Théo et Hugo dans le même bateau [Paris 05:59] (2016)

Théo et Hugo dans le même bateau
Director: Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau
Writer: Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau
Cast: Geoffrey Couët, François Nambot
Part of: identities Festival (special screening)
Seen on: 7.10.2016

Théo (Geoffrey Couët) sees Hugo (François Nambot) in a sex club for the first time and is immediately drawn to him. Their eyes meet and without actually speaking to each other, they fuck. Afterwards they both feel like something special has happened, so they leave the club together and start talking to each other. Their budding romance is interrupted though when Hugo realizes that Théo did not use a condom like he assumed. Hugo is horrified, especially because he is HIV positive – and Théo risks having been infected himself.

Théo and Hugo is practically built to be a dramatic, shocking and sad film and it somehow ends up being one of the sweetest and romantic couples I have seen in a while. It left me grinning from ear to ear.

When you read the description about the film, and when the film itself starts, it’s probably the least romantic thing you can imagine, what with the extensively and explicitly filmed group sex scene and then the HIV scare that is equally extensively and explicitly filmed and realistically handled. And yet what we see happening on-screen feels utterly like magic unfolding. The spark that ignites between Théo and Hugo gets transferred to the audience easily and you’re absolutely rooting for them separately and as a couple every step of the way.

While their relationship has more ups and downs in the first few hours than many others have in the first few years, the film never forgets that these two just met and are just starting things – or maybe not starting things. And so the audience never forgets either. The resulting balance between discovering each other and a certain sense of immediate (and somewhat forced) intimacy is perfectly well held. It’s simply wonderful.

And the film manages to keep another balance: that between the lovestory and the very serious issues at its heart. HIV is confronted in a very modern way, with latest realistic treatment (sometimes it feels like when we see HIV stories on screen, they always happen in the 80s/90s and people always die in the most horrible way) and the film takes its time to touch on homophobia and prejudice as well.

That there is still a sense of lightweight elation amid all that is due to the wonderful performances and Ducastel and Martineau’s more than competent handling of the story. I can only repeat how beautiful the entire thing is.

Summarizing: Who would have thought that this would be a feel good film?

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