Unsimulated sex and its utilization in film is a continuing debate between movie aficionados on whether the uncensored acts add to a story or the general moviegoing experience. French filmmakers Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau create a controversial – yet very convincing – argument towards the issue in their minimalist drama Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo.
After a hot-and-heavy night of cruising in a Paris sex club, Theo (François Nambot) and Hugo (Geoffrey Couët) fall for each other and hook up. A highly stylized sequence hints that they are, in fact, soul mates. What starts as mere physical attraction hastily snowballs into a darker scenario when Theo admits to not using protection. Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo covers a small time frame (from 4:27 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.), but contains lots of detail as the men get to know each other in reverse.
The film is juxtaposed in a modern dating scene where explicit physical barriers are broken down before an emotional core is even touched. For that alone, Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo is a wake-up call for a bare-all generation.
Comparisons to Richard Linklater’s Before… series may seem too easy, but it’s difficult to not be reminded as Theo and Hugo walk around empty streets of Paris and talking about the next steps in their spur-of-the-moment relationship. However, the filmmakers (along with mesmerizing performances by Nambot and Couët, and moody music by Karelle + Kuntur) flawlessly blend the charms and excitement of romance with other lingering fears so much so that their film stands on its own.
Catch Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo at Toronto’s Inside Out LGBT Film Festival on:
Friday, May 27 at 9:15 p.m. @ TIFF Bell Lightbox
Click here for more festival details and to buy tickets.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie