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Fogi is a Bastard
Fogi is a Bastard
Actors: Frédéric Andrau, Vincent Branchet, Urs Peter Halter, Jean-Pierre von Dach, Gilles Tschudi
Director: Marcel Gisler
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Gay & Lesbian
UR     2001     1hr 32min

Clean cut 16 year old Beni is a Zurich High School student just itching for an alternative life. That opportunity comes when he goes to a rock concert where he falls madly in love with Fogi, the dangerously attractive lea...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Frédéric Andrau, Vincent Branchet, Urs Peter Halter, Jean-Pierre von Dach, Gilles Tschudi
Director: Marcel Gisler
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Gay & Lesbian
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Gay & Lesbian
Studio: Water Bearer Films,
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 12/08/2001
Original Release Date: 01/01/1990
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1990
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 1hr 32min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Man's Best Friend
interested_observer | San Francisco, CA USA | 04/10/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Foegi is a Bastard" ("F. Est un Salaud") is a nicely acted, small, Swiss film on a destructive gay relationship. Beni, very well acted by Vincent Branchet, is a sixteen-year old who gets an immediate attraction to a twenty-six-year old lead guitarist named Foegi {or Fogi if you ignore the umlaut}, also well acted by Frederic Andrau. Foegi sings in excellent English for a rock band called "The Minks". Beni exits his fatherless family and his high school to move in with Foegi. Beni is eager to do anything to please Foegi. Unfortunately Foegi comes with the wrong baggage. Foegi has a history of drug dealing and thinks old people (40, say) should consider committing suicide. When "The Minks" start running out of gas, Foegi gets into conflicts with some other band members and decides to take a trip to Lebanon to get hashish for dealing. Beni feels lonely and lets himself be picked up by a psychiatrist. When Foegi returns, the tryst is forgiven, but it gives Foegi an idea of how he can make money by renting out Beni's time.Foegi is tiring of Beni's clinging and of life in general. Foegi makes light of Beni's eagerness to please by having Beni strip and pretend to be a pet dog. Beni takes to the role and makes the initial acquaintance of a (symbolic)white dog. Foegi likes his distance.As Foegi continues drifting downward, Beni becomes the primary breadwinner and manager of the household. Troubling thoughts emerge when another Mink member commits suicide. Eventually Foegi's demons take them down to a beach at St. Tropez, where the movie resolves.The supporting actors all perform solidly. The script is quite good, at least as subtitles. Both Beni and Foegi have more extensive nude scenes than would normally appear in American films. There are no extra features, other than a trailer for "The Blue Hour", a good film by the same director.Beni and Foegi are believable characters in a relationship whose decline entertains while heading toward its inevitable climax."
Much better than the reviews
J. Martin | Upstate New York USA | 02/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a gem of a movie. It is very, very good in so many ways that I don't know where to start, so I'll start with its most superficial characteristic, its look. It was made in the late 1990s and set in the early 1970s, and it not only looks exactly like the early 70s, but it looks like it was filmed in the early 70s. The washed-out color, the slight graininess, the darkness, all look like a film shot thirty years earlier. I don't know how they did it, but it's very effective. It's so convincing that I had to keep looking it up to make sure I'd read the date right. The dated look doesn't make the movie harder to watch at all, but it does make it feel very authentic.

Next I have to talk about the performances. Oh my, what delights! Vincent Branchet as the teen Beni, who is in love with a minor local rock star named Fögi, is perfect in every moment in every scene in this movie. The balance of innocence, shyness, and determination in his very first encounters with Fögi is totally real and totally convincing. His devotion to Fögi through his steady decline is so touching and so true that you believe absolutely that he could not have done anything else. And unlike 99.9% of movie characters, Beni is not a caricature--he's a complex character, a living human being, who changes significantly in response to what happens to him in the course of the movie. Beni goes from wide-eyed, enthusiastic innocence through great joy, great humiliation, cynicism, toughness, maturity, despair, and ultimate survival--and Branchet hits every single note absolutely perfectly. He is never predictable, never artificial, never "acting," and never, ever wrong. I've never seen a better performance by any actor in any movie, ever.

Frédéric Andrau has a less complex role in Fögi, but he carries it off just as expertly. Fögi is somewhat like Lou Reed (one of his idols), but less talented, less pretentious, and much more attractive. Fögi has Reed's nihilism without his survival instincts, and Andrau plays him raw, without any veneer of civility. But, despite the movie's strange title, Fögi is not a bastard, he's not a monster. He's a pure hedonist, he lives for pleasure alone, but he shares his pleasure freely with those around him, especially with Beni. But pleasure alone is not enough to make a life, and so Fögi's life runs out early.

What's most remarkable in both lead actors is their ability to embody conflicting traits simultaneously. As Beni is both sweetly innocent and fiercely determined, Fögi is both destructive and heartbreakingly tender. Whatever cruelty he occasionally shows Beni is just a shadow of what he's doing to himself, and his genuine love for Beni never really falters.

All the supporting performers are good too, particularly Urs Peter Halter as Fögi's sweet, longsuffering bandmate Töbe, who may be in love with Fögi too although it's never said.

But as great as the two lead performances are, what shines most brightly in this movie is the relationship between the two men. It joins the two performances together into something even greater than either is on its own. I realized about halfway through that I was watching one of the greatest love stories ever filmed.

The relationships between Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, and between Heathcliff and Cathy in Wuthering Heights, take place on a grander scale and over a longer period, but in emotional power they both pale next to this modest little story of Fögi and Beni. Where both those earlier stories are high melodrama, with grand passions on a grand scale, Fögi and Beni are little people living in a little world, a real world, a world that's right here with us right now.

They live in the same mostly dark, mostly petty, mostly messy, but sometimes glorious world all of us live in. We're not all failing rock stars or lovelorn teenagers, but most of us have loved somebody more than we "should" have, most of us have been deeply hurt and humiliated, most of us know what it feels like to hold onto somebody who is pushing us away, and most of us have known at least a few moments of passion so great and so transcendent that it swept us away and made everything worthwhile. That's what this movie is about.

Until today, I was grateful that gay romance in the movies even existed at all. The fact that those romances were mostly not quite believable--and never so powerful that they blew me away--was okay, because it was better than nothing. Just to see two men willing to kiss or touch each other in front of a camera was good enough. Now this movie comes along and blows the doors off that tired old barn.

There do not exist in any movie ever made love scenes like the ones in this movie, as touching, as powerful, as wildly, tenderly, profoundly erotic without ever being pornographic, as the love scenes between Fögi and Beni. No man and woman ever did on screen what these two men do, and I don't mean graphic sex acts. I mean touching each other like they're on fire, kissing like they want to swallow each other, holding each other like they've got hold of the greatest treasure in the universe, joy and pleasure dancing back and forth between them like lightning. It's electrifying, but it's also very tender, very gentle, and exquisitely beautiful.

There's a lot of nudity, a lot of bed sex, and every bit of it is absolutely essential. But the best scene in the movie isn't in bed, isn't even overtly sexual, and both men are fully clothed (the cover pic is from that scene). They're outside, walking together on a hill, enjoying a beautiful afternoon, just sharing their delight in being together. But their joy is drug-enhanced, and you know it can't last (Lou Reed's marvelous song "Heroin" is playing on the soundtrack), but it's lovely while it lasts.

I've never seen anything like this movie, and I never expect to again. I recommend it very, very enthusiastically."
Fine gay themed film
J. McCarthy | Sydney, Australia | 03/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This compelling film from Switzerland shows how much better Europeans are at this sort of movie than Anglo filmmakers seem to be. Vincent Branchet's Beni is very well acted. He plays a beautiful boy besotted with a 3rd rate rock star, Fogi. Beni will do anything for his lover; sadly, the devotion is not enough for drug addled Fogi, with dire consequences. This is very well made film, streets ahead of most others in the genre."