“A few years ago I was displaced from the country I lived in, due to wars that are nothing to do with me and are out of my control. I was forced to travel for many months until I managed to end up in a country so completely different from my own that I never knew how I could see it as a home. Until one day I met a man.”
So goes one of the most unusual confessions received by Erika Lust on XConfessions.com. Inspired by the deeply moving and brave story of a gay Syrian refugee arriving in Germany, Erika passed the confession on to the prolific, fantastic and controversial director Bruce LaBruce, to direct XC’s first gay film. A Syrian refugee is living in Germany when he stumbles across a poetry reading. Not understanding each other’s language, they nevertheless share a moment of recognition, of desire, from across the room. Too shy to approach any further, the young man walks away. But that won’t be the last time they meet…Brutal, gentle, sexy, romantic and earth-shatteringly moving, this film is an exploration of how our differences can become our similarities; how in a world being turned upside down, love and desire are still the strongest forces of all.
Bruce LaBruce is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, photographer, writer, and artist based in Toronto. Along with a number of short films, he has written and directed nine feature films, including his most recent, Gerontophilia, which won the Grand Prix at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema in Montreal in 2013, and Pierrot Lunaire, which won the Teddy Award Special Jury Prize at the Berlinale in 2014.
Political, artistic, controversial, sensitive and confrontational, LaBruce’s work is many things – but the humanity within, the deep understanding of a desire, always, for human connection, is what keeps his work rooted in a reality that we can always recognise, as absurd or unbelievable as it may become. Sex may be his medium for social commentary, but it’s clear, from “Refugee’s Welcome” and his other work, that it is also a thoroughly personal and private journey that LaBruce allows us to voyeuristically experience and enjoy.
“Now the phrase Refugees Welcome has an entirely new meaning for me.”