Ebertfest: ‘Delirious’ panel sheds light on movie’s ending, relationships

By Jeannie Szkolka

“Go with the flow” – that’s the motto of the two main characters in “Delirious,” the 2007 film directed by Tom DiCillo. It was the second movie to be shown Thursday at the 10th annual Ebertfest. The film played out in front of a mostly senior crowd, who, despite the sometimes-foul language, laughed as heartily as any younger crowd.

The film follows Les (Steve Buscemi) and his new friend, the stunningly handsome, and homeless, Toby (Michael Pitt). Les is the typical scummy paparazzi, and Toby becomes his assistant and unfortunatly falls in love with a young starlet.

“Delirious” ended as most Ebertfest films do – with a round of applause for the director, who, in this case, could actually hear it. Rodger Ebert’s wife, Chaz, introduced the panel, which included DiCillo, Richard Roper and Lisa Rosman of US Weekly.

“That was the saddest happy ending I have ever seen,” Roper said.

And the panel seemed to agree, though DiCillo never packaged his movie as a happy one.

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    Both Roper and DiCillo agreed that the ending made the movie. Toby walks away from Les, and enters the surreal world of fame. But DiCillo almost changed it, putting the sound of a gunshot and blacking out the screen, leaving a “did Les shoot Toby?” question hanging.

    “I’m glad you didn’t (find out),” Roper said.

    The theme of the discussion centered around the relationship of the two main characters – two men who were able to love each other in a non-sexual way.

    But the question is asked many times throughout the film: “Is he gay?”

    No, Toby is not gay, he is simply a man who is able to express his feelings, seen when he hugs the doorman of the starlet’s hotel. Rosman thought Les and Toby’s relationship brought beauty to the film and demonstrated that too often in today’s society men cannot express their feelings.

    And even though the two separated at the end of the film, while it lasted, their relationship worked because they were able to “go with the flow.”