Thursday, 19 April 2012
Beauty (Skoonheid) ★★★★☆
Winner of the Queer Palm at last year's Cannes Film Festival, South African director Oliver Hermanus' sophomore feature Beauty (Skoonheid, 2011) is a devastatingly powerful story of obsession and sexual denial, which in itself acts as a powerful allegory for his country's continued transition from a nation of archaic beliefs and traditions to a more open and accepting culture.
François (Deon Lotz) is a devoted husband and father living the suburban dream thanks to his successful Timber company. However, despite this seemingly serene existence he struggles with an internal battle against his repressed homosexual desires. So far, François has managed to keep his sexuality hidden through the support of a weekly group consisting of other married men in similar situations. Despite engaging in all-male orgies together, they detest the thought of any 'faggots' joining their exclusive 'married men only' group. However, Francois' restrain is put to the test when he meets Christian (Charlie Keegan), the handsome son of a long-lost friend. Christian is too much for Francois to ignore - leading to him becoming dangerously obsessed with this engaging young man, and in turn threatening to tear apart the delicate family dynamic he's carefully fabricated.