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Cinema || I kissed a girl (Queer Inversions)

Simple inversions often present a perspective that, in spite of retaining their inherent capacity to disturb the general notion of affairs, does not fail to generate a ‘general’ sense of novelty when presented in a pink little package for the very first time.

A deferred ‘coming out’ tale will obviously imply the ‘tragic’ trajectory of a heterosexual couple, half of whom will eventually discover his/her predominantly homogenous predilections as far as sexual preference is concerned.

The tragedy of a ‘broken’ couple does reside at the core of ‘I kissed a Girl’ as well. Thankfully, however, it is presented in a cotton candy cocoon of burgeoning romance that follows classic tropes of any memorable romantic comedy including (but certainly not limited to) weakening knees, chasing one’s object of desire across geopolitical borders and the usual dose of Shakesperean comedies of  errors.

A plot that could very well be inspired from the Katy Perry song ‘I kissed a girl’ (the male, French version sung by Matthieu Chedid even accompany the closing credits), it ingeniously reverses the premise of the Perry song as we find the gay, engaged Jérémie Deprez (Pio Marmaï) accidentally indulging in a one night stand with the debutante Swedish beauty Adna (Adrianna Gradziel). The ‘accident’, as Jérémie desperately hopes it to be,  begins disrupting his 10 year relationship with his boyfriend turned fiancée Antoine (Lannick Gautry), a charming doctor and a nice person to boot, who is as excited about their upcoming social union as the family of Jérémie. Things begin to go haywire when Jérémie’s confidante-cum-business partner, the playboy Charles (Franck Gastambide) ends up hiring Adna for a temp job in their office, setting the premise for the one-night stand to turn into a full-fledged affair.

Adna’s lack of knowhow regarding Jérémie’s sexual orientation, stemming from his desperate bid to keep it from her, coupled with Antoine’s mounting frustration with Jérémie who has suddenly developed an indifference towards homosexual lovemaking (thus the intimacy issues) generates a few of the funniest sequences in this delightful little French romantic comedy.

Pio Marmaï and Adrianna Gradziel in the film

Hilarious yet profound is the reaction of Jérémie’s family to his ‘going straight’, especially the father’s reaction who is livid at Jérémie’s change of heart. Having taken years to come to terms with his son’s sexuality and accepting Antoine  as a second son, his wariness at retracing his steps and reversing the process makes for stellar dramedy.

The failed relationship is portrayed in as tender and sensitive way imaginable—Antoine’s initial  reaction of rage giving way to the subsequent acceptance of the inevitable was necessary to render the decade-long relationship a sense of genuine closure.

Lannick Gautry as Antoine

Even as all is well in the end and the feel good ‘feel’ of worthwhile romantic comedies bidding its viewers adieu, the little nagging at the back of the head can make one wonder whether at all a similarly    entertaining ‘comedy’ can be construed out of the classic ‘coming out’ act, not unlike its inversion, keeping at bay the sympathetic expenses of a Ross Geller from ‘Friends’, to extend loving preference to the ‘queerly’ touching love story of an LGBTQ couple instead.

It has only been around two years that France has legalised gay marriage and it is high time that the entertainment sectors of the countries that have taken the step forward gradually welcome homosexual characters and situations therein in their mainstream productions which are aimed at the masses.

The financial success of an ‘I kissed a girl’ and the spontaneous acceptance of a ‘Mitchell and Cameron’ from a popular and critically acclaimed show such as ‘Modern Family’ will hopefully traverse a marked distance in the long path that is meant to initiate change in the social status quos, fostering a sense of not only acceptance but celebration. []

Film: I kissed a Girl
Written and Directed by Noémie Saglio, Maxime Govare
Released in 2015
Language: French


First published in Issue #3 of CultureCult Magazine (Winter 2015-16)

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