Sunday, January 21st, 2024

Queerguru’s Ris Fatah reviews the World Premiere of Mikko Måkelå ‘s SEBASTIAN at Sundance Film Festival


Writers are always advised to ‘Write about what you know.’ Aspiring twenty-five-year-old Scottish writer Max, (the handsome Ruaridh Mollica), is living in London and working on his first novel, a story about a sex-worker, Sebastian. He’s good-looking and ambitious, energetically forging his career and soul. To improve the authenticity of his work he creates an online escort profile and starts seeing clients himself, as his alter-ego Sebastian, and writes about each gig afterward. His potential publisher is impressed with his work, which he credits to interviews with sex workers.

As well as writing his novel and escorting, Max has a day job writing and interviewing for a prestigious literary magazine. This is going well. His sex work is also successful. He’s good at it and popular with his clients who are generally older and wealthier men. His experiences are generally positive, with the odd bad client, much like any other job. He keeps this part of his life secret from everyone else, a secret double-life that becomes harder to maintain as his escorting gradually becomes his priority, and interferes with both his writing career and his personal life. An encounter with an older client, seventy-something Nicholas (Jonathan Hyde The Crown, Titanic, Spooks)) then leads Max in a new direction.

Sebastian is the latest film by Finnish writer/director Mikko Måkelå, which just premiered at Sundance Film Festival. (where it has been nominated for Måkelå combines beautiful cinematography and a strong soundtrack with excellent casting to create a modern, refreshing, judgement-free narrative about the world of sex work. Both Mollica and Hyde are excellent, Mollica in particular at portraying the development of Max’s character as he explores his new life. The plot is authentic, as is Måkelå’s picture of contemporary London living. The cut-throat world of publishing, and the relatively powerless Max’s attempts to control his narrative in an environment of more powerful, but less informed, people are depicted well. The sex, drug, and social scenes are realistic. Sex work is presented without judgment as a positive career choice rather than an end-of-the-road no-other-option necessity. A very current, stylish view of a queer London life.


Queerguru’s Contributing Editor Ris Fatah is a successful fashion/luxury business consultant  (when he can be bothered) who divides and wastes his time between London and Ibiza. He is a lover of all things queer, feminist, and human rights in general. @ris.fatah

Posted by queerguru  at  23:00

Genres:  dramedy

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