film and Video

Saturday, December 1, 2007
8:30 p.m. The Living End
Gregg Araki (U.S., 1991)

Gregg Araki in Person
Premiere of Remastered Director’s Cut!

There’s nothing about Asian American identity in this self-described “irresponsible movie,” unless you count the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle water bottle filled with Jack Daniels. Gregg Araki’s allegiance lies elsewhere—within the milieu of 1990s gay youth culture. When boy meets boy in this anarchic road movie, a nihilistic momentum is already in place. Jon (Craig Gilmore), a somewhat inhibited L.A.-based film critic, gets the med alert that he’s HIV-positive; his partner in crimes of passion, Luke (Mike Dytri), a buff street hustler, is already rocketing on some HIV-inspired death fantasies. The two set off on a reckless odyssey, often dubbed a queer Thelma and Louise, fuelled by rough sex, fast food, and salty soul-searching. Marked by a savage and energetic style echoing early Godard, Araki’s arresting feature injects its HIV outcasts with an ironic lust for life. Instead of a death warrant, Jon and Luke find a mad love that frees them from the restraints of society and sickness.

—Steve Seid

• Written, Photographed by Araki. With Mike Dytri, Craig Gilmore, Darcy Marta, Mary Woronov. (92 mins, Color, DigiBeta, From Strand Releasing)