Sequin In A Blue Room

*****

Reviewed by: Stephanie Brown

Sequin In A Blue Room
"Sequin in A Blue Room is a reminder of Nineties angst media and queer celebration, within the dark corners of adolescence."

Samuel Van Grinsven brings New Queer Cinema back to life in this dark intoxicating drama that evokes the seductive abyss of Gregg Araki’s direction, and the coming-of-age feel of Russell T Davies’ writing. Sequin in A Blue Room is a reminder of Nineties angst media and queer celebration, within the dark corners of adolescence.

High school pupil Sequin (Conor Leach) spends most of his days surfing the dating app scene for hook-ups. After an encounter becomes more emotionally demanding than expected, Sequin attends an anonymous sex party where he feels an instant connection to one of the guests, while the man from his recent past is watching from the shadows. Sequin sets out on a path to find the man he met that night, after feeling a genuine connection for the first time.

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Australian cinema has been consistently impressive with indie features in the last decade, and Grinsven continues to show the flexibility of its national brand with a screenplay that pays astounding homage to the cult-queer cinematography of Araki’s Teen Apocalpyse Trilogy. The aesthetic and colour reference frames are similar to that of Araki’s Nowhere, while it also offers the dream-like feel of The Doom Generation. But unlike the cinema of Araki, Van Grinsven propels realism to the forefront. It could be said that, like Araki, Van Grinsven channels the psychoanalytic properties of queer stories in which the world, while centred within reality, can feel deeply unreal and confusing.

There is also a stark Davies feel to the screenplay, in the way that the character of Sequin develops through the film. Much like shows like Queer as Folk, Sequin In A Blue Room showcases the themes and collisions of heart and hedonism, and the pains that come with both ends of the spectrum. Like the writing of Davies, it is a feature which refuses to implant anthropological-cum-psychological conclusions, but rather to depict the coming-of-age formula in a way that is closest to life: you often find yourself through other people.

With New Queer Cinema it is easy to dissect its influences and peel back the building blocks of Van Grinsven’s redefinement. In many ways that is what makes Sequin In A Blue Room all the more delightful, a cinematic creation which manages to form something completely new from the nostalgic elements of its predecessors. It seems that Van Grinsven may be on the right path to auteurship, as a director who has managed to successfully resurrect the seductive darkness of queer cinema that has been missing for so long.

Sequin In A Blue Room dips Davies’ coming-of-age enlightenment into Araki’s pool of teenage nihilism, allowing us to dive into the blissful teen-angst apocalyptic tale that brings us back to the nineties grunge-era, with soul and authenticity. Van Grinsven has proven there is room in New Queer Cinema for more experimental levels of engagement.

Sequin In A Blue Room is released via Peccadillo Pictures on UK/Ireland & North America digital platforms from April 9. The film is released in the US and Scandinavia from May 17.

Reviewed on: 08 Apr 2021
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When a teenager's thrill-seeking leads to a memorable encounter at an anonymous sex party, he resolves to track down the mystery guy - even if he has to rely on a menacing former hook-up to help him.

Director: Samuel Van Grinsven

Writer: Samuel Van Grinsven

Starring: Anthony Brandon Wong, Conor Leach, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Samuel Barrie

Year: 2019

Runtime: 80 minutes

Country: Australia


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