Photograph: Apple TV+

Pat Pitsenbarger (Udo Kier) is a former hairstylist and present resident of a Sandusky, Ohio, nursing dwelling who spends his Social Safety checks on illicit cigarettes and his days exactly refolding the napkins he steals from the eating corridor. It’s a dreary existence, however it’s his, and when a lawyer stops by on behalf of the property of Rita Parker-Sloan, an area socialite who was as soon as Pat’s most necessary consumer, with a proposal of $25,000 for one final posthumous spruce-up, Pat says no. Extra precisely, he hisses that they need to “bury her with bad hair,” whereas slowly reclining in his armchair. Pat hasn’t had any energy to flex in a very long time, and he makes the a lot of the alternative. Later that evening, feeling sentimental and lonely, he has a change of coronary heart, and the following morning, he packs up what little cash he has, and the set of rings he used to put on on each finger, and phases a wholly pointless escape. As one other resident factors out, as Pat units off throughout city, the door to depart isn’t locked.

Swan Tune was written and directed by Todd Stephens, whose earlier movies embrace One other Homosexual Film and One other Homosexual Sequel: Gays Gone Wild! — credit that, alongside the prospect of Kier as a flamboyant senior citizen blazing a path by a quiet midwestern city, portend one thing broader and sillier than the film that truly unfolds. Swan Tune is a tremendously tender love letter to somebody who survived so most of the slings and arrows that accompanied being an overtly homosexual man in a small, conservative space. Having made it to previous age, the place he endures indignities like velcro sneakers, Pat finds himself with out the disapproval he was accustomed to enduring but additionally with out the neighborhood he so adored that shaped regardless of it. The picaresque journey Pat takes throughout Sandusky isn’t the results of a plot gadget — as quickly as he leaves the nursing dwelling, he encounters a good-looking younger man, into whose arms he contrives a approach to briefly fall, and is obtainable a trip to the funeral dwelling that he turns down. Pat wants to select up provides and make a buying record that serves as an excuse for him to return to all his previous haunts, just like the ghost of so many drag nights previous.

Everybody responds with kindness, or at the very least equanimity, to Pat’s barely out-of-practice outrageousness. A girl with “Jesus Is My Copilot” on her air freshener listens to his jumbled life story whereas taking him to the cemetery and provides his hand a squeeze earlier than heading on her manner. A pair who moved onto the plot of land Pat as soon as shared together with his associate, David, who died of AIDS, provide him the one artifact remaining from the previous home, which was demolished. A girl who got here to his store as soon as to have her hair dyed blonde outfits Pat in garments from her retailer. Swan Tune isn’t flawless — it will get off to a bumpy begin, and it’s value inspecting that the entire Black characters within the movie are the very same taste of sassy. But it surely eschews sentimentality in favor of an unapologetic bittersweetness. Solely now, after everybody Pat cherished is gone and he misplaced his enterprise to homophobia and his dwelling to legal guidelines which have since been modified, is everybody on the town able to salute Pat as a legend. Pat, it seems, cherished Rita too, even though she was a tough, demanding Republican socialite — in spite of everything, Pat is a tough, demanding socialite himself. The way in which the painful arc of their relationship is revealed by encounters with Rita’s nephew, Dustin (Michael Urie), and Pat’s previous assistant, Dee Dee (Jennifer Coolidge), is fantastically performed.

It’s the 76-year-old Kier’s large efficiency that facilities the film (the character was impressed by an actual Pat Pitsenbarger that Stephens knew when he was rising up in Sandusky). It’s Kier who renders incidental the unaddressed query of how this German man ended up in Sandusky within the first place. A younger magnificence who appeared in Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein and labored with Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Dario Argento, he went on to ascertain a profession for himself as knowledgeable eccentric in American movies, to the purpose the place which will have eclipsed informal consciousness of his identification as a queer performer. However in Swan Tune, he hyperlinks each with an illuminating precision, taking part in Pat’s outsize persona as an ongoing efficiency, serving as armor and as a problem to everybody he meets. Kier additionally exhibits how Pat’s out of form with it, letting his vulnerabilities and his underbelly present, solely to seek out that nobody round is inclined to assault anymore. Pat doesn’t must struggle anymore, although that struggle is what led him and his mates to construct the city’s small homosexual bar, at which Pat used to carry out, and which is about to shut. It was born out of a must have a protected place, and Swan Tune manages to mourn that loss whereas acknowledging the progress that allowed it — in the end serving as an elegy not only for a personality, however for the neighborhood he was part of.

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