Queer film director Bruce LaBruce returns with ‘Saint Narcisse’ 

Saint Narcisse | Dir: Bruce LaBruce | ★ ★ ★ ½ 

As the title suggests, the main character of this B-Grade film has a fetish for looking at himself, whether it be in a reflection or capturing his image by taking Polaroid photographs. Twenty-two year old Dominic Beauchamp (Felix Antoine Duval) is a fine young man and a fantastic narcissist, so imagine his excitement when he discovers that he has an identical twin.

Brought up by his grandmother, he believed that his mother was dead, when in fact she had left his father to be with another woman when she was pregnant and had the babies taken was from her when they were born. She must have been completely out if it at the birth because not only did she believe that her son had was still born, but she didn’t know that she had given birth to two babies.

When his grandmother dies, the leather-clad Dominic and jumps on his motor bike and sets out to find his mother Beatrice (Tanya Kontoyanni), branded as a witch and living outside a town with a younger woman Irene (Alexandra Petrachuk). Spying on the young men in robes at the local monastery and in a nearby lake without their robes, Dominic locates his twin brother Daniel (also Felix Antoine Duval).

Canadian independent and queer-punk director Bruce LaBruce is blatant in his use of the binary oppositions to create conflict. There is the nature versus culture dialectic, with close to nature pagan mother in opposition to the demonic Christian culture that is quite depraved courtesy of head Father (Andreas Apergis). Then there is self-love versus self abuse with Daniel reviling his mortal flesh in all manner of torture.

Turning most social taboos on their heads and described by The Guardian as “a slutty sacrilegious story of incest, witches and wayward monks”, the film brings a whole new meaning to “go fuck yourself”… and received official selection in the Venice Film Festival.

Saint Narcisse is one of the 26 feature films at the Revelation Perth International Film Festival screening at Luna and Luna SX Cinemas from Thursday 7 July to Sunday 17 July.

Lezly Herbert

Who is Bruce LaBruce?

Canadian filmmaker and photographer Bruce LaBruce first gained attention created queer punk zines in the mid-1980s. As the 1990’s dawned he moved into filmmaking and was touted as one of the big names of the new queer cinema movement.

LaBruce rejected the association with the film movement, saaying he felt he was more aligned the queercore music movement that spawned punk bands like Pansy Division.

His debut film was No Skin Off My Ass which played at film festivals around the world, Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain famous declared it to be his favourite movie.

La Bruce quickly followed this up with Super 8½ and then Hustler White. The 1996 film starred Tony Ward, the male supermodel who had previously dated Madonna and appeared in her Sex book.

In 2004 he released The Raspberry Reich which explored cult dynamics in it’s story about a terrorist group of gay men, lead by a woman. An alternative version of the film was also released, The Revolution is My Boyfriend included additional pornographic scenes.

Australian audiences were not permitted to see LaBruce’s 2008 film Otto; or, Up with Dead People as Australian censors refused permission for it to be screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

He ended the decade with L.A Zombie, which was again released in two versions, a narrative film for film festivals, and extended version with pornographic sex scenes added.       

LaBruce’s later films have returned to a more traditional filmmaking approach, while retaining his love of pushing boundaries. He’s continued on with Gerontophilia (2013), Pierrot Lunaire (2014), The Misandrists (2017), Ulrike’s Brain (2017).

Gerontophilia told the story of a young man, who is attracted to elderly men, and takes a job in a nursing home where he begins a relationship with one of the residents. While the film was not as sexually explicit as LaBruce’s earlier films it still caused significant controversy when it was in cinemas.

In 2018 he shared It is Not the Pornographer That is Perverse, a series of four short films created for porn studio CockyBoys. Through his career LaBruce has also continued to make short films on a regular basis.  

Graeme Watson 

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