At long last, the day has come when gay movies aren't so darn gay. In fact, the Portland lesbian gay bi trans film fest is showcasing three films--which include gay characters with AIDS--and are not fundamentally about homosexuality or disease. Instead, these are merely factors in the story, just like real life.
The Adventures of Felix takes a gay, male, HIV-positive character and sends him on a quest to find his estranged father. Adorable Felix travels from Normandy to Marseille by walking and hitching, forcing his drivers to avoid any right-wing towns. Along the way, he meets a brother, grandmother, sister, cousin, and father of sorts (and yes, he does get some action), and realizes that his notion of family as blood realtives is wrong. The film's subtle messages and super-functional interactions make you want to keep on keeping it real, like Felix (who you'll desperately want to smooch).
Perfect Son is a darker film, following a recovering drug-addict through the trials of having to deal with actual human interaction and the problems that arise from it. Theo's dad dies and he is forced to get back in touch with his older brother, who he knows virtually nothing about. Likewise, he discovers that his brother is not only gay and a serious gigalo, but also dying of AIDS. This sends him back into a substance binge, but eventually helps him become a sober, capable person. The relationship between the two brothers is so fucked up and charming, you just might shed a tear.
The gay/AIDS character in The Weekend is dead before the film starts. His brother, boyfriend, and old friends get together for a weekend of relaxation, which turns into an emotional eruption because they miss him so much, they can't constructively deal with his death. After their individual realizations, however, as well as the group meltdown, everyone starts to pull it together.
All of these films are, in the end, hopeful, and have dense plots that pull you through to the end. On the timeline of gay or AIDS films, it would have been impossible to skip the And the Band Played Ons, Philadelphias, or It's My Partys, but it's a lot less bleak now that they're over.