When Todd Verow defiantly burst onto the New Queer Cinema scene with “Frisk” twenty(!) years ago, my independent queer cinema senses were stripped bare. Who was this audacious filmmaker, whose work both seduced and shocked me? And what will he do next? When I saw Verow’s “Anonymous” at a film festival almost a decade later, I had the same illicit thrill as I did staggering out of the theater after seeing “Frisk.”
What shocked me about “Bad Boy Street” is, well, how damn sweet it is. Did the enfante terrible go soft? No. Verow may tackle tough subject matter in many of his films, but he is a romantic at heart. And this tender, affectionate, romance between Brad (a hunky Kevin Miranda), an American found on the title rue in Paris, and Claude (Verow regular Yann de Monterno) melts my heart. It’s not just because the leads are so damn sexy. It’s because the film, which was shot in nine days is so relaxed and personal.
There is something truly magical about watching Claude, an older gay man try to resist falling hard and fast for Brad, a mysterious, handsome, and quite fuckable stranger. As the men come to know one another, their intimacy never seems forced. Scenes of the pair walking through the city of lights recall classic Hollywood cinema, even though this was shot on a microbudget.
Speaking of Hollywood, one of the film’s best jokes—and “Bad Boy Street” is frequently amusing—is a satire of a popular American teen movie franchise. Verow also gets a big laugh in his cameo in the film, because he delivers his lines in such a deliciously suggestive way.
There are, in fact, many pleasures to be had in “Bad Boy Street,” and this gorgeous-looking film deserves to be seen on the big screen—especially since IFC Center is giving audiences the opportunity to do so. You might fall in love with this film as hard and fast as I did.
Todd Verow will introduce the film and do a post-screening Q&A.