Tenebrae Lessons

Vincent Dieutre's 1999 diary film chronicles his sojourns in Utrecht, Naples, and Rome, its haunting video and Super-8 images (some shot clandestinely) recording the cities' museums, bars, and alleys. In voice-over he evokes the sufferings of Caravaggio, Pasolini, Proust, Saint Sebastian, and other gay icons, while the occasional liturgical music reminds us that the film's title refers to hymns for the passion of Christ. Dieutre juxtaposes remembrances of a lost lover with his furtive embraces of men he picks up during his trip, but his doleful musings on love, beauty, art, and mortality reveal so little about his past that it's hard to care much about his gloom and alienation. 77 min.

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