Saw Tom Ford‘s quite amazing debut feature A Single Man at Bafta last night. It’s based on a Christopher Isherwood story following a single day in the life of a
lietrature literature professor at a Los Angeles university. The film’s magical and most reminded me of Steve McQueen’s Hunger and Julian Schnabel’s Diving Bell and the Butterfly in that all three were made by non-directors who’re hugely successful in their own fields. There are moments of real freshness of vision that it’s hard to imagine them coming from a battle-hardened Hollywood director.
There was a Q&A with Colin Firth who plays the university professor and the director Tom Ford. Sadly it centred too much on the fact that it’s Ford’s first feature and the problems that might have created. When a film’s this good you know it’s no fluke and the result of a real determination and vision.
The other slightly irritating thing was the near constant returning to the idea of it being a gay story rather than one of loss, loneliness and how we might find redemption which far overshadows the sexuality of the cast. Similarly, there were several questions to Firth about a straight man playing a gay character and how that works. Er, he’s an actor for fuck’s sake – they pretend, it’s what they do!
There was an interesting moment when in describing the fact that Nicholas Hoult‘s mohair jumper need Tom Ford’s constant attention with hairspray to stop it fluffing up (fashion tip!) Colin Firth said something like “You can see from that Nicholas is very secure in his masculinity.” What caught my attention is that he said “masculinity” when I think he perhaps meant “sexuality”. So not “heterosexuality” versus “homosexuality”, which is the usual binary opposition that is made, but one of “homosexuality” versus “masculinity”. Does this mean that male homosexuals can’t be masculine?