›› Juste une question d'amour - Just a question of love
the raw reality of a parents love and sexual acceptance
You have to hand it to the French, for they can produce some seriously fine work and this film from A Love to Hide director Christian Faure is no exception.
It tells the story of Laurent, a gay agricultural student struggling to come to terms with the death of his homosexual cousin Marc, a man who was disowned by his parents when he let his true sexual self be known. Missing a relative who was more like a brother to him, Laurent has since gone into an emotional and educational meltdown, causing the head of his college to seek the services of Cédric and an internship made in heaven, given between the nurseries and the lab, Laurent finds himself falling for Cédric and put it this way, the feeling is mutual. Only therein lies the problem, given Cédric is out to one and all and has no intention of keeping his sexuality hidden from his potential in-laws. Unlike Laurent who habitually enlists the help of his best friend Carole as 'girlfriend material' at the requisite family gatherings, given the patriarchal view that "when you're like Marc, it's best to keep quiet." And keep quiet Laurent does, much to the annoyance of Carole, let alone the love of his life and for that matter his accepting mother Emma. Somehow, somewhere, something has to give and here, it's just a question of when? Or should that be, just a question of love?
Achingly passionate, this bold depiction of gay love ranks as one of the most honest depictions of the problems faced by a young man who for the sake of family unity seemingly has no option but to keep his sexuality hidden, only to fall in love with a man whose days of living in the closet are well and truly over. To that end, Cyrille (Confusion of Genders) Thouvenin as Laurent and Stéphan Guérin-Tillié as Cédric throw themselves into their roles in a remarkable realistic coupling that whilst not explicit, leaves you in no doubt as to the sexuality of their characters and indeed of their love for each other. Yet and in as much as Caroline Veyt is perfect as shoulder to lean on Carole, it is Eva Darlan as caring Emma whose acceptance of her son's sexuality contrasts sharply with the homophobic mindset of Laurent's mother Jeanne (Danièle Denie) and inparticular her bigoted husband Pierre (Idwig Stephane) that sets the celluloid stage of the piece, in a feature notably devoid of stereotype.
Watched by over six million viewers when premiered in prime time on French public television in January 2000 and yes this was a made for television production, the result is a landmark example of French gay cinema, ingrained as it is with the raw reality of how a parents' acceptance, like self-acceptance, is for many not an overnight experience. Viva La France, I say!