The Living End

Director: Gregg Araki
Screenwriters: Gregg Araki

Institute History


Gregg Araki’s The Living End is a romantic, eccentric and defiant film set in a quasisurrealistic dreamscape, marked by homophobia, minimarts and monolithic parking structures. Like the characters in Araki’s previously acclaimed films, the two white protagonists, Jon and Luke, are disillusioned, apathetic, self-obsessed and prone to boredom. Moreover they are both HIV-positive.
Their chance meeting leads to a mutually consenting, casual affair, which both acknowledge is relatively risk free. But their attraction to each other stakes an emotional claim. So when Luke indifferently shoots a policeman and must make an escape, Jon goes along for the ride. Moving aimlessly through an American wasteland and coming face to face with the vacuity of their lives, the two bewildered young men still hope to find romantic redemption.
Shot with economy and elegance, and aptly lit by Chris Munch (The Hours and Times), The Living End is a tale of l’amour fou in the tradition of Breathless and Badlands. This revisionist Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid subverts the conventions of the contemporary “buddy film” by examining the sexual and fatally romantic aspects of gay male attraction. The Living End is a poignantly provocative and challenging film by an imaginative filmmaker.

— Norman Wang

Screening Details

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