Prizm News / March 7, 2018 / By David-Elijah Nahmod

 

Scenes from “Don’t Call Me Son” (above) and “Sebastian” (top).

By David-Elijah Nahmod  

Welcome to Queerly Digital, a regular column about Queer-themed films on DVD or Blu Ray. 

Sebastian” (2017) 
Director: James Fanizza 
80 minutes 
Wolfe Video 
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Almost as lovely as the Oscar-nominated “Call Me By Your Name,” James Fanizza’s romantic drama, “Sebastian,” shot in Toronto, comes to DVD courtesy of lesbian-owned Wolfe Video. The film poses the question: What do you do when your soulmate turns out to be your cousin’s boyfriend? 

Sebastian (Alex House), who lives in Buenos Aires, is visiting his Canadian relatives. He meets Alex (writer/director Fanizza) for what’s meant to be nothing more than coffee. 

 

The attraction between them is instantaneous and irresistible. It’s love at first sight. The pair is forced to confront two realities: Alex is dating Sebastian’s cousin, for whom he has no feelings, and Sebastian is due to return to Buenos Aires in a week.  

The film follows their week-long relationship as the bond between them grows stronger and deeper. When Alex’s boyfriend catches them together, all hell breaks out. Alex and Sebastian briefly break up but get back together a day or so later; they are simply unable to resist each other. 

When the time comes for Sebastian to return to Argentina, they have to decide what to do. Will they split up for good, or will they find a way to stay together? 

House and Fanizza have amazing chemistry together. The screen literally sizzles when they kiss, and even when they do nothing more than look at each other. Fanizza’s mature script does not villainize them for hurting Sebastian’s cousin; they in fact meant no harm. Alex was planning on breaking up with him anyway. Several scenes early in the film make it clear that it was always a one-sided relationship. 

Brian McCook (Katya Zamolodchikova from “RuPaul’s Drag Race”) is on hand as Alex’s best friend. The casting of McCook is the film’s one flaw. McCook’s character, Xenia, is never properly developed and is little more than a decorative role. We see Xenia performing drag in the local gay bar. Other than that, Xenia urges Alex to follow his heart. It’s a thankless part that anyone could have played.  

But, overall, “Sebastian” is a sweet romance. Anyone who’s ever felt the exhilarating joy and pain of love can relate to what Sebastian and Alex are feeling. We give the film three out of four kisses. 

(Watch the trailer for “Sebastian”)

“Don’t Call Me Son” (2016) 
Director: Anna Muylaert 
82 minutes 
Kino Lorber  
(Now streaming on Netflix) 

 

Kino Lorber offers Anna Muylaert’s “Don’t Call Me Son,” an intense drama from Brazil. The film is about Pierre, a bisexual 17-year-old whose life is thrown upside down when he learns that both he and his sister were stolen out of a maternity ward by the woman they think is their mother.  

While Mom sits in jail, Pierre is returned to his biological parents, who insist on calling him Felipe, the name they had chosen for him. They don’t pay attention to his insistence at wanting to be called Pierre and ignore his obvious resentment at being torn from the only family he has ever known. This is the film’s main storyline. 

Kino Lorber’s box cover suggests that the film has more Queer content then it actually does. Pierre/Felipe’s bisexuality is made clear: He’s seen having sex with a girl and kissing another boy. These are throw-away scenes that have nothing to do with the film’s plot.  

Toward the end of the film, Pierre/Felipe begins to cross-dress in front of his parents. He appears to be neither a drag queen nor trans. He’s doing this to piss his biological family off as he doesn’t consider them family and doesn’t want to be with them. 

Though not quite a Queer-themed film, “Don’t Call Me Son” is still a well done if dark drama. Naomi Nero gives a wonderfully layered performance as the angry young man who just wants his family back. Dani Nefussi is particularly good in the dual roles of both mothers.  

If you want to see a film that will offer a look at a young bi kid’s struggle with sexuality, then look elsewhere. But if a drama about family loyalty sounds interesting to you, then “Don’t Call Me Son” will definitely be of interest.  

(Watch the trailer for “Don’t Call Me Son”)

Bob Vitale
Bob Vitale is the editor of Prizm. A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, he has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield. Contact: BobVitale@prizmnews.com