A San Francisco leather bar is holding a “Foucault Night” to honor the sexual philosopher Michel Foucault (who died of AIDS in 1984). The short film “Foucault Who?” really doesn’t have much to do with the philosopher himself, except perhaps to invoke Foucault’s conception of communicating identity to others through the interaction of the characters in the film. Should we be tipped off to the dangerous nature of the mysterious stranger (Jeff De Lucio-Brock) by the way he communicates it to aging barfly Quentin (Leon Acord), who happens to share Foucault’s weakness for younger men? That young bar back Lev (Walter Delmar) certainly seems to be picking up on the vibe, and the static plagued bar TV keeps throwing out news tidbits (culled from reports aired during Andrew Cunanan’s killing spree) that leave little doubt as to the stranger’s true nature.
Director Jed Bell manages to put together an effectively sinister atmosphere for his film, setting the action in an actual bar and infusing everything with an appropriately noir-ish tinge. “Foucault Who?” is quite obviously a cautionary tale, in much the same way “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” could be viewed as one for the Disco Era. Ultimately, the name checking of Foucault is a method to link the philosopher to our main character, foreshadowing the price their shared predilections will make them pay. Solid performances all around help solidify it as a very capable effort, and one that would make anyone, gay or straight, think twice about taking that attractive stranger home.
Oh, who am I kidding? You’d take ‘em home anyway. Scalawags.