A STRANGE LOVE AFFAIR
Dirs. Eric de Kuyper & Paul Verstaten, 1985.
The Netherlands, Belgium. 95 mins.
In English with German subtitles.
Far and away the most narratively straight-forward of de Kuypers films, A STRANGE LOVE AFFAIR is a bracing yet tender dissection of middle age and loves lost, a joint homage to BRIEF ENCOUNTER and ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS. Shot by the legendary Henri Alekan (WINGS OF DESIRE, BELLE ET LA BETE), the film revisits JOHNNY GUITARS query as to whether or not relationships once interrupted can be revived under the right circumstances. In rather reflexive fashion, de Kuyper casts Howard Hensel as Michael, a 40-something film professor, who falls in love with one of his students. When the two take off to London for a weekend, Michael uncovers that his students father is in fact his former lover from 15 years prior. With its deliberate dialogue and restrained camerawork, A STRANGE LOVE AFFAIR captures the reticence and taboos surrounding not only gay love affairs, but also those hampered by the passage of time.
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