Jeffrey

Feature Film USA 1995

Love in the times of AIDS. This is the first time this disease was the subject of a comedy film. The movie is based on a Broadway play written by Paul Rudnick, who two years later was to write the script for In & Out. The protagonist is a promiscuous actor-waiter who becomes so afraid of being infected by HIV that he decides to put an end to his intense sex life, until his chastity is seriously put to the test by a gorgeous HIV-positive man. They fall madly in love. The film plays cleverly with the stereotypes and mannerisms of homosexual culture, taking inspiration from the typical Hollywood screwball comedy, from Preston Sturges' brisk pacing and Noel Coward's witty dialogue. Without pretending to imitate reality, the author chooses a surreal mise-en-scène which is openly grotesque with macabre undertones, and is full of interludes, dance sequences and parodies. Some incredibly talented actors in cameo roles come to his aid: from Sigourney Weaver playing a post-modern evangelist, to Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard of "Star Trek"), who has recently come out; from Nathan Lane to Olympia Dukakis and to the special guest appearance of a (fake) Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The film has no moral message, just like the terrifying virus, whose relentless spread would be stopped shortly afterwards by the discovery of the protease inhibitor. "Hate AIDS, Jeffrey, not life": this is the wise advice he will take to heart. And a whole generation with him.

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