Media Relations: media commentary and criticism

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


-- film -- reeling 2005: boys will be boys (short films)

Boys Will Be Boys shorts contained a program of seven short films -- or, actually, videos. A couple of them I'd actually heard of independently of Reeling, so I was looking forward to seeing them.

Besos Que Mueven Elizebeth Chavez, US, 2004; 4 min.

Missed the very beginning of this one. It seemed like it was just a music video. A really lovely looking one, but that was it.

Adam Salky, US, 2004; 16 min.

A seriously misleading summary at the Reeling site. "Dare" about Ben (Adam Fleming), who is probably gay, who has a frantic crush on Johnny (Michael Cassidy), who probably isn't. Johnny plays the lead in the school production of A Streetcar Named Desire, and is having problems remembering his lines; Ben handles the lighting for the production (hence the nickname "Light Boy"). Ben winds up going home with Johnny to help him learn his lines. Alcohol is consumed, truths are spoken, and then there comes the dare. (No, I'm not telling you what it is. In any event, there's sort of more than one.)

I'm never quite sure how to take this sort of story; I'm much older than the people in it, so I can remember this type of event at a sort of distance, remembering how intense and important all that stuff was when I was in high school. At the same time, I'm not sure if I'm part of the target audience; if I were in my early 20s, say, then all of this would be much less funny. In any event, "Dare" is interesting to watch; the sort of story where you want to know what happened after the end.

Freud Slips
David M. Young, US, 2003; 7 min

Sigmund Freud. Modern-day health club. Homoerotic imagery and impulses. Discuss.

Seriously, that's kind of ... it. Hysterically funny, to be sure, and lighter than air.

Mateo's Tattoo
Allen Frame, US, 2005; 23 min.

From the Reeling site: "Mateo, a young Colombian photographer, comes to New York to claim his inheritance-his gay uncle's artwork." True enough, as far as it goes.

Allen Frame seems to be primarily a photographer, which may explain some of the shortcomings of this story. (Frame's photographic work seems quite striking, however.) It seems to be trying to suggest that maybe Mateo's gay, maybe he's bisexual, maybe he's just an opportunist. There's also the question of whether or not Roberto's former best friend, with whom Mateo is staying, might have something of a thing for him. And the ending just leaves you sitting there, scratching your head, thinking, "What the hell...?" Not something I'd want to see again, in any event.

Night Swimming
Daniel Falcone, US, 2005; 18 min

From the Reeling site: "Otter's secret crush on Darby may come to light when the two take a trip to see a band in New York City."

Substitute "will" for "may", and you have an accurate summary of the film. Mostly, it's about showing the relationship between the guys, and what happens when Darby realizes exactly how Otter feels. What initially does happen surprised me -- I honestly didn't expect that particular immediate result, although the ending of the film wasn't a surprise. Felt sort of inevitable, in fact. Oddly, this somehow isn't the sort of story that makes you wonder what happens next; it's complete in itself, and somehow also oddly satisfying.

On the Low (Flash required)
Luther Mace, US, 2004; 15 min
from the Reeling site: "The clandestine relationship between two African-American boys begins to shift when love enters the picture."

The only other film that leaves me wondering "what happens next"? Or even "what happens between"? Ty (Deaundray Gossett) is being taunted at school, being called faggot, queer, all sorts of things -- not because anyone knows anything, but because they know that it bothers him. Kevin (Delpano Wills) is one of the people with the group taunting him ... but other times, he's also having a hot and heavy affair with Ty. After one of the namecalling sessions, Ty starts to think about who he is and what he wants.

The actors are very good, and the story absolutely works. I hope that Mace is able to get funding to expand this story -- according to an interview at Rod 2.0, Mace is hoping to be able to do just that -- because I really want to know how this story turns out, where he wants to take it. (The interview also showed me a couple of things I missed -- sadly, I'm apparently one of the older people who doesn't connect with the material that Mace mentions. Which doesn't change the fact that I liked it and would like to see more of it.)

Eldar Rapaport, US, 2005; 16 min

Troy (Murray Bartlett) comes back to town, after some time away, to meet his ex-lover Thomas (Daniel Dugan). It turns out that they had a somewhat acrimonious breakup -- Troy seems to have effectively just walked out. It's not at first clear why Troy made contact again, and it's utterly unclear why Thomas agreed, given the history revealed in their conversation. Gradually, it becomes clear to the viewer that Troy is wondering whether or not he has a chance at getting Thomas back; it's not at all clear -- deliberately so -- for some time whether or not Thomas realizes that this is Troy's agenda.

It's well written and well acted, on the whole. You kind of don't want to know what happens next with this story, however, because no matter how it turns out, there's going to be a fair amount of pain in store for at least one of the characters.

On the whole, an entertaining program of shorts. The disconnects between them did remind me why I don't generally like programs made of nothing but shorts, however. It's hard to tell a story, and tell it well, in such a brief amount of time, and there wasn't any flow between them. How could there be? They had nothing to do with each other.

Still, a fun night at the movies.

Posted by iain at 11:48 PM in category film