Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Black and White and Dull All Over: Interracial Sex Is Taboo in Proteus, but the Storytelling Fails to Arouse

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Black and White and Dull All Over: Interracial Sex Is Taboo in Proteus, but the Storytelling Fails to Arouse

Article excerpt

Proteus * Written by Jack Lewis and John Greyson * Directed by John Greyson * Starring Rouxnet Brown, Neil Sandilands * Strand Releasing

Writers and directors out to make movies based on true stories ought to keep in mind that just because it actually happened doesn't make it fascinating. That point is made painfully clear by Proteus, the fact-based movie from director John Greyson (Lilies, Zero Patience) and cowriter Jack Lewis. Sure, the raw material is potentially explosive, politically absorbing, and emotionally devastating: the forbidden 18th-century love affair between a black convict and a white convict sentenced to hard labor in a South African penal colony during an ugly antigay pogrom by Dutch settlers. Unfortunately for audiences, watching the film also feels like hard labor.

At first, the relationship between Blank (Rouxnt Brown), an unjustly imprisoned native Hottentot, and Jacobsz (Neil Sandilands), a Dutch sailor serving time for sodomy, turns on racial mistrust and unresolved psychosexual tension, sort of like The Defant Ones, the old Sidney Poitier-Tony Curtis movie about prisoners of different races bound together, only with raging hormones. Add to the mix married, closeted botanist Niven (Shaun Smyth), occupied as much with naming and cultivating South African species as with casually cruising Blank. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.