Jeffrey Cinema #26


For the first Jeffrey’s Cinema in relation to our exhibition by Flavio Pons and Claudio Goulart Jeffrey selected the following 2 films:


Directed by Bill Sherwood
90 minutes
In English with subtitles


‘This incredible flick has a hell of a lot going for it. First off, it was the debut role of actor Steve Buscemi. Here he plays Nick, a young punk musician who has been recently diagnosed as HIV positive, and therefore knows he will soon die of AIDS. What makes it especially poignant is that director Bill Sherwood only made one movie in his life—he was also dying of AIDS, and therefore this was his swan song, his last thoughts on life. Although it is an uplifting movie, it also has an undercurrent of melancholy. Another aspect that makes this film so special is that it was a truly independent project, without any of the slickness of Hollywood (it cost less than $100,000)… and it also has none of Hollywood’s condescending tone of charity, or cheap sentiments. In fact, this film has been described as “the first major gay movie made for gay people.” So despite its low-budget grunginess, Parting Glances is also monumental in a certain sense.

So yes, this is how Steve Buscemi (Fargo, Reservoir Dogs, etc) started out, and it is how I first knew of him. Young, a bit gawky, incredibly disarming. And although the soundtrack does include music by The Bronski Beat, it widens the range beyond the stereotypes, and includes interest in classical and punk rock music. It charts 24 hours of interactions among a diverse circuit of friends, as one of them is about to leave for Africa to work with a healthcare charity. They float through going-away parties, hang out in Soho lofts, etc., but the real quality is the film’s off-beat roughness, and bohemian antics.

And one must remember when this film hit the screens, AIDS was not a noble cause, it was something demonized in all of the mainstream press in America. I remember it well. The president of the United States, along with the media, treated AIDS victims as sinners and said they were getting what they deserved. They joked about it, and called it the “gay plague.” This was the climate back then, and a film like this was an incredibly bold move. This will be a shamefully rare screening of this charmer.’



Directed by Marco Alessi
23 minutes
In English with subtitles


In 1991 a group of gay activists dressed up like nuns and created their own religion in the face of the HIV aids epidemic, and called themselves The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. They needed a saint that they could look up to, so they selected the queer British filmmaker Derek Jarman. Simultaneously joyful and sad, this is a short documentary about their antics and struggle.