View Full Version : Hi, My Name Is Chad
11-10-2006, 06:09 PM
First of all...hello to everyone.
I'm currently a senior at Columbia pursuing an honors degree in Religion. My senior thesis is centered upon the appropriation of St. Sebastian by the gay subculture. I would appreciate anyone who would be willing to talk about this with me...what their takes are...what they may know about the project.
Feel free to contact me here, if ya like.
11-11-2006, 01:16 AM
I am just a bit south of you in Manhattan.
Your thesis must reference the films of Derek Jarman, yes?
I remember seeing his film Caravaggio when it came out ('86), though I do not recall having seen his film SEBASTIANE ('75), unfortunately. The latter should be right up your alley.
While not his strongest film, Sebastiane is classic Derek Jarman. The movie captures the potential for violence and lust in a small group of exiled young soldiers. As with all Jarman, the visuals here are more important than any dialog, and they wash over the viewer in waves of longing and fear-inducing power. The film meditates on intersections of longing, desire, faith and obsession, especially as they play out between Severus and the Sebastiane.
Sebastiane's "obsessive" Christian faith rivals the lustful obsession of Serverus for this unattainable man. The movie doesn't flinch from showing how brutal desire can be; it is a hard master for both Serverus and Sabastiane. What I came away from the film with is the powerful question: What horrors and debasement's will we all put ourselves through for the object of our lust?.
I had just come out myself (I was in grad school at the time) and remember the experience (Caravaggio) as being one of wonderment and sadness: the romanticization of suffering was both repellant and attractive. Jarman was one of the first to use modern and period elements together which was jarring as well as a revelation- and I am sorry that his work was cut short. As with so many, he died in the midst of a brilliant career.
Of course, one doesn't have to stretch things too much to mull over the status of gay christians and their relationship to the rest of the 'church'. One might liken their suffering to the suffering of St. Sebastian, could one not? It's not a reference I can find affinity with, but our more Catholic members might- only because their religious traditions (I hope I am not offending anyone) lend themselves towards this perspective. As such, Catholicism stresses the suffering of Christ and obedience. One might say that St. Sebastian is a gay version of JC.
Your concern - and Jarman's film- make me think of the interaction between the (leather) SM master and his slave. The Daddy (God) who witnesses and even inflicts suffering on the beautiful obedient one who gazes up adoringly at him. From a pyschological perspective, it's interesting to know that it's the 'slave' who is actually in 'control' of his 'God'.
Now. Is this lust or love (to riff off the review for a second)? That's an interesting question. I guess that would depend on one's intention.
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