›› Oedipe - [N+1] ‹‹

a short film by Eric Rognard.

2003 | 26 mins | France.

a stylish, if somewhat dark vision of gay conversion therapy.

Dave says:

Based on the novel L'amour au temps du silicium by Jean-Jacques Nguyen, here we find Eric Rognard boldly go where few directors have taken the gay narrative before, and all too sadly since.

For having died in mysterious circumstances, Thomas (Jalil Lespert) has been brought back from the dead thanks to Dr Yoko (Catherine Buquen) and The Centre for New Life's service of body cloning. Yet something just isn't right. For his memories do not match the reality that his mother (Nicole Jamet) presents him with in the form of an engagement to Helena, one that's clearly at odds with a series of flashbacks that speak of times spent instead with boyfriend Kazo (Dimitri Storoge). Determined to find the man he loved in his previous life, Thomas leaves the protection of The Circle in a desperate bid to locate the streets and restaurants he associates with Kazo but and like the man himself seemingly never existed, prompting an experience that's destined to reveal the shocking truth to a society divided between genetically modified and non-modified human beings; namely those living within and outside of The Circle, if not perhaps somewhere in between.

Beautifully played from start to finish and with high production values aided by the imaginative use of contemporary locations and props, here Rognard has taken the words of Nguyen and crafted a stylish, if somewhat dark vision of gay conversion therapy. Only behind the impressive set designs and CGI effects, lies the compelling work of veteran French actress Jamet who excels as a mother who simply wishes her son, finely played by Lespert in at times twin styled roles, to live up to her expectations. For that's the crux of the matter, given her image of the ideal son is of the heterosexual nature, making for a chilling narrative that plays to the concerns many feel today, over the genetic advances of tomorrow and of a conversion therapy of the 'third time lucky' kind.

All of which makes for a short film that's as engrossing, as it's alarming. Yet what is of particular note is the genre itself. For of the hundreds of films reviewed on this website, the vast majority fall within the tried and tested scenarios of the like of the coming out / coming-of-age, relationship drama, love beckons or perhaps not in the end reel etc., gay cinematic set list. And whilst there's nothing wrong with that, it does however make for a narrative case of history repeating. Here however Rognard has gone out of his way to break free from the norm and inject new life into the often stale genre. The result is a work that plays more like the concluding half-hour of the latest Hollywood sci-fi offering and frankly is all the more a rewarding, if nightmarish experience for it. Gay cinema with a rarely seen science fiction bite to it; indeed.

›› available as part of the WOLFE VIDEO catalogue: BOY CRUSH shorts compilation
- 4th December, 2007 / US.
›› revised: Friday, 24th March, 2023.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - from the waist up | Overall - file under ... 5 stars

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