“Gay” as a genre remains the wild west where nothing is out of bounds. Except for one thing. And now, that’s been busted wide open too.
Immediately after I was enlisted as curator of the NakedSword Film Works (NSFW) label, I wrote out a list of films I hoped to acquire for the collection.
Martin Edralin’s HOLE was at the top of the list.
I saw it at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015.
I wasn’t the only one impressed. HOLE was nominated for a Grand Jury Award at Sundance later that week, and over the course of the next year won awards at the prestigious Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival and the Seattle Film Festival, along with nominations at Venice and AFI Fest.
HOLE stars Ken Harrower as Billy, a 50-year-old gay man with congenital arthrogryposis whose closest intimate relationship is with his caregiver. Billy’s only chance for sexual contact with other men takes place when he visits a local video booth shop with glory holes, where he regularly gives other strangers oral sex. When Billy begins yearning for more intimacy, he inadvertently drives his caregiver away.
Few films deal with disabled people’s lives in a realistic and honest way, often sugar-coating scenarios or turning disabled people into magical beings. HOLE avoids these traps. Billy’s life is sad, but there is pleasure in it too. And though his quest for intimacy may fall short of a full MGM musical Hollywood ending, it’s still sure to put a smile on your face and maybe a little wood in your pants.
Yes, Edralin’s film goes there with regards to Billy’s sexual desires, realistically depicting how tough it is to truly find sex and intimacy in a gay landscape that rarely celebrates those who have disabilities. Edralin’s compassion for Billy shines throughout the film and surely will spread to each viewer who sees it.
[Watch “Hole” at NakedSword Film Works]
Explore all of films selected for NakedSword Film Works (NSFW).