Review: ‘Husbands At All Costs’

As expertly revealed in docu "Husbands at All Costs," the gay marriage debate isn't confined to the States. Helmers Jean-Michel Vennemani and Yves Jeuland follow the first gay couple to marry in France, focusing as much on the admirable mayor who performed the ceremony as the two men themselves. A worthy choice for gay fests, docu should also fit comfortably on cable.

As expertly revealed in docu “Husbands at All Costs,” the gay marriage debate isn’t confined to the States. Helmers Jean-Michel Vennemani and Yves Jeuland follow the first gay couple to marry in France, focusing as much on the admirable mayor who performed the ceremony as the two men themselves. The double grooms prove to be politically naive and ethically suspect, but mayor Noel Mamere appears a genuine hero. A worthy choice for gay fests, docu should also fit comfortably on cable.

Helmers began shooting in May 2004, three weeks before the ceremony in the southwest town of Begles. Stephane Chapin and Bertrand Charpentier answered Mamere’s call for a same-sex couple living within his district to marry, but neither are exactly poster boys for the cause. Not very bright and positively venal in their dealings with well-wishers, they let the mayor and his hard-working entourage handle the media circus — and the hate mail. Mamere offers a memorable wedding speech embodying the essence of the French doctrinal belief in equality. Throughout ups and downs, helmers don’t miss a beat; docu is tightly edited.

Husbands At All Costs

France

Production

A Compagnie des Phares et Balises production, in association with Transatlantic Video, with the participation of Canal Plus and Pink TV. Produced by Sophie Faudel. Directed by Jean-Michel Vennemani, Yves Jeuland.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Vennemani, Jeuland; editors, Claudio Hughes, Samuel Lajus. Reviewed on video at Turin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (Documentaries Panorama), April 26, 2005. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Noel Mamere, Stephane Chapin, Bertrand Charpentier, Pascal Gattuing, Dominique Bringue, Christian Merlette, Christian Madrolle, Emmanuel Pierrat, Stephane Munka, Caroline Mecary, Daniel Borillo, Kitterie Ancele.
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