Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
Australia, 2019. Sequin in a Blue Room, Australian Film Television and Radio School. Screenplay by Jory Anast, Samuel Van Grinsven. Cinematography by Jay Grant. Produced by Sophie Hattch. Music by Brent Williams. Production Design by Anna Gardiner. Costume Design by William Tran. Film Editing by Tim Guthrie.
A teenager in Sydney explores his sexuality via his smartphone, using the Grindr-like “Anon” app to arrange erotic encounters with other men who remain as personally detached as he does. The only distinct expression he brings to the experience is a piece of clothing, a sequined jacket that he wears under his shirts that gives him the confident persona that he performs with his partners. When Sequin, as he calls himself on the app, is invited to a sex party, he attends and has furtive sex with a handsome young man who then disappears and with whom our hero becomes entranced, beginning to dream of romance and not just pursuing the adrenaline high of physical intercourse. His search for his ideal lover is complicated by the attentions of an older gentleman who has become fixated on him after their time together, and who doesn’t take well to Sequin’s aloof yet manipulating manner. While at first it might feel like this very carefully, evocatively photographed and sexually provocative drama is aimed at condemning the impersonal nature of modern-day gay dating life, director Samuel Van Grinsven never actually treats his main character like he is judging him but is, rather, giving him room to learn from his errors in judgment. The world that Sequin explores must be indulged in before he can realize that fantasy is just fantasy and not much else, contrasting his digital communications (which play out beautifully on the screen thanks to terrific graphic design) with his burgeoning friendship with a plucky young classmate but never describing this comparison with any self-righteous love vs. sex message.