You have got to watch the film “Being 17”


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Thomas (left) and Damien in the film “Being 17.”

I saw the trailer for the film “Being 17” by acclaimed French director André Téchiné months ago and could not wait to see it.

But chances were slim I would get a viewing. The film was released in limited theaters in the United States and I could not find it near Baltimore.

So imagine my surprise when I was bored Monday afternoon  and happened to browse Netflix and there it was. I sat down right away and watched the whole thing. It was worth the wait.

“Being 17” follows two teenagers who live in a picturesque town tucked in the Pyrenees Mountains on France’s border with Spain.

Damien DeLille (actor Kacey Mottet Klein) is the smart-aleck, spoiled son of a physician mother and a military helicopter pilot. And Thomas Chardoul (Corentin Fila) is the biracial adopted son of poor cattle and goat farmers who live in the hills  above town.

Damien and Thomas are not the most popular kids in school — they are the last chosen to play basketball in gym. But their common state of being outsiders does not bond them.

They bully and provoke and fight each other constantly.

But you see it is not really because they dislike each other. It’s because they desire each other but have not come to terms with their sexuality.

It’s a story many gay and bisexual men can relate to because they have lived it. And I have always suspected some bullies bully because they are attracted to the person they torment.

So Damien and Thomas convert their passion into violence, covering each other in bruises that worry Damien’s firm but sensitive mother, who is portrayed by actress Sandrine Kimberlain.

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In one scene Damien follows Thomas to the gym locker room, where Thomas goes to eat his modest home-made lunches in solitude,  and tries to kiss him. At first Thomas kisses back but then he suddenly recoils, surprised that he is kissing another male.

Minutes later he strikes Damien, bloodying his mouth.

Damien’s mother arranges for Thomas to live with them so he can be closer to school and his mother, who is hospitalized in town because of a risky pregnancy. Then a tragedy occurs, bringing Thomas closer to Damien’s family.

And gradually Thomas warms to Damien and gets over his fear and they consummate their relationship in a scene that is both electrifyingly erotic and warm and touching.

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Damien and Thomas finally stop fighting and act on their attraction but the future of their relationship is uncertain.

But will their relationship, which Thomas hides from his parents, last or will he withdraw again? I hope you have Netflix so you can watch the film and find out.

P.S. The actor Corentin Fila is magnetic. It’s worth watching the film just to watch him.

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Photo courtesy of Pinterest

 

12 thoughts on “You have got to watch the film “Being 17”

  1. Many thanks for this recommendation. I viewed the film yesterday and found it excellent. It was refreshing to see Damien’s mother who almost encouraged the relationship between the two boys. She remarked early on how handsome Thomas was. She did not flinch when Damien told her he tried to kiss Thomas; therefore, he hit him. In one of the final scenes she told her son that he lacked the confidence inferring that Thomas would reciprocate his love. She was right. This was stunning contrasted to many African American and evangelical parents. How open minded and unconditionally loving was she? Think about the fictional knife wielding black mom in the popular web series “About Him,”

    • Theodore thanks so much for your comment. Yes, the mother’s response was powerful and affirming. I like to think that as a mother she may have already innately knew her son was gay. Many mothers do. I’m glad she treated the whole issue with maturity and grace and openness, despite the grief she was experiencing. If only more parents were like her.

  2. Well… while you were out in your red papi draws and the leather heads, having big fun; I did some reading this weekend. Usually when I’m watching a Netflix movie, I’m multitasking and doing something else, like cleaning, texting, doing paperwork, and reading something else. Sometimes I play them as I go to sleep, like a bedtime story…last week it was a movie about a gay man, who accidentally gets a good friend of his, wife pregnant. However with subtitles, you really have to pay attention, unless you speak French, you can’t just rely on your hearing.

    Now the actual film, it wasn’t bad at all. Was a little confused at first, on the original source of their dislike for each other. I understand later, when Thomas reveals, he thought Damien was pretentious, but couldn’t figure out Damien. Later on when Damien reveals to Thomas, that he’s not sure if he is into guys or just Thomas. Well was he into Thomas from the jump, or did he develop feelings once he moved?

    Okay, so my experiences has always been one person had more experience than the other. My first time with a guy, he had more experience than me. Then there has been times where I had more experience, but I have never been in a position where we were both unexperienced. Is it like that? Do you just instinctively know the other is going to top? They never discussed anything sexually. They never prepared, it just was spur of the moment sex. Is passion and desire lubrication enough, for analysis sex? I’m like a little spit and Thomas was all up in Damien, just like the first time in, Brokeback Mountain. No oral just straight to…other things. It bothered me at first, that Damien was just assumed the position of bottom. (No discussion), why because he like to cook and read poetry? I was glad in the middle of the night, while Thomas was sleeping; Damien decided that getting some dick wasn’t enough, he needed some ass too. So he just got on top of Thomas and took that ass. Once again no discussion…no preparation, and once again is passion and desire, self lubricant? I don’t even remember spit that time.

    Can the first time really be like this?

    • LOL love this comment. My partner Van has been having sex with men for years and started close to the age of these two. He said when you are young and horny you spit and do the deed. He said they will learn about prepping and lube later.

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