In 1985, President Ronald Reagan publicly acknowledged AIDS for the first time, after more than 5,000 people in the United States, mostly gay men, had already been killed by the disease. It is during this milestone year that director Yen Tan sets his fifth feature film, assembling an outstanding cast to bring his critically-observed period piece to life.
Adrian (Cory Michael Smith, The Riddler on Gotham) returns to his small Texan hometown to spend the Christmas holidays with his working-class Christian family. His homecoming is marked by a silent anguish with his father (Michael Chiklis), a wounded attachment to his mother (Virginia Madsen), and a broken relationship with his high school best friend (Jamie Chung). Under Tan’s poignant direction, 1985’s characters bring tension and a strained tenderness into each and every scene. Tan’s unique choice to shoot in black-and-white 16mm film furthers the atmosphere of strained intimacy.
Vancouver Queer Film Festival audiences will remember Yen Tan’s previous features Pit Stop (2013) and Ciao (2009). His acclaimed and growing body-of-work reaffirms and celebrates the power and purpose of queer coming-out and identity narratives. Yen Tan joins us for our Opening Gala, and for an intimate repeat screening on Friday, August 10.