THE LIVING END: REMIXED AND REMASTEREDShown in the Panorama section of the Berlinale in 1992, Gregg Araki’s gay road movie THE LIVING END has become a classic example of queer new wave cinema that is also an enduring record of the post-punk era.
The film’s first image – the words “fuck the world” scrawled on a graffiti-covered wall – is an apt description of the frame of mind of the film’s two protagonists Jon and Luke, two HIV positive men. Luke is a sexy drifter; Jon a disoriented novelist who has just found out that he is virus positive. Both are stuck in Los Angeles, a city that seems cold and hostile and full of serial killers who seem to have it in for lesbians; a city of twisted characters, hysterical spouse murderers and dangerous homophobes.
Jon and Luke meet by chance and begin a stormy love affair. Then Luke inadvertently kills a cop and the pair goes on the run. In San Francisco someone they considered a friend slams the door in their face. And so, with no destination and no idea where to go, they embark on an odyssey replete with sexual excesses that takes them through the existential void that calls itself America.
This is a restored version of Gregg Araki’s film: for this screening, the original 16mm print was cleaned and digitalised. THE LIVING END subsequently received new colour matching and the sound was remixed.