DOASKDOTELL Movie Reviews of short gay films (YouTube clips)
The Secret Club (Den Hemmelige Klubben) (Norway, 2003, dir. Kenneth Elvebaak, video, 55 min) explores the secret homosexual clubs in 1950s Norway. We think of Scandinavia as ultra-liberal, but perhaps it was not so then (and Norway may be more conservative than Sweden). Gay men there encountered the same extreme prejudices as in the United States during the period of McCarthyism, to the point that Parliament in 1962 tried to outlaw homosexual organizations. “You were expected to get an education, then to get married and have a family.” If behavior is objectively right or wrong for everyone (regardless of orientation), at least “homohatred” has to answer for its own irrationality, that it seems predicated on the underlying vulnerability of heterosexual marriage as an institution and of male sexual performance.
Gay Pioneers (2004, video, dir. Glen Holsten, 30 min) traces the Mattachine society in the 1950s, and especially focuses on the early homosexual rights demonstration in Philadelphia on July 4, 1965 with black-and-white footage. Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings, Lilli Vincenz, Barbara Gittings, and Jack Nichols are featured. Demonstrators were expected to wear conservative clothing and not draw attention to themselves as individuals while marching—it is interesting how self-promotion is perceived as antithetical to well-conceived group goals.
Rainbow Pride (2003, Canada, dir. Marie-Jo-Ferron, 52 min) traces the history of the rainbow flag back to the 1970s, up to the quilting of the 1-1/4 mile long flag that straddled Key West, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico for Pride 2003. Persons have been vandalized for displaying the flag in their homes or on their cars in some areas of the country.
One Wedding and a Revolution (2004, USA, video, dir. Debra Chasnoff, 19 min) depicts the start of the same-sex marriage ceremonies at City Hall in San Francisco in early 2004. An interview with straight, married Irish Catholic mayor Gavin Newsom, and also with city assessor Mabel Teng, is presented. The opening marriage ceremony of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon is depicted.
The mini films at the DC local filmmakers’ forum for Reel Affirmations 2004 are
Barefeet (Sonali Gulati); Booty Dance (Paula Durette, which presents Visual Basic code (perhaps for Visual Studio .NET) code to describe dirty dancing—the first time I’ve ever seen object-oriented code in a film; Speaking Our Minds (Courtenay Singer and Al Miner); Brian: The Gnome Slayer 3 (Brian Tosoko Bello), Women’s Rugby, Women’s Voices (Asher Beckwitt), a straightforward documentary of rugby and of it for women on the Washington Ellipse.
From the 2006 Reel Affirmations 16:
From the presentation "Who do you think I am?"
Rinse Cycle (1999, dir. Steve Salinaro, 9 min), in black and white, has a 41 year old trying some hair tonic before carrying on a friendship with a 30s man he meets at a NYC gym. Once they get into the steam room, the tonic melts and makes a mess. No real big deal, but the audience liked it.
Man Seeking Man ("Mies Etsil Miestsa", 2004, dir. Matti Harju, 13 min, Finland) has an older overweight man in a Finnish highrise apartment waiting for a personals ad to be answered. An appealing young man comes and asks for a sandwich. We don't figure out that he is the son until we see the Kullervo drawing on the wall by the son as a boy (a Sibelius composition is based on that, and the music in the soundtrack reminded one of Sibelius's Fourth Symphony). A trick does come but is not let in.
Available Men (2005, dir. David Dean Bottrell, 15 min) has professional LA men pairing off for pickups in a bar in a comedy that suggests speed-dating. There is a script in Minnesota that is a heterosexual version of this kind of setup.
Mistaken Identity (2006, dir. Sarah Kellogg, Deb Griffin, 13 min) This title reminds me of the identity theft controversy, and here a straight Indiana couple gets mistakenly arrested at a drag show, and has to bond with the gay prisoners once in jail. It's better to stay out of jail, according to a Minnesota comedian.
A Hard Blow ("Le Bon Coup", 2005, dir. Arnault Labaroonne, 12 min, France) Black and white. A young women is invited to an attractive gay man's apartment. She hopes to score, and what he wants is for her to act, verbally, without touching. He does get touched up a little bit.
Group of Seven Inches (2005, dir. Kent Monkman and Giselle Gordon, 8 min) is a silent film exercise of role reversal: native Americans paint "captured" European men, in various stages of undress. The paintings are on a canvas, but the "victims" get rubbed up a bit. The background featured piano music that I believe came from Bach's Well Tempered Clavier, one of the fugues/
My Cat's Balls ("Les Couilles de Mon Chat", 2005, dir. Didier Benureau, 22 min, France) is a comedy about the fear of emasculation, castration, and purported glorious love among eunuchs. An upper class middle aged Parisian attempts to take his male cat in for "alteration" and with a mixup, the salon thinks he is there for a sex change. Some pretty girls have at his hairy chest. No harm done, but was this inspired by "The 40 Year Old Virgin"? The principle short in the evening (shown twice). Rather 50s style black and white.
Relative Freedom (2006, dir. Joe Kuehne, 9 min) has the director, as a young man, returning to Michigan to come out to his family and calm his religious concerns about salvation. He finds parents and siblings rather intolerant about his "choice." The film, short as it is, gets into the psychology of it. The parents feel that their kids owe them religious and filial loyalty, and that seems very important to who the parents are themselves. So this is a battle of identities. The title is revealing, to, because here one person's freedom is another person's possible judgment, and it goes in both directions.
The Lost Item (2005, dir. Robert Blumenthal and Doug Hertz, 16 min) is a domestic comedy where a woman has lost a condom, perhaps in an intimate place, and it is up to two gay men to find it.
Brian the Gnome Slayer 3 (2006, dir. Brian Tosko Bello and Filip Vanevski, 12 min) The latest installment in a small gay cable film franchise, spoofs Star Wars and Superman with domestic and Martha Steward garden environments. Digital video. I think that the film would do well to add "Dance of the Gnomes" by Franz Liszt in the background.
I did not get to see "The Bill of Happiness" (2006, dir. Zachary Lee) because I was busy as a festival volunteer when it was being shown. I will try to find a DVD.
From 2007 Reel Affirmations 17:
The next four films have this blogger link.
Hitchcocked (2006, Unicycle, David M. Young, 8 min) is a horror spoof that starts with an Internet ad and leads, after ritual undressing, to the famous shower. David Grant Beck and Yuval David appeal to our sense of perfection.
The next three films from a program called "Civil Obedience".
Get Running: Stories from the Campaign Trail, (2007, Victoryfund, dir. Dve O’Brien, Borga Dorter and Samantha Reynolds, 22 min, comprises three interview-bios of openly gay candidates for public office: Jim Roth, Oklahoma City; Virginia Linder, candidate for state supreme court in Oregon; Matt McCoy, in Iowa.
We Belong (2006, qWaves and Current TV) dir. Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, 11 min) examines anti-gay bullying in public schools in rural Pennsylvania.
Courage Doesn’t Ask (2007, Zaydoe / Modern Digital / Spliced Films, 8 min) shows gripping flashbacks of a battle in Iraq from the POV of an amputee getting fitted with a prosthesis. All actors are gay veterans.
The next group of films is at this blogger link.
GLLU Unit (about the DC Metropolitan Police Gay and Lesbian unit).
Offline (Gant, 2007), a fern bar encounter.
Brian the Gnome Slayer 4 (2007, Brian Tosko and Flip Vaneski), the franchise continues.
The First Lesson I Learned (2007, dir. Ian Cook) an elderly gay man recalls humiliation by the teacher in grade school.
House Guest (2007, dir. Michael Chiplock) A straight couple's house guest knocks with a surprise.
Talk to Me (2004, dir. Spencer C. Parker). Identical gay male twins talk.
The Preacher and the Poet (2007, Dean Hamer) recalls Louis Farrakan, against Black gay pride.
My Last Ten Hours With You (2007, dir. Sophie Hyde, 15 min, Closer Productions, Australia) Two gay men have one all night fling before splitting up.
Queer Spawn (2005, dir. Anna Boluda, 30 min, USA/Spain), with a final act at Family Week in Provincetown, MA, examines kids adopted by same-sex couples.
In My Shoes: Stories of Youth and LGBT Parents (2005, Collage, dir. Jen Gilomen) is a similar film with apparently many scenes along the Oregon coast.
Three Summers (2006, "Tre Somre", Super16 / Nordisk, dir. Carlos Augusto de Oliveira, 28 min, Demark, Cinemascope, R) In lowland Denmark, a well-off middle aged man Jorgen (Morten Kirskov) with a shaky marriage meets an articulate teenager Thomas (Simon Munk) who confides, at 14, that he is gay. (That is "last summer"). Then the second summer, the teen talks him into intimacy. The third summer, the teen crashes a social party and demands a parting kiss. The vulnerability of an "average Joe" supposedly heterosexual man will be a shocking idea for some people, and the film is probably more acceptable in Europe than in much of the U.S.
Police Box (2006, dir. Josh Kim, Hong Kong, 8 min)
Solace (dir. Michaeline Babich, USA, 14 min) has an appealing young man hooking up (legally) with Internet chat.
The Manual (dir. Sarah Spillane, 14 min, Australia) has a boy sent away for developmental problems. When he returns, it's not clear what's real. In an early scene he chases a butterfly ("O Go Way Butterfly" of Tiny Tim, perhaps).
Wet Shave ("Die Rasur", 7 min, Germany). A man shows up as a barber shop closes and demands a shave. The short tracks the experience with some little oddities: the barber tests the straight razor on his hairy wrist; some lather falls on the subject's smooth forearm (the audience laughed), and at the end the barber is reaching down beneath his shirt, and the film ends.
Testify (2006, Think! Outside the Box / Clarendon, 12 min) A pastor and a PWA in a hospice have a confrontation.
Parting Words ("Derniers mots", 2006, dir. Joe Balass, Quebec). A guy gets intimate with the ambulance orderly as he goes to his demise, perhaps.
Slideshow (2007, dir. Greg Atlkins, 4 min) is not much more than that.
Miss Popularity (2006, dir. Wayne Jung), 6 min, Germany) is a spoof of 50s sitcoms in a gay context, in grainy black and white.
Le Weekend (2007, Attack, dir. Timothy Smith, UK). A gay film student from France comes to London and meets a friendly "straight" man who plays along for the ride. Somewhat in Dogme style with the student photographing his film as he makes it.
Lonely Child (2007) -- go here.
Reel Affirmations 18 (2008) Blogger
Fabulosity, dir. Don Newcomb, 5 min.
Dolls, dir. Randy Casperson, 10 min
Romeo's Kiss (France), dir. Jullen Eger, 12 min
Something Like That (Brazil), dir. Esmir Filho, 15 min
Neurotica, dir. Nick Wauters (14 min)
Herzhaft ("Lust", Germany), dir. Martin Busker, 15 min, in which a soccer coach is suspected by the mother of 15 year old player of abuse
Sweat (UK), dir. John Lochland, 15 min
Just, dir. David Maurice Gil, 12 min
Mirror Mirror (Australia), dir. John Winter, 10 min
The Red Dress, dir. Barney Cheng, 7 min.
AFI Silverdocs June 17, 2007 program "Shorts 3: You & Me": Blogger review.
I Just Wanted to Be Somebody (2007, dir. Jay Rosenblatt, 10 min) about Anita Bryant and her anti-gay campaign in Miami in 1977.
Monsieur Borges and I (2007, dir. Jasmin Gorden, 22 min, France) about the platonic relationship of professor Jean-Pierre Bernes and ultraist Argentine writer Jorge Louis Borges.
Freeheld (2007, dir. Cynthia Wade, 38 min, USA) about the battle in Ocean County NJ (with the "freeholders") to get domestic partner pension benefits for Stacie Andree when her lover police officer Laurel Hester died of lung cancer. (Also shown in Reel Affirmations 17.)
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell and Gay Arabic Linguists" (2007, dir. Stephen Benjamin, 3 min). Blogger link here.
Wolfe Video Shorts (2006) Blogger link here.
Available Men (2006, dir. David Dean Bottrell)
Straight Boys (2005, dir. Dave O'Brien, USC)
Hello Thanks (2005, dir. Andy Blubaugh)
Tumbleweed Town (1999, dir. Samara Halperin), claymation short
The Underminer (2005, dir. Todd Downing, book by Mike Albo)
Irene Williams: Queen of Lincoln Road (1995, 2004, dir. Eric Smith), filmed in South Beach
Sissy French Fry (2005, dir. J. C. Oliva) a student government race in a most progressive high school.
Also from Apex-DC: Out in Alaska (2006)
Like a Brother ("Comme un frere", Water-Bearer Films, dir. Bernard Alapetite and Cyril Legann, 55 min), link here.
True Love (2004, Waterbearer / Moonspinner, dir. Michael J. Saul, 72 min, UR but normally would be R) An anthology of severn short GLBT films with more interconnectedness than usual for short film anthologies. Blogger discussion. The individual films are:
A Christmas Story
He Was Perfect
A Little Drama
Other Logo Shorts
Mostly Willing ("Plutot d'accord", 2004, dir. Christophe and Stephane Botti, France, 13 min) A telephone survey taker starts converting his assignments in an attempt to pick up a perfect date. Mostly humorous, harmless fun.
Guy 101 (2006, dir. Ian Gouldstone, 8 min) shows what can be done with "computerese" as the film replicates a chat room where a man from Akron, Ohio accounts for a masochistic experience with a hitchhiker on I-76, and a disturbing, ironic twist at the end. The film makes visual images out of computer stuff, like XML code and the "blue screen of death" from Microsoft Windows.
5 Telephone Conversations (2006, dir. Travis Cook, 13 min) John and Korey develop a friendship over the phone in a split screen drama. One of the men is near Kennedy Airport with planes flying over. They challenge each other as to wanting not to be alone. Brian Colbert-Kennedy and Mick De Lint.
Rugburn (2006, dir. Trevor Anderson). A painter gets a call from a collection agency, and does not get read his mini-miranda as required by the FDCPA. OK, the collector is an old boyfriend, right? 12 min.
In the Place of the Dead (2007, dir. Keith Claxton, 12 min). The director has worked with Clive Barker ("Nightbreed"). Here an older gay or bi man (visiting) chases a beauty in Marrakech, Morocco, on a day that all the Muslim boys stay home because of a phantom horror. His own belle turns out to be the monster.
Postmortem (2007, dir. Eldar Rapaport) Troy (Murray Bartlett) meets his ex-lover (Daniel Dugan) for coffee in NYC in an outdoor cafe, when the ex has a new boyfriend. Will they resume their relationship? The do resume cigarette smoking. This setup is very late 70-ish. I know it well.
Where We Began (2007, dir. Marc Saltarelli, 14 min) Two men, both broke, one soused on coke, meet on a Miami park bench and test the waters as to whether than can resume a relationship.
Wingtips (2007, Frameline, dir. Marc Saltarelli, 14 min) A film noir about a closeted gay man obsessed with his wing tips, and a secretive gay world in the McCarthy era that wants to tempt him with women's foot fetishes. It seems to be a play on 50s paranoia, although I don't know if all the metaphors really work. Mostly in black and white. With a wonderful cat named Sheila. Straight-laced Alex Boling plays Hero.
Night Swim (2007, dir. Charles McConnell) A meandering relationship picks up with an excursion and swim at night. Rather abstract.
Hirsute (2007, The Siblings, dir. A. J. Bond, 13 min, Canada). Is this gay sci-fi or gay horror? A young physicist, Kyle. has developed a theoretical time machine with string theory, and encounters his other self, with all his body hair removed (as if by a fraternity prank or "tribunal"). It's not absolutely clear that the two actors are identical (even by voice) but Bond is the only actor credited. His double, using a "twin paradox" has created the time machine, but Kyle would risk his entire existence by trying it out. I'm not sure it all works (I would have actually extended the bedroom scene to make this work had I written it). The concept is intriguing. The movie could be compared, for different reasons, to both Shane Caruth's "Primer" and Carter Smith's "Bugcrush" (which for me really works).
Oedipus-[N+1] ("Oedipe-[N+1]",2003, Fidelite, dir. Eric Rognard, novel by Jean-Jacques Nguyen, 26 min, France). In the future, a young man wakes up finding that, after his passing, he has been downloaded into a cloned body. It turns out his mother wants to make his straight. For this and preceeding film see Blogger discussion.
Out on the Job (2008, Truth, dir. Craig D'Emonde, 43 min) traces a hairstylist in Florida, photographer in NC, and police officer in Montana. The police officer winds up training police in Afghanistan. Blogger.
Raising Teens (2005, MTV/Logo, dir. Samantha Counter, 48 min) 3 sets of gay parents and their teen kids. Blogger.
The Lost Tribe (2007, Pony, dir. Rachel Landers). A gay lesbian ex-Mormon returns to Salt Lake to speak to Affirmation. Blogger.
Gay Siblings (2006, Idea Factory/Logo, dir. Stephen David and Darryl Silver, 45 min).
The Trials of Ted Haggard (HBO, dir. Alexandra Pelosi, 45 min). The defrocked evangelical pastor's story. Blogger.
Parental Instinct: a Film on Gay Parents Through Surrogacy (link) -- a film on gay parents through surrogacy (2006, dir. Murray Nossel, 10 min, UK?) British documentarian Murray Nossel (with a brief introduction by Rose O'Donnell) documents the journey of Mark and Erik, a New York City male couple who have a daughter, Cecilia (in 2000) through a surrogate mother Wen. They travel overseas once, and there is a miscarriage, but the second time they succeed. The film shows the baby in utero through medical terminals. In the last scene the male couple holds the baby between them. The filmmaker says, "family is a collection of human beings who love one another and relate to each other in a particular way." The filmmaker praises the couple for having a family in a hostile political climate in which it cannot get married. There is a short from Greater Boston "Gay Couples Increasingly Turn to Surrogacy" (link) (03:32) with Emily Rooney traces a gay male couple, legally married in Massachusetts, who have a child through a female surrogate in California. The company that provides the surrogacy service is Circle Surrogacy in Boston. They are shown raising him.
Silver Road (2008, Broken Frames, dir. Bill Taylor, Canada, 8 min) In Manitoba, a Canadian farm boy experiences the loss of his best friend going away to college.
Every Other Weekend (2009, Vast, dir. Tim Slade, Australia, 15 min). A separated gay couple deals with being parents. Blogger.
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