The Man I Love | Chicago Reader

The Man I Love

Stephane Giusti (Why Not Me?) wrote and directed this French TV drama (1997) about a lifeguard in a Marseilles suburb (Jean-Michel Portal) who falls reluctantly and then passionately in love with a gregarious pool boy (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo). The film's first third—in which the lifeguard's feisty girlfriend (Mathilde Seigner) encourages the coy and testy relationship developing between the two men—is more complex emotionally than the balance of the film, which mixes gooey romantic scenes, ACT UP politics, and pleas for gay marriage (the pool boy suffers from AIDS). Giusti knows the message he wants to convey and has Jacques Bouquin's sun-drenched cinematography on his side, but the tone veers toward the ludicrous: in one scene the two lovers sing a socialist anthem with the pool boy's flamboyant mother as they drive around in a pink Mercedes trying to find a cemetery. In French with subtitles. 87 min.

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