Addicted to Love -- Memphian Sachs Delivers Genuine Art Film

By Beifuss, John | The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN), November 9, 2012 | Go to article overview

Addicted to Love -- Memphian Sachs Delivers Genuine Art Film


Beifuss, John, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)


An intimate, honest and uncompromising study of the need for love and the addictions to drugs, sex and intense emotion that may accompany love's pursuit, Ira Sachs' "Keep the Lights On" is the most fully realized feature film in the Memphis-born director's almost 30 years of moviemaking.

The film's unconventional pacing and elliptical storytelling are central to its power, although these qualities may alienate viewers who prefer plots that are as accessible and easy to consume as potato chips from a vending machine. The fact that the almost decade- long love affair chronicled here is between two men also might discourage conservative moviegoers, although it's hard to imagine anyone seeing this film and failing to identify with its lead figure, a Danish filmmaker named Erik (Thure Lindhardt) who functions as Sachs' stand-in.

An autobiography transformed into symbolic art, "Keep the Lights On" was inspired by Sachs' longtime relationship with literary agent and writer Bill Clegg, whose own story of these years, "Portrait of the Addict as a Young Man: A Memoir," was published in 2009. In the film, Clegg becomes Paul (Zachary Booth), who keeps the truth of his sexuality and the extent of his addiction to crack cocaine closeted away from some loved ones, at least at first.

The movie opens in 1998 and ends some nine years later, so that in addition to being a fraught love story it functions to some extent as a social and cultural history of gay and artistic New York in this era, and an homage to the gay artists who preceded Sachs. For most of the movie, Erik - like Sachs, the privileged son of a wealthy father - is working on a documentary about photographer Avery Willard, whose underground films, "beefcake" portraits and other photos captured may aspects of New York gay life, especially in the 1960s and '70s.

In addition, the film's score is taken almost entirely from the once-neglected work of singer-songwriter and experimental composer Arthur Russell, who died of AIDS in 1992 at age 40. Russell's electrified cello solos and sonorous vocals, often redolent of remorse and regret, add a ghostly element to certain scenes. The art motif is further amplified but made contemporary by the use of paintings by Boris Torres under the opening credits; Torres is Sachs' husband, which adds yet another personal element to the film.

"Keep the Lights On" examines the story of Erik and Paul entirely through Erik's eyes, a subjective approach that narrows the script possibilities but contributes to the film's honesty: There is no attempt to imagine events in which Erik is not a participant. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Addicted to Love -- Memphian Sachs Delivers Genuine Art Film
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.