★★★★ | Theo & Hugo
Two men meet at one of Paris’ most popular, and notorious, gay sex clubs, and then embark on an evening with lots of twist and turns, in the new film Theo & Hugo.
You might think you’re watching a gay porn film as the first 20 minutes of Theo & Hugo is full-on man-to-man action – erections and anal sex are all on full display, filmed at L’Impact – a naked gay sex club in the Marais district in Paris. Theo & Hugo, In French, with English subtitles, is shot in real-time, and it’s in that club where Theo and Hugo meet, at exactly 4:27 a.m., amongst the writhing and moaning group of men who are all enjoying each others’ company.
While there, Theo and Hugo connect sexually, intimately, and emotionally. They then decide to leave the club together to carry on their night with each other. But what wasn’t discussed while they were having unsafe sex at the club was the use of a condom to prevent HIV transmission, as Hugo (Francois Nambot) tells Theo (Geoffrey Couët) that he is HIV+.
What transpires after is a rollercoaster of a night for both of them, when Theo goes to the hospital to get PEP (Post-exposure prophylaxis), a medication that should kill any traces of the virus that might be in his system.
Romantically, and responsibly, Hugo joins him there. They then wander the streets of Paris, on a night that could turn out to be either very romantic or very tragic, with the ramifications of HIV staring them right in the face, and the possibility that their encounter could be more than just an encounter.
Is Theo & Hugo a porn film or is it a film with an important message? This is something that you will have to decide, but nonetheless, it’s guerrilla and gay filmmaking at its finest. And Kudos go to the actors for ‘baring it all’ in scenes that are relevant to the message of the film, and to writers and directors Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau for bravely, and successfully, having the balls to make this controversial, yet romantic and engaging film.
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.