Acts of Love

Directed by Isidore Bethel et Francis Leplay

  • genre Documentary
  • duration 71 minutes
  • status diffusion
  • release 2021

“In the faded light of a relationship with an older man, Isidore moves to Chicago and starts using dating apps to meet strangers – on camera. He meets various men, some of whom become relations, all of them collaborators on this unconventional hybrid film. Throughout, the filmmaker takes phone calls from his mother (who’s unsparing in her thoughts about his endeavor), while also floating cinematic messages to his past love. A singular work of exploration and confession, rawness and guardedness, Acts of Love follows its own path towards the universally elusive matters of the heart.” - Museum of the Moving Image, New York City

Team

  • Direction Isidore Bethel and Francis Leplay
  • Cinematography Ryan Saunders
  • Editing Francis Leplay
  • Sound Alex Sherman
  • Sound Editing Margot Testemale
  • Mixing Fanny Weinzaepflen
  • Color Grading Aurore Toulon
  • Production Hutong Productions (France)
  • Co-production Sin Sitio Cine (USA)
  • Support Ile-de-France, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Agora Docs In Progress (Thessaloniki Documentary Festival)
  • International Sales Outplay Films (FR)
  • VOD Distribution Here Media (US)

Partners

  • Région Ile-de-France
  • Jack Kent Cooke Fondation
  • Agora Docs In Progress (Festival du documentaire de Thessalonique

Screenings

  • HOT DOCS TORONTO Nightvision (World Premiere)
  • THESSALONIKI DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL Newcomers
  • TACOMA FILM FESTIVAL Feature Documentaries (USA) – Best Documentary Feature Award
  • TRANSILVANIA FILM FESTIVAL What’s Up Doc (Cluj Napoca, Romania)
  • SIDEWALK Film Festival Shout Competition (Alabama, US)
  • IN & OUT QUEER FILM FESTIVAL VILLA ARSON (Nice, FR)
  • ZURICH PINK APPLE LGBT FILM FESTIVAL International Competition (Switzerland)
  • QUEER LISBOA Queer Art Competition (Portugal)
  • CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL City & State, Documentary, and Outlook sections (USA)
  • BLACK CANVAS CONTEMPORARY FILM FESTIVAL Nuestros Días section (Mexico)
  • REEL PRIDE WINNIPEG LGBTTQ* FILM FESTIVAL Documentary section (Canada)
  • PORN FILM FESTIVAL BERLIN Documentary competition (Germany)
  • ST. LOUIS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Documentary competition (USA)
  • RENCONTRES INTERNATIONALES DU DOCUMENTAIRE DE MONTRÉAL RIDM In Search of Self (Canada)
  • CHÉRIES-ChÉRIS LGBTQ+ FILM FESTIVAL of Paris Documentary competition (France)
  • OUTFEST SANTO DOMINGO INTER LBTQ FESTIVAL Documentary competition (Dominican Republic)
  • OXFORD University Filmmaking Foundation SFF Selection 2022
  • ÉCRANS MIXTES Lyon Queer & Feminist FF Competition
  • PRISMATIC GROUND Maysles Documentary Center (NYC)
  • MUSEUM OF MOVING IMAGE New York City Program 2022
  • GENDER BORDER FF Special Jury Mention (Milan 2022)
  • OSLOEROTIC FILM & ART FESTIVAL Oslo 2023

Press review

  • The Hollywood Reporter A stimulating film at the crossroads of genres, proving that it's worth taking risks – in art and in love.
  • NOW Magazine A bold and courageous look at intimacy and power dynamics in interpersonal relationships and between artist and subject. (4/5 stars)
  • Filmmaker Acts of Love is both disturbing and contemplative, with still shots capturing disturbing scenarios that lead to an unexpected and rewarding ending.
  • A Moveable Fest Acts of Love captures raw emotions rather than manufacturing them with a self-awareness that is particularly impressive as Bethel is both the creative force behind the film and its main subject.
  • POV Magazine A thoughtful perspective on love and grief, but above all, a celebration of the encounters that define us in our journeys through life.
  • One Movie, Our Views A daring and stimulating hybrid documentary... The film becomes extremely moving with a final sequence of images that concludes this journey with resounding depth. (3.5/4 stars)
  • ForReel Movies While Bethel 'flounders in the rushes to find the meaning of his cinematic act, we as viewers have the opportunity to watch him flounder in hopes, desires, and fantasies to understand the true meaning of loving others and cherishing the experiences they offer us.
  • KinoCulture Montreal Bethel's film is a one-way mirror behind which hides a budding filmmaker, shy despite appearances, or pretending to be, aware of his actions, madly in love with cinema and the camera. A filmmaker who disconcerts us, intentionally disorients us. But that's how real makers of moving images assert themselves.
  • On the lists of must-see films at Hot Docs by NOW Magazine ('12 must-see films according to NOW critics'), Yohomo ('10 Queer Films to Watch at Hot Docs'), and The Queer Review ('LGBTQ+ highlights at Hot Docs 2021')