I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of gay cinema. Sure, there are some classics every ‘mo should own (Shaving Ryan’s Privates, Raiders of the Lost Arse, Whorry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Balls), but I can watch only so many gut-wrenching flicks about gaybashings, AIDS and Julia Roberts.
So I was surprised and pleased when I heard about Everything and Everyone, a charming new movie by Vancouver indie filmmaker Ian Tang. The film is a real ensemble piece, featuring a series of interwoven stories about a disparate group of family and friends. And unlike my previous examples, Tang’s gay characters focus on action of the fully-clothed kind.
Eric and Max have been together for some time, despite significant personality differences. Max is the more reserved of the two, preferring to keep his lifestyle and relationship on the down-low, while the irrepressible Eric is the epitome of out and proud. It’s a combination that leads to much debate and introspection.
“I wanted to make a movie that would aim at a more mature audience,” Tang says. “Those straight-to-DVD gay movies are aimed more at people in their early 20s, but I’d like to think my gay couple deals more with intimacy than intercourse. It’s not just about sex; they have great conversations about politics and the gay community.”
Another Everything and Everyone storyline focuses on a blossoming relationship between grandmother and grandson. Rose has begun suffering the effects of dementia, leaving her frightened, confused and isolated from a son too busy to take notice of his mother’s degenerating health. The surprise appearance of grandson Ben gives the woman both an ally and confidante as she faces the unknown. It also offers young Ben the sense of family he so desperately needs, having discovered his father’s identity only after the death of his mother.
“Rose is too proud and doesn’t want to burden others with her problems,” Tang says. “Her son Noah is so self-centred that he’s oblivious to what’s going on with her. She and Ben share a real connection . . . they’re all each other has, really.”
The film’s third plot examines the nature of Noah’s selfishness, as he begins to realize his dreams of acting fame are unlikely to come true. His friend Amanda (played by Chelah Horsdal) carries a torch for him but is so crippled by low self-esteem she’s convinced nobody would respond to her romantically.
Fans of the television series Sanctuary will recognize Ryan Robbins as Noah, while L Word aficionados will remember Horsdal, who played flame-haired psychic Sally. It’s an impressive cast for an indie film with basically no budget, and they lend a real spark to Tang’s screenplay.
“I love to tell people that they have to ask for what they want, because that’s how I got this amazing cast,” Tang says. “I funded this film myself, and there was no way I could have afforded thousands of dollars a day for actors of this calibre.”
Tang feels it was the film’s universal themes that secured the performers’ commitment to the project, along with a delightful soundtrack contribution by West Coast artist Andrew Allen.
“I think what separates the script from others is that everyone can relate to it, and it’s very smart,” Tang says. “There are issues of dementia, bullying, discovering self-love and finding your place in the world. It’s timeless and humorous. People have actually left the theatre crying as well as laughing their heads off.”
Everything and Everyone
Until Thurs, Dec 8
The Projection Booth theatre
1035 Gerrard St E