'Love & Suicide' Tells It How It Is
Resurfacing after ten years, this lesbian film and its themes are as compelling as ever.
In recent representations of the LGBTQ+ community, we have seen more positive stories, straying away from the intersecting struggles that come with being part of a marginalised group.
However, Mia Salsi’s 2006 film Love & Suicide tells it how it is. Ten years ago, Mia took to her laptop to tell her story, and story soon became a movie. Using actors, she told the love story of young teens and the struggle they face as young lesbians.
The intersecting struggles that this documentary presents are ones that aren’t really presented in the media anymore: the oppression of religion and LGBT teens drive to suicide. While there are still religious communities that do not approve of the LGBTQ+ people, these struggles have really been put in boxes as if they don’t exist anymore.
Additionally, while bullying has been covered by the media, suicide as a threat to young LGBTs might be talked about but not thoroughly analysed let alone solved. Love & Suicide portrays both of these, making it a very intense and eye-opening film, especially because it is based on the filmmaker Mia Salsi’s life.
The film tells the story of two girls, Kaye and Emily, who fall for each other. Kaye is very religious and while she is in love with Emily, she knows her mother won’t approve of her relationship.
I was shocked when Mia clarified that the scene of her saying Emily needed saving was really true, but it really is an eye-opening reality of some people’s views on LGBTQ+ identities. While this is sad, it is a really important story to tell.
The focus of Love & Suicide is love, not sex. The film does not progress into a steamy lesbian sex scene, but rather scenes depicting a strong relationship and intimacy. Mia refused to show the actors' breasts or depict nudity and conveyed the couple's intimacy through multiple scenes and shots.
Another theme in the film is men falling for lesbians. In Mia’s life, and her documentary, there was a guy who was falling for her and tried to force her to give him a chance. I think this plays on the “maybe you just haven’t found the right guy” trope in the lesbian community. There is a symbolic scene of David shouting Emily’s name and Emily shouting Kaye’s, two people longing for someone they thought they couldn’t have.
Finally, the suicides. I was really sad to realize that while the love story is true, so are the suicides. In the film, Emily attempts suicide, but makes it through. However, when Kaye does, she doesn’t live. Mia explained she thought “it sent a stronger message to have Kaye die because she didn’t live her life how she wanted.” While this also happened in real life, the inspiration for Kaye’s character is still alive and well.
I really enjoyed Love and Suicide because it dealt with issues I haven’t been presented with in awhile. I think we focus on the happy a lot, which is great, but the LGBTQ+ community still faces a lot of unfortunate struggles. While it was released in 2006, after getting her deserved distribution rights, Mia is re-releasing the film with an alternate ending later this year. She is also working on another movie called Without You I am Nothing.
For more information, visit her site.
Watch the trailer below