It’s impossible to talk with Kyle MacLachlan and not think of one of his most iconic roles, Special Agent Dale Cooper from television’s “Twin Peaks”. The character in David Lynch’s quirky series seems to have been tailor made for MacLachlan’s body language, ebullient personality, and deliciously clipped enunciation. For his latest role, the spirit of Cary Grant, he’s subsumed much of that while channeling Grant’s particular and elegant brand of joie de vivre.
When I spoke with MacLachlan during the 2004 San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival where TOUCH OF PINK was a hit, it was just a matter of time before the conversation turned from the pleasures and perils of playing Cary Grant to his long collaboration with Lynch and his penchant for working with film auteurs.
Ian Iqbal Rashid’s TOUCH OF PINK is a glorious celebration of classic movie romance. It’s also a clear-eyed look at how those very romances, for better or worse, can seep into our subconscious and write the script of our lives. That in and of itself would be an interesting film, but he doesn’t stop there. Rashid has also written and directed a sly consideration of the tyranny of cultural conditioning and how hard it is to declare one’s independence even though it should be just a matter of choosing happiness.
Our hero is Alim (Jimi Mistry), a Canadian in London with a glamorous job as a stills photographer on A-list films, a fabulous boyfriend, Giles (Kristen Holden-Reid), and a traditional Pakistani Muslim family back in Canada who are beginning to wonder why he hasn’t settled down with a nice traditional Pakistani Muslim girl. With his cousin’s traditional wedding coming up, things are coming to a head for Alim. Giles is pressuring him to come out to his family and take him to the wedding, and his mother (Suleka Matthew) is suffering a mid-life crisis by showing up on his doorstep. With her frying pan. Fortunately, he has Cary Grant (Kyle MacLachlan) as his guardian movie star to help him over the rough spots in true Tinseltown fashion with questionable advice and soothing words to buck up Alim, whom he dubs his little samosa.
Rashid maintains a light touch that characterized the idiom of those fluffy romances that Hollywood churned out with wild abandon during its Golden Age, and then gives it some real-world bite. It’s not just with those comments about the contentious relations between the first and third worlds, but also with the relationship we have with the movies, with that wonderful world unspooling on the silver screen that we can never have, only hold up for the inevitably disappointing comparison. But, true to that idiom where romance rules and a happy ending is de rigeur, Rashid sends his characters off both wiser and more capable of happiness here in the real world.