“[Mysterious Skin] is at once the most harrowing and, strangely, the most touching film I have seen about child abuse… It is not a message picture, doesn’t push its agenda; [it’s] about discovery, not accusation” (Roger Ebert).
Based on Scott Heim’s heartbreaking novel, Mysterious Skin sees Araki trading his visual pyrotechnics and caustic humour for open-wound honesty, resulting in his first film to receive across-the-board acclaim. A decade after they were both molested by their Little League coach, two long-ago friends have taken very different paths: Brian (Brady Corbet) is a shy introvert obsessed by his own possible UFO abduction who has blocked out the abuse from his memories; Neil (a revelatory Joseph Gordon-Levitt), his perception of sex cruelly warped, has become a highly sexualized hustler headed for the big-city gay underworld. As their personal journeys hit ugly dead ends, they find each other once more and try to understand the painful past that unites them. –TIFF
One of the angriest, most unconventional, and relentlessly intriguing voices in independent cinema, filmmaker Gregg Araki emerged on the film scene with the subtlety of a gunshot to the head with The Living End in 1992. His story of two HIV-positive gay lovers on a highway rampage quickly established him as one of the key figures in the “New Queer Cinema.” The film reached out to many of society’s more alienated members—gay and straight—who related to its energetic rage and identified with the anger of its principle characters.
Of Asian-American heritage, Araki is a native of Southern California. After attending film school at the University of Southern California—where he was particularly influenced by screwball comedies such as Bringing Up Baby— he made his directorial debut in 1987 with Three Bewildered People in the Night. With a budget of only $5,000 and using a stationary camera, he told the story of a romance between a video artist, her lover… read more