PinkNews Exclusive: Director and star of gay farmer film that’s ‘better than Brokeback Mountain’ open up

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It may have been hailed as better than Brokeback Mountain, but according to star Alec Secareanu, it’s not a same-sex romance.

It’s so much more than that.

“I don’t think it’s a gay love story. I think it’s a love story, period.” He said.

“It’s two people who come from different worlds, and they connect despite all odds, and that is beautiful.”

Ahead of the film’s release on September 1, star Alec Secareanu and director Francis Lee open up to PinkNews about their hopes and desires for their creation.

The film explores the life of Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor), a young farmer on a path of self-destruction and how his life changes as migrant worker Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) arrives on the farm for lambing season.

Although Johnny and Gheorghe begin as bitter rivals, their relationship soon blossoms into a heartwarming romance.

It’s a tender love story which avoids falling into many of the traps of LGBT+ cinema.

It was also the only British film to have featured in the World Drama category at the Sundance Film Festival this year, and has received excellent reviews internationally.


Francis Lee, Alec Secareanu and Josh O'Connor during Sundance 2017

Francis Lee, Alec Secareanu and Josh O’Connor during Sundance 2017 (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)

Secareanu explained why audiences may have taken so well to it, saying: “What I love about this story is that it’s not a coming out story, it’s a love story.

“Love is more important than prejudice, society or the environment that you live in.

“That’s why I fell in love with the story.”

Throughout the film, God’s Own Country questions what it means to be a man.

Lee said: “I think this film is important in that it is two men; I don’t think it could be a man and a woman or two women.

“I think it’s important because the film is about masculinity and about how men communicate.”

It may not be intentional, but there is a political quality to God’s Own Country.

In the aftermath of Brexit and the Conservative government’s deal with the homophobic Democratic Unionist Party, the film takes on an extra significance.

In response to this idea, Lee said: “What’s important I think is to not take your eye off the ball, not to be too comfortable because as soon as you do that, things slip backwards”.

He said it was “always important to keep fighting and pushing the agenda.

“If that means a film that shows same-sex relationships, then yes, it’s good that we keep reminding and keep going as the fight is not won.”

Lee spoke about how although the film is set in the Yorkshire Dales, there’s a universal quality to the story that can appeal to even the most hardcore city-dwellers among us.

“Well, I hope [city audiences] go on the journey with the characters, and I hope what they take from it is a very emotional and heartfelt story, and I hope they see some resonance,” he said.

“I think the film is about love, hope and falling in love, and most of us – if we’ve been lucky – have known what it feels like to fall in love.

“It can be incredible and beautiful, but also tough.”

God’s Own Country is set to be released in the UK on September 1.

Watch the trailer here: