What to watch: Saint Narcisse
As you’d expect from a film by Bruce LaBruce, there’s a lot to get your teeth into with Saint Narcisse.
It’s dark, it’s sexy, it’s melodramatic.
Set in Montreal in 1972, the film gives us the story of Dominic (Félix-Antoine Duval). Dominic has been raised by his grandmother, but her death uncovers the secret that – despite what he had been told – Dominic’s mother is actually alive. Dominic embarks on a search for his mother and, in the process, discovers much more than he bargained for.
The concept of narcissism is explored on a number of different levels – from taking polaroid selfies, to being aroused by your own image, to doppelgängers, divine reincarnation, and twincest.
“I’ve known twins in my life…” LaBruce explains, talking about the movie in an interview with Out. “I grew up in school with twins and my best friend in university had an identical twin. I’m not a very mystical person, but it seemed like if one was in trouble, the other one knew about it and could sense. That’s always fascinated me and I just wanted to transpose it onto the misconceived idea that people have about gays, that we’re all completely incestuous, like pedophiles and narcissists. Whatever horrible things they think. In this case, instead of twincest being just a porn fetish, I tried to make it into a love story about two characters completing each other. So it’s almost a positive take on narcissism and twincest. Trying to understand that and investigate it more than just saying, ‘Oh, it’s a horrible perversion.'”
For me, this is one of LaBruce’s most satisfying films. The narrative is clear, the motivations of the characters are firmly established, the melodrama is delicious, and the whole thing is erotically charged. Plus, if you’re into a bit of a twincest fantasy, then this one is for you.