Goth Cruise (Jeanie Finlay, 2008)
[note: review originally published 1Dec2008]
Finlay (Teenland) directs a doco about one of the world’s most unlikely, and yet wonderful, yearly events: the Goth Cruise, where goths from across the country (and, in some cases, Great Britain) converge on a cruise ship and head for the tropics. How cool is that? The year Finlay filmed (2006, if memory serves), one hundred fifty goths went, along with 2,500 non-goths, to Bermuda. While it’s never explicitly stated that the ship’s crew went out of their way to accommodate the goths, when was the last time (for those of you who have ever been on cruises) you heard Fields of the Nephilim in a cruise ship nightclub? I had to take a walkman with me on tour so I could listen to Fields of the Nephilim on a cruise ship twenty years ago.
The documentary alternates between interviews with (and footage of) the goths themselves, the norms and ship’s crew, and gothic figureheads such as Wayne Hussey (lead singer of The Mission). The whole thing is quite sympathetic to the culture, and for the most part the norms end up understanding that (despite some, shall we say, rather flamboyant folks) goths are pretty much the same as anyone else, though with a markedly different fashion sense. Not much gloom and doom to be found with this bunch, who enjoy revelry just as much as the next guy.
Whether you’re a goth who wants to find out about the cruise (or just to see goth culture treated as something other than evil/weird/outre) or a “norm” who wants to get a look at goth culture from a sympathetic source, this one is well worth checking out. It pops up now and again on IFC; watch it. *** ½