MAN AT BATH (Christophe Honoré, France). 72 minutes. Subtitled. Friday (May 20), 10 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1.
INSIDE OUT TORONTO LGBT FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL at TIFF Bell Lightbox and Buddies in Bad Times, from today (Thursday, May 19) to May 29. $6-$13, galas $22-$28 (including after-party). 416-599-8433, insideout.ca. See Indie & Rep Film. Rating: NN
The moody French film Man At Bath features a gimmick that almost pays off. Director Christophe Honoré has cast beefy gay porn star François Sagat as Emmanuel, who's been dumped - sort of - by the regular-looking Omar (Omar Ben Sellem) before the latter takes a trip to NYC.
Emmanuel has lots of sex in Omar's Gennevilliers apartment, while in Manhattan, Omar follows around real-life actor Chiara Mastroianni and a Montreal student named Dustin (Dustin Segura-Suarez), who turns out to be a bit of an exhibitionist himself.
The French scenes have more nuance and shape than the American ones, and the film works best when Honoré fuses the two worlds for scenes that work on a psychological, if not literal, level.
Sagat, who's becoming something of an art-house staple (he was in Bruce LaBruce's L.A. Zombie), is perfectly fine as the objectified lover, but the loose, rambling film is less effective than Honoré's previous experiments like Love Songs and Ma Mère.