After Louie debuted at the School of Visual Arts theater in Chelsea October 22 as the centerpiece film of NewFest: New York’s LGBT Film Festival, which continues through October 24.
The film follows middle-aged artist-activist Sam Cooper (Alan Cumming) as he struggles to reconcile the differences between generations with a new and much younger lover Braeden Reilly (Zachary Booth). After losing his love, William (David Duke), to AIDS in the nineties, Sam finds it impossible to let go of his memory, immortalizing William in film. The movie’s title is derived from a book William had written about his lover Louie, creating an internal perpetuity of relationships in the community that is reflected throughout the film.
Directed by Vincent Gagliostro and written in part by Anthony Johnston (who also plays Braeden’s boyfriend Lukas), After Louie is gripping, timely, and devastatingly beautiful. Cumming provides a stellar performance, making personal the community struggle of now thirty years past. I felt enveloped in the heartbreak of losing William and the confusion of trying and failing to relate to the “new” LGBTQ+ community.A self-proclaimed “love letter to New York,” says Gagliostro, After Louie expertly portrays Brooklyn and Manhattan both throughout the day and during the night. The cast is varied, eccentric, comedic, and most importantly, authentic. The chemistry among the actors is evident from start to finish.
The cinematography is absolutely breathtaking. Each shot is so meticulous and so deliberate that it was impossible to correctly appreciate each moment with only one viewing. After Louie is evocative and incredibly moving, and a must-see for people of all ages.