In the 50-year-old's estimation, it's perhaps the most shocking move he could have made.
"I was expecting a certain amount of backlash (or) blowback," the director said over coffee at last September's
"I would expect some raised eyebrows," he continued. "I'm saying it's shocking sometimes not to be shocking. The scandal is that there is no scandal."
Still, fans of LaBruce's more nakedly daring work will still find layers of subtext to chew on in what otherwise seems his first pleasant trifle.
"Gerontophilia," which opens Friday in
Although there's a sweetness to the relationship and LaBruce's film in general, he's characteristically quick to undercut it. He wanted the film to be about a fetish — hence the title — and not a story of love overcoming a seemingly insurmountable difference.
In other words, Lake doesn't fall for
"I very consciously made him not gay-identified — he has a girlfriend," LaBruce said of the younger character. "I also consciously start out with his fetish first. That's why the film is about gerontophilia — he does have several encounters with old men where he gets excited. He doesn't quite understand why."
The film is LaBruce's first to be deemed acceptable for audiences as young as 14 in
While it isn't sexually explicit, LaBruce's camera does quite intentionally linger on Borden's body, and he acknowledges he was interested in the "strong taboo" of sex among the elderly.
"Even within a slightly more mainstream context, I wanted to have this kind of perhaps gently satiric aspect to the film," he said. "It is the old man's body that is kind of quote-unquote objectified. He's the love object. He's the object of desire. And the camera explores his body.
"It's going against the conventions of society, which is the cult of youth and beauty — what makes someone desirable and how youth is totally overvalued in pop culture," he added. "That was quite consciously done."
LaBruce is clear about the fact that he is trying to reach a wider audience, but warns against presuming this is somehow the beginning of a trend.
Still, he appreciates the way viewers have responded. Prior to screening at TIFF, the film was whisked to the
Of course, he was equally tickled by those who didn't.
"When we premiered the film in
"I was like: Great. I'm still disgusting people even in a mainstream context."
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