Keep the Lights On
One of the best American films of 2012; "Keep the Lights On" isn't just a "landmark in Gay cinema," as it has been classified. Though it certainly is that - taking a strong step forward from the "coming out" cinema that dominated gay film festivals in the 1990s - it's also much, much more.
Director Ira Sachs, utilizing a pseudo-biographical approach, basically offers up a journal covering his ten-year relationship with a literary agent; but he also takes on addiction (to drugs and to people,) consumerism, our relationships to art, our friends, ourselves. Most American independent films seem to revel in their smallness; "Lights" is bursting at the seams.
Luckily, Sachs has made sure the Blu-ray disc is equally bursting with special features. A feature-length commentary will interest those curious in the film's autobiographical elements, and also in its technical specifications (Sachs spurned digital video to shoot on glorious, super-grainy 16mm.) There's also deleted scenes, and a short behind-the-scene featurette.
But the last extra is a major-meta-touch: Sachs' 'stand-in' during the film, Thure Lindhardt, spends the running time working on a documentary about unsung gay artist Avery Willard. Sachs has actually made the documentary, and it's included here in full. "Keep the Lights On" preaches transparency, and the whole artistic process, quite appropriately, is on display here in this release.
"Keep the Lights On"