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Film Review: Glowing Eyes: La Chatte a Deux Tetes (2002)

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SYNOPSIS:

The inner workings of a p*rn theater exposes a love triangle between a cashier, her interested boy toy, and an elderly gay gentleman.

REVIEW:

Glowing Eyes: La Chatte a Deux Tetes (The Pussy With Two Heads) is an interesting film. Directed by Jacques Nolot, who also cast himself as the elderly gay gentleman in the synopsis, Glowing Eyes is a French extreme film about a porn theater and the men and drag queens who frequent it. There’s a lot of hardcore sex, both on the screen in the theater (a standard, heterosexual porn movie) and in the theater itself (usually between the drag queens and the men in the theater, and sometimes between the men themselves.) Interestingly enough, the sex is the only thing making this an extreme film.

I would usually say, with a film that is only extreme for its sexual content, that the biggest reason films like these are considered extreme are because of the puritanical view on sex that most people in the United States have. However, while some would argue that the presence of gay sex and the stigma against it carries the same indications, the simple fact that its much less common, even in fringe film making, says that its more of an example of how activities and attitudes that are marginalized will always be more controversial than those that aren’t.

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What we have in this film is the juxtaposition between “straight” society and what men do behind closed doors, and whether sexuality is concrete or at least fluid enough that a man can trick himself into swinging both ways. For the drag queens in the film, that’s what they’re counting on, because they have to get these (presumably) straight men to allow them to have sex with them. Whether these men are lying to themselves, and allowing themselves to have homosexual sex because they’re watching straight sex in the theater, or whether they’re able to fulfill these fantasies in the darkness of a porn theater when they have to bury them when they’re in regular society, we don’t know. And that seems to be a lot of the point of this movie. It’s a movie about what goes on behind closed doors in our world, a scene most of us (again, presumably) will never be party to. And it is, ultimately, a fascinating look at the seedy side of desire and sex.

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Nolot’s character remarks at one point that he can’t have regular gay sex in the theater anymore because the drag queens are ruining it for them. Which, hey, I guess we all have our struggles. But it’s interesting to see the dichotomy between men who will willingly have sex with someone that they know is a man dressed as a woman, but won’t have sex with a man dressed as a man. Is the trick in their brain really so strong, or do they just have to justify it to themselves while they’re doing these actions? The old concept of “any hole is the goal” seems to be on full display in this theater, and is a creed that most of the theater’s inhabitants seem to live by. Either way, it’s certainly a disturbing movie, with the base, animal instinct displayed alone. I’ve always wonder whether being disturbed by content like this says more about the film and what happens therein or about myself. And maybe that’s also at least a little bit of the point.

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It’s a very well written movie, with well developed characters. When we listen to these men talk, and hear what’s on their mind, we realize that this is, perhaps, a direct result of the AIDS crisis, and the fear in the gay community that it brought. The actions taken in the theater belie the fears that the movie-goers profess. There is a desperation for sex, a nihilistic and dirty perspective on life that almost seems suicidal. Nolot’s character confesses that he often desires to have sex without protection, a sort of Russian roulette of sex. And these actions reinforce the negative stereotypes that a lot of straight people have about the gay community. But, again, maybe that’s the point. Maybe the “gay plague” that was AIDS in the 80’s and 90’s was exactly that. There are many reports of homosexuals of both genders engaging in much riskier behavior than they would have otherwise, simply because they knew that every sexual encounter was a dance with a loaded gun. They made sure that the rest of their lives followed suit. What we are seeing here in Glowing Eyes is the result of this attitude towards life. It is the gay version of Kids, at least when you consider it from that perspective.

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Whatever you glean from this film, it is certainly an interesting exercise. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in sexually explicit arthouse cinema, because that it certainly is. Nolot does a great job bringing this to the camera, because it must’ve been a difficult one to express through film. It’s a good film, though not one that I would have interest in seeing again.

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