Japanese music video shines a light on abuse in LGBT relationships

It’s so gratifying to see something published on this site reach someone in a personal and meaningful way — whether they live in Philadelphia or on the other side of the planet.

Hamish Downie, a queer Australian filmmaker living in Japan, connected to the theme of interpersonal abuse that Christian Hill wrote about in his essay from Sept. 14, “Too many LGBT youth depend on abusive relationships for a home.”

Downie wrote in response to share a music video for the song “The Last Time” by Robyn Loau, which he had recently made as an attempt to shine a light on domestic violence in LGBT relationships.

“The simple story,” he wrote, “is that it’s about a lesbian couple who are both trapped in the past and in a toxic, abusive relationship — a real-life hell/purgatory, that’s told in a surrealist way.”

“I’ve actually been sitting on this video for a while, too nervous to release it, because it’s about such a personal experience of mine,” Downie wrote. “I shot this to be creepy and Lynchian, but I’m not sure if this completely fits in the genre. But I did conceive it as a dark nightmare of a story.”

While Hill’s essay is about domestic violence between men in a relationship, Downie’s video features two women. He explains: “I chose to use a lesbian couple, as I wanted to get far away from the idea that this is only a problem for straight men. If I used a gay man, then people would say it was just a male problem (when I know, from a couple of lesbian friends of mine, it is not). So, I hope through using a lesbian couple, [I can show] that this is a problem all of us need to deal with.”

Astute fans of Japanese filmmaking may recognize the visual tribute to old movies like “Tokyo Story.” Downie said he did this “to give the feeling of being trapped in the past.”

For more of Downie’s work, find his previous short films on YouTube, including “Silent Hill: Stolen Heart,” “Pieces of 8,” and the award-winning “An American Piano.”

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