JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Being at Home With Claude (Director/Screenwriter: Jean Beaudin) - October 20, 2004

Being at Home With Claude

3 3
90 min.

Drowning in love

Parades abound, concerts take place, lovers are found—some for a price: cash only please.

Fireworks blast, a tenor sax lifts his rifts to the heavens; sweat is so heavy it beads on the skin eager for more dripping company to slide down the belly and into their lust.

Table for two, upscale wine, yet just spaghetti to fill the basic needs while total love—having pulled back from the brink—is ready to shower both with simultaneous proof that is so spectacular, so exceptional—


—that it can never be repeated, so, now, better run, run, run.

The opening sequence of this 1992 Official Cannes Selection is powerful and blunt. Thomas Vámos' edgy camera and André Corriveau's brilliant editing combine for an exemplary demonstration of the “show don't tell” axiom of film and video arts.

Whether extreme close-up of the bodies engaged, or wide shots of the city's winking lights from Mount Royal, the imagery delights the eye even as it challenges the mind; black-and-white is perfect for this sequence and in the coming back-story.

Unfortunately, that's the best part of the film. After the opening credits, René-Daniel Dubois' “play” begins and director/writer Jean Beaudin reverts to more of a documentary style than truly adapting the stage to the screen. His result uses too many words, one main set and too few flashbacks to allow us to see rather than hear how this remarkable story concludes.

That said, it's a satisfying result nonetheless.

Roy Dupuis is physically and dramatically convincing as Yves, a busy gay hustler who is both “addicted to the fucking” and smart enough to know that true love can't be found in the tricks he services: cute or not. For after release (two-minute wonders or all-night lays) the world they use his body to escape from, with its wives, children, mortgages and car payments prevails, shoving Yves to the sidelines, but safe in the knowledge his johns will be back for more.

Until Claude. As portrayed by Jean-François Pichette, this student/writer shuns his upper-middle class pals and shyly implores Yves to lead him out of his sheltered existence, letting his true carnal self emerge. In only a month, the pair of social opposites bond in deeper ways than either imagined, with the sexual side growing as feverishly as their emotional glue.

Being a man of experience and vision, Yves realizes—as he and Claude merge into a single being—that fate drops the butcher knife within reach for a purpose: as they come, so must they go—drowning together in all of their bodies' fluids.

Cut to the judge's chambers, where the cantankerous police inspector (Jacques Godin, better as the angry interrogator than the understanding confessor) pummels his manipulative prisoner with questions until the unbelievable proves true.

Dubois' long dialogue scenes are delivered with gusto, but the visual limitation of the law library dampens the pace, unlike the theatre, where the audience can decide for itself which character to follow and frame their own shots.

Yet there is much to learn from this doomed relationship. With gay marriage ranting and raging through today's media, it's instructive to visit a film that is populated with same-sex disasters: for them, there is no legitimate way of expressing their love; they must pay then slink back to their “real” lives.

Yves' epiphany comes when he observes his beloved Claude shunning his straight friends in order to stay at home with his man. But the overwhelming rejections that Yves has known from his first blow-job-for-cash have taken their toll. Ecstatic in being truly loved for the first time in his existence, Yves must ensure that his glowing, spent partner doesn't survive only to come to his senses in post-orgasmic guilt. JWR

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Director/Screenwriter - Jean Beaudin
Based on the play by - René-Daniel Dubois
Cinematography - Thomas Vámos
Art Direction - François Séguin
Editor - André Corriveau
Further information, future screening/performance/exhibition dates,
purchase information, production sponsors:
Strand Releasing
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