Head On

DIRECTOR: Ana Kokkinos

Head On is an award-winning 1998 Australian film based on the acclaimed novel Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas. Hunky Alex Dimitriades stars as Ari, a brooding, unemployed 19-year-old gadabout who lives at home with his very traditional Greek parents in the inner city of Melbourne. He’s living in a powder keg and giving off sparks, numbing the pain of his turbulent home life with drugs and seedy back-alley encounters. His father finds Ari’s irresponsible behavior disgraceful, while his mother is a bit more understanding but struggles in her role as the family’s peacekeeper. Meanwhile, Ari’s younger sister seems poised to follow in her brother’s wild-child footsteps.

During one of his many adventures, Ari meets a handsome blonde guy with whom he has immediate and sizzling chemistry, which later proves quite combustible. Head On also features a memorable transgender character, Johnny/Toula, Ari’s cousin and partner in crime (played with class and sass by Paul Capsis) who, unlike the fatalistic Ari, is not afraid to openly express who he is—and ends up paying the price for it. The film gained notoriety upon its release for its raw sexuality and honest portrayal of someone spinning out of control. The film also features an edgy, big-beat soundtrack that was all the rage on many ’90s hipster mixtapes. Director Ana Kokkinos has crafted a unique gay classic that begs to be seen by today’s younger audiences.

— CHRIS KEECH

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