How does it feel to have lost someone even when they are still in the room? Bill Sherwood's pivotal gay romantic comedy Parting Glances grapples with this difficult and heart-wrenching reality, then connects it with collective fears generated by the AIDS crisis.
Michael (Richard Ganoug) and his partner Robert (John Bolger), who's set to leave for a two-year work assignment in Africa, have reached a crossroads in their five-year relationship. Separation looms, and so does the fear of an unknown future.
The film may be shot like a breezy New York City trifle, but an aching undercurrent resides in every interaction. Sherwood traces Michael and Robert's day together before their imminent parting.
Dinner with Robert's freewheeling boss reveals compartmentalized tensions between the couple, while attendance at a rowdy loft party confirms that fear can be communicated in a number of different ways.
Much of this stems from the elephant in the room; Michael's close friend Nick (Steve Buscemi) is slowly dying of AIDS, and processing this reality has become a game of duck and cover for everyone involved.
Sherwood alludes to hostilities coming from outside the confines of Michael, Nick and Robert's community of friends (i.e. the whispered vitriol from a cab driver). But it's the denial and delusion from inside their group that stings the most. Buscemi's wisecracking Nick is equally perplexed and frustrated at how to handle his illness, giving the film a deep human complexity.
Initially released in 1986, Parting Glances has since become an essential marker of the New Queer Cinema that also included early works by Todd Haynes, Tom Kalin and Gus Van Sant, just to name a few. This would be the only film Sherwood would make, as he died in 1990 from the AIDS virus.
In honor of its 30th anniversary, FilmOut San Diego will screen Parting Glances at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, at the Landmark Hillcrest Cinemas.
10 Cloverfield Lane : After the Cloverfield monster wreaks havoc on the world, two survivors are imprisoned in an underground refuge by a mysterious stranger.
Embrace of the Serpent : A shaman and two European scientists go on a journey up the Amazon to find a scared healing plant that can only be found in the farthest reaches of the region. Opens Friday, March 11, at the Ken Cinema.
Knight of Cups : In Terrence Malick’s new film, a reflective writer (Christian Bale) experiences a spiritual awakening walking around the cement corridors of Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
The 23rd San Diego Latino Film Festival: This 11-day event showcases the best in Latino film, including special showcases on Colombia, documentary and LGBTQ cinema. Opens Thursday, March 10, and screens through Sunday, March 20, at the AMC Fashion Valley Cinemas and Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
The Young Messiah : As a seven-year-old, Jesus Christ travels from Egypt to his hometown of Nazareth eventually finding his religious identity.
One Time Only
Animal House : A rowdy fraternity battles a conservative dean at an American university in 1962. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Trumbo : Bryan Cranston stars as the blacklisted screenwriter who never stops working. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 11 and 12 at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Mad Max: Fury Road : Celebrate one of the best films of 2015 (and six-time Oscar winner) back on the big screen for one night only. Screens at 11:55 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at the Ken Cinema.
2001: A Space Odyssey : Stanley Kubrick’s Sci-fi masterpiece provides a millennium-spanning look at the destructive relationship between technology and mankind. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, at the Arclight La Jolla Cinemas.
Parting Glances : A gay couple living in New York City must come to grips with their impending separation while also confronting a mutual friend’s crippling AIDS diagnosis. Presented by FilmOut San Diego. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, at the Landmark Hillcrest Cinemas.
Rushmore : Wes Anderson and Jason Schwarztman’s collaboration began with this funny, snarky and sincerely moving story of a talented young man who prefers to distract himself from his education by joining every conceivable school club. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.