Nighthawks

Nighthawks

Actual no wave cinema

Another entry in the unexpectedly expansive "gay man in the 70/80s lives double life as schoolteaching and cruising" cinematic universe, alongside Taxi zum Klo and Coming Out. The three complement each other well; there's obviously the comparison between east and west Berlin between Coming Out and Taxi zum Klo, or the explicit eroticism of this latter versus the restraint of the other two. There's also the clearer focus on narrative and the development of personal and political themes in Coming Out, versus the other two, which are more, for lack of better terminology, naturalistic and centred on the free flow of vibes. The comparison I most find fascinating is between Nighthawks and Taxi zum Klo; where both films have more of a focus on the emotional, both for their majority, despite having a superficially identical plot, inspire different, polar opposite emotions toward the cruising lifestyle and the gay experience, and yet both are absolutely true.

The impression of Nighthawks is mundanity, an absence of passion or fulfilment, up until toward the end when the main character recontextualises the impression thus far by his insistence that he does in fact enjoy and even prefer this state of being, an assertion I wasn't entirely convinced on until the final scene in the gay club. I was not expecting at all the absolute catharsis of those final few shots of the men dancing, laughing, drinking and carousing together, for liberation to not only come of being free but of camaraderie, the joy of brotherhood. I'm sure I'll find this review too sentimental come morning, especially for a film that for its majority I did not overly care for, save for its form and execution, but it somehow managed to sneak up on me in the final ten minutes.

I'd still say Coming Out is the superior film of the three, but this was an unexpected little piece of history and all are worth revisiting at some point or another.

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