James Franco does queer cinema

James Franco is a perfect ten. He’s incredibly kind on the retina, he can act, and now, he can direct too. After studying at New York University’s Film School, his directorial debut, The Feast of Stephen has just won him a Teddy at the Berlin Film Festival for excellence in queer cinema.

Ladies, relax. Although his short film contains slow motion collisions of equal parts penis and basketball, (balls everywhere really), this does not, in any way, mean that Franco himself is of the homosexual demographic. I hope.

Based on Anthony Hecht’s achingly homoerotic poem by the same name, which includes lines like: “The coltish horseplay of the locker room,/ Moist with the steam of the tiled shower stalls…”, the film tracks a young man’s daydream from a game on a New York basketball court, to a very sexual, gay, rite- of- passage beating in Central Park.

It’s a collision of violence and ecstasy, with an intimacy that alternates between kick, punch and dry-hump, all ‘mounting’ to the film’s grand finale where the protagonist has feces smeared across his face.

It’s demeaning and has a gang-rape feel to it, but the grin he shares with the audience at the end, suggests that this disambiguation is merely part of growing up.

I gotta say, not since Leo Dicaprio did Basketball Diaries in 1995, has the sport looked so interesting. There’s dribbling and sweating, and that’s just from the audience. Even if silent, gay, naked basketball films aren’t your thang, anything by James Franco is worth the watch. It’s a clever, tight (in more ways than one) and affecting piece of cinema. Check out the preview below…

UPDATE: This has been taken down which is an unholy tragedy. We will beg, borrow, steal and try our darnedest to find a bootlegged copy and put it back up stat. Until then tell us how much you love or hate Two And A Half Men.

Image by: Rob Kim via Getty