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up on the idea that two men could be
in love, but Monette opened his mind
to a different way of thinking.
"(Monette) really believed in the concept of boy meets boy, of gay love. He
really believed gay relationships could
work. That's less of an issue now. but
back in lhe mid 70s. there was really
not much out there to support the
idea that gay people were capable of
maintaining relationships with each
other." Bramer said.
While meeting with Monette for
three hours in 1992, Bramer laid out
his desires to document the award-
winning author's life. The documentary would become "Paul Monette: The
Brink of Summer's End." but Bramer
had to first convince Monette that lhe
project was worth beginning.
.After considering the idea for a week,
Monette (an ex-screen writer magnetized
with a preference for lhe dramatic) delivered this clever answer: "I've read your
fascinating proposal." he told Bramer.
"and I've decided to accept the part."
The "part" lasted for
two-and-a-half years as
numerous interviews with
Monelte and his friends.
At first, Monelte was a
lough cookie to crack, bul
Bramer managed lo get
past Monette's treasury of
sound bites and "down to
the real man." That was
n'l easy, he said.
"When you do a do* u
mentary like this that is
long form. you sort of
want lo peel away the lay
ers a lillle bit and gel past what is studied and polished. (Geiting) down lo
what is more personal and revealing ...
takes time," he said.
Bul time didn't prove lo be a friend In
Monette. His body responded unfavorably to chemotherapy and Ihe vast
array of medications intended lo prolong his life. Sticking around for
Monette's death wasn't part ol Bramer's
original plans: and Monelte didn't wanl
the end of his life filmed, either.
Yet something compelled Bramer to
include Monetle's dealh in Ihe film.
But how lo could he convince
"I told him. 'Paul, someday, someday. AIDS is going lie over with. And
as much as It's hard to imagine how
people are going lo forget, and I bel
they're going to forget the depth of il in
last order." Bramer remembered with
Monelte — sick, frail, and wilhering
— asked if Bramer wanled to meet the
Bramer responded. "How about
Monelte read through Ihe lines.
"You don't think I'm going make it
another week?" he asked.
"Paul, I don't know. I hope you live
for another 10 years," Bramer told
him. "But you've said yes now. and to
be honest with you. I've had a crew on
standby for the last three weeks."
The evolution of Monette's death is
the film's most powerful element. The
transition from a virile, handsome,
attractive man contrasts darkly wilh
the living skeleton we see at the film's
end. As he struggles for each breath,
Monelle looks like death, but he doesn't sound like it. Even at the final
moments of his life, Monette is a man
fully conscious of his fate, yet he
maintains enough sense of self to
know lhal his life truly means something, to the world and to his friends.
Monetle's life struggle touched
Bramer deeply as well.
To me, Paul was a sort of an older
brother thai I always wished that I had.
who could leach me things about what it
meant to be gay. It was wonderful to be
around someone like that who was so
completely out, and so completely into
Ix'ing gay thai it transcended all stereotypes,
and all of my own fears
aboul being gay. So, [
could see thai he was
what a fully adult gay person looked like." he said.
Even so. Bramer's film
gels a wide array of reactions. At one screening, a
asked Bramer. "Could I
have my money back?"
Surprised. Bramer asked
why. "Oh, it's just too
medical." the woman
said. "I like movies about dying people
and everything, but this is jusi too
much lor me."
Bramer said that he got to "work out
a lot of fears" in making the film. He
feared dealh, feared AIDS and feared
his own sexuality. But Bramer transcended those fears as he spent more
time with Monelle. Now that he's discovered his own sense of selfhood.
Bramer said that what he feared "was
far worse than the reality."
"I wanted to present a gay life in a
way that I thought would reveal not
only to gay people bul lo straight people, the depth of who we are. I wanted
to show somebody deeply in love —
bellevabiy ami undeniably in love."
What: "Paul Monette: The Brink of
Who: Direcior Monte Bramer will
attend both screen screenings
When: June 13 at 7:30 p.m. and
June 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Rice Media Cenier, Entrance
8. University Boulevard al Stockton
Tickets: SS. 713-527-4Hr-,'A
SATURDAY, JUNE 13
Celebration of Life
for Rusty Braswell
in the Outback
Gay Pride Roof Top
Tickets On Sale Beginning 6-12-98
Best View of the Parade in Montrose
Limited Amount To Be Sold
1022 WESTHEIMER • HOUSTON
Leather * Levi * Cruise
Saturday, June 13 • 9pm
The Houston Area
SUMMER SWEAT FEST
■fr Noon til 7pm everyday All Well and Beer $2 •&
2923 Main • Houston • 713-522-0000
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