On March 11, the film “Supernova” about an LGBT couple performed by Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci was released in Russian cinemas. One of the main characters suffers from dementia and gradually loses his memory, so he finally goes on a short trip with his partner. There was some drama and (self) censorship: an abbreviated version was shown on the screens, a passport was rumored to be checked at the entrance to the halls, and various media softly called Supernova a story of two friends. Explain what the “obscene” is happening in the film – and why the increased attention to it seems strange.
Supernova is a typical chamber film with a modest plot. He does not declare any loud truths, is completely tied to the interaction of actors, appeals to completely universal human experiences. This is a drama with two points of view – about how terrible it is to lose a loved one, and how terrible it is to lose yourself.
And the effect that the film has produced is really like a supernova explosion: with discussions on Facebook, cut scenes and rumors that the distributor asked not to position the movie as a gay drama. If we compare the descriptions of “Supernova” on the Internet, for some it seems at all that this is a film about the farewell of two friends.
But you must admit, it’s strange to call the police for a film about strong male friendship, and even with an age limit of 18+?
At the same time, the director of the film, little-known Harry McQueen, is not against cuts: he is glad that in Russia they will see his films at all. It makes no sense to understand his position or the intricacies of modern Russian legislation. But such an attitude is especially absurd and unfair because it was Supernova that got it – a quiet premiere, which under other circumstances would not have paid attention at all.
The film follows the pianist Sam (Colin Firth) and the writer Tasker (Stanley Tucci), who take a short trip around the UK. They ride in a jointly purchased trailer with their dog, stay with friends, remember their past adventures on the shores of a beautiful lake. But, what is most obvious and sad is that Sam and Tasker are saying goodbye.
Dementia is an extremely common syndrome (but not the disease itself). Dementia affects about 5-8% of older people. According to WHO estimates, by 2030 there will be 82 million people with this syndrome in the world, by 2050 – already 152. It is dementia that affects Tasker. Like the drama Still Alice with Julianne Moore or the annoyingly iconic Notebook, he gets confused in words and events, can get lost in space, and finds himself increasingly helpless.
Every day brings Tasker closer to the moment when he no longer remembers his partner. Sam stubbornly refuses to leave him to someone else’s responsibility, in every possible way supports and even abandons his profession. It is impossible not to mention that the chemistry of Firth and Tucci is something transcendental, turning even the usual conversations of two grumpy men into poetry.
By the way, back in 2009, Colin Firth already played an openly gay man – in the drama of a good director Tom Ford “A Single Man”. The law on the promotion of homosexuality in Russia had not yet been passed, so the film received a rating of 16+: it contains obscene language and sex scenes.
In Supernova (let me remind you that it has a rating of 18+), no one has the time or energy for everything that is now forbidden to be shown on domestic screens. And literally there is no strength: a chaste scene was cut out of the film, in which Sam and Tasker fail to have sex. Quite an ordinary scene for a movie about serious illnesses, and not only about them.
But between Sam and Tasker there is a sea of tenderness and care, and this is the very case when your soul mate is your best friend. Their relationship does not become the main subject of the film, it is about something completely different.
But even without them, the story simply crumbles: at least it is not clear why Sam is so afraid of losing his “friend”. If we accept that the relationship between them is not romantic, as they tried to edit in the final version – what are they then?
The main conflict of “Supernova” rests on the fact that Sam refuses to give up and plan his life without Tasker. Yes, the loss of a best friend can be a huge tragedy and break a person – there are a lot of examples of this, including in the movies. But this is not at all the same as losing your only love in old age.
McQueen, Firth and Tucci have a very calm, low-key film – the same as the relationship of the main characters. It is fluid and devoid of drama in unnecessary places; the plot already has Tasker disease and all the consequences that follow logically.
Personally, it was this melancholy pacification that I liked the most. It shines through everything, including Tucci’s beautiful monologue under the starry sky. His hero has already admitted that very soon he will join the billions of particles that make up the universe. At the same time, at other moments, both conversations with Sam, and the occasional remarks with which he exchanges with friends, turn out to be very fragmentary and stingy. This is what adults say with a natural, not strained and not pretentious outlook on life.
In the same way, the well-established, even, long-deprived of a spark relationship between Sam and Tasker is shown. From the very first shots, it is obvious that over the years they have developed into an ordinary marriage – imagine, very slightly different from heterosexual.
And against the background of this total calmness and acceptance, all the hysteria that Supernova causes looks especially absurd and funny.