Guaranteeing a raw emotional journey, Ira Sachs’ Keep the Lights On certainly relates in one way or another to personal experiences of relationships. Whether it’s love or friendship, this mature drama is extremely brave and inspiring. Although certainly not the first of its kind, with films such as The Kids Are Alright (2010) and Weekend (2011), Keep the Lights On is being hailed as a ground-breaking step for contemporary American gay cinema and received great critical acclaim at its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Spread over a ten-year span, Ira Sachs’ Keep the Lights On explores the fluctuating relationship between two male lovers in New York. Don’t get the wrong impression; this is not your typical romance, sugar coating the essence of love, but instead gives an intense and realistic take on the journey of an ‘off and on’ relationship, dabbling in the hardships of Paul’s addiction.
Sach’s semi-autobiographical perspective of the film provides a heavily character-driven narrative. The focus on Erik (Thure Lindart), a Danish documentary filmmaker and Paul (Zachary Booth) a lawyer, creates a piece of highly emotive film. Every moment feels real. There is something incredibly deep and the brutal honesty that is brought to the screen brings a sense of catharsis. This is a beautiful and intense piece of film-making.