The hero who calls himself "X" is a variable in a world that does not add up. As detached as his name, he strives to love no one, not even his two caring roommates and especially not his johns. Only the hustle drives "X" until an elderly trick tells a love story that opens his eyes. Of course, "X" will have to blink several times to get it. Brocka's 1999 short. Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in the World, employed characters made of Legos; this time he uses hot flesh and blood to animate his tale of lust and liberation among Seattle's queer and curious. But Boy Culture isn't just a microscope on modern gay life. It is an exploration of the push-me-pull-you in all of us when it comes to making the ultimate connection. Fueled by "X's" cheeky, hard-boiled narration, Boy Culture jumps from clubs of the sleek and sinewy, to the damp streets where "X" rides his motorcycle, to the trendy lairs where "X" fancies himself the hunter and anyone who desires him to be the quarry. Brocka's insight allows the hero to laugh and cry at himself, and to realize that sunnier possibilities await if he can seize them. Only then can he fill in the blank.
Director's Statement Collapse
Most gay-themed romances I've seen, read, and even made, tend to resemble the format of heterosexual romances. What I discovered when reading Boy Culture is that there are differences. The book goes further than replacing the gender of a character in a traditional heterosexual story. These characters are uniquely men. Rather than taking the approach of the traditional romance in adapting the story to the screen, I felt it important to approach this as a "guy" film. Only, instead of coming together to pull a heist, fight a war, or beat each other up, these "guys" are falling in love with each other. And the thing that makes this relationship difficult is that both men bring stereotypically "guy" relationship problems to the table. When I first read the novel, I was quickly drawn to the inner voice of the main character, X. Here is a guy who is a lot like me: a strange combination of heartless cynic and hopeless romantic. His detached observations, coupled with his experiences as a hustler seeing people's deepest secrets, give him a cold, bleak veneer; an emotionless surface on which he prides himself. But beneath that lies a need for companionship. A need that could never be met by a mere "gay man," because gay men are flawed. And as long as he knows this, he can remain impervious to love until he realizes how badly he's fallen for his roommate Andrew, who is exceptionally flawed. The obstacle keeping them apart isn't feuding parents, a conservative society, or a secret bet; it's their own definitions of commitment and what they want in a relationship. They've met and they like each other, but neither one of them has a traditional conception of a happy ending, and therein lies their conflict. The realistic simplicity of such an obstacle-oneself-is what makes this story so exciting and personal to me.
About the Director(s)Collapse
Boy Culture is writer/director Allan Brocka's second feature film. Brocka has gained prominence for his work as a GLBT filmmaker. His animated short film Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in all the World achieved instant buzz at Sundance 2000. The film is now being developed as a television series on the Logo network. His other short films, Roberta Loved and Seventy, have earned top honors at numerous international film festivals. Brocka's first feature, Eating Out, won the Phoenix, Hawaii, and Rome Gay and Lesbian Film Festivals. Variety chose Brocka as one of five gay and lesbian directors to watch. He was also profiled in the AMC documentary series "Gay Hollywood," which followed openly gay men on their journey in the entertainment business. Brocka is currently shooting Uncle Lino, a documentary feature about his uncle, director and queer provocateur Lino Brocka.