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FOR THE LOVE OF GOD |
HOLY MARY PRAY FOR US!|
LLOYD NECK | THE NAKED BOY BUSINESS VOL 1
ONE OR TWO THINGS I DON'T KNOW ABOUT HIM | SING ME SPANISH TECHNO | STEAM
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last update 5.Oct.08
See also: SHADOWS FILM FESTIVAL
|R E V I E W S B Y R I C H C L I N E|
more shorts from|
the BFI's 22nd London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
It's a bit slight and silly, but there's a goofy charm that keeps us chuckling. After a one-night stand, Wayne (Roy) starts having strange cravings and gains rather a lot of weight around the middle. A visit to the doctor (Reza) confirms that he's pregnant, and his pal Lisa (Corrao) sticks by his side. Although he's alarmed, and maybe a bit pleased, to find that his new pudginess is attracting a completely different kind of man. He also wonders if he should get in touch with the other father (Gomes). Frankly, it's a pretty simplistic premise, and writer-director Karger doesn't really go anywhere with it. But it's very nicely shot, the cast is terrific and it's pretty good fun while it lasts. It would probably make an excellent feature -- as long as the filmmaker really had the nerve to get into the premise and dig out some sharper comedy in the rather complicated situations.
dir-scr Sidney Karger|
with Carter Roy, Katina Corrao, Robert Gomes, Ali Reza
For the Love of God |
Fiendishly original and hilariously shocking, this stop-motion animated short is pure magic -- expertly written, shot and edited, with a terrific vocal cast and a fearless approach that keeps us guessing what will happen next. It's about Graham (voiced by Coogan), who lives like a prisoner above a Christian bookshop run by his controlling mother (Davis). His only company is their pet Jackdaw (McKellen), who constantly taunts him to follow his inner urges. The problem is that Graham is obsessed with the idea of God as a Michelangelo painting. That is, naked, with rippling muscles, painted on his bedroom ceiling like a profane Sistine Chapel. But this unholy obsession is driving both him and his mother crazy, for very different reasons. An astonishing attention to detail makes this film a feast for the eyes, even as the story continually surprises us by sending us in directions we, frankly, would rather not go. The stop-motion figures look like they're made of wax, which gives them an iridescent, human quality despite their cartoonish shapes. And the sets are brilliantly designed to keep us gazing into every corner to find telling information about the characters. The result is both vivid and lurid, in every concievable way, right up to the shocking, heavenly finale. Outrageous.
dir Joe Tucker; scr Joe Tucker, Raphael Warner|
voices Steve Coogan, Ian McKellen, Julia Davis
Holy Mary Pray for Us! |
Sancta Maria Ora pro Nobis
Eight minutes is rather long for a montage sequence that seems like an ode to the various forms of the earth mother, from St Mary herself to drag queens, Indian lady boys and women from various cultures and situations, filmed in London and Venice. There's a certain lyricism to it all, but there's no coherence or progression at all. It's just a random collection of clips and images, stirring in church iconography, as well as paintings from various religious traditions -- heavy on Catholocism, and there's also Hindu and Buddhism, plus skies and clouds. It's all so random that it leaves us wondering what the point is.
dir Hazuan Hashim, Phil Maxwell|
with Mavin Khoo, Dockyard Doris
A beautifully shot and edited slice of nostalgia, this short is full of unspoken desires and sparky interaction. Set in an area of Long Island called Lloyd Neck, it centres on Taylor (Davies), a moody teen with a bratty little sister, Alex (Goldbach). One day he's going out with his friend Jesse (Dare) to shoot some photographs. Alex is sure something is up between her brother and Jesse, so talks her way into going along for the day, pointedly leaving them alone to spy on them. She clearly has a crush on Jesse, but Jesse likes Taylor. With a subtle, suggestive style, the film feels like it's set in Gus Van Sant's distinctive teen world: realistic, smart, sensual and somewhat evasive. It also looks terrific, as filmmaker Campbell clearly has a photographer's eye himself, shooting images with a lush attention to light and colour, even as he catches the bristling humour and insecurity of the characters. It's the kind of short that gets under your skin.
dir-scr Benedict Campbell|
with Brian Dare, Aaron Michael Davies, Carina Goldbach
The Naked-Boy Business, Vol 1 |
This documentary short mixes amusing doorstep-style interviews with iconic footage of sexualised men to examine attitudes toward male sexuality in a surprisingly entertaining way. The best bits are with interviewer Sarah Haasis, who hits the street talking to men about who they find sexier: Britney, Beyonce or Pammy. But her next question, asking them to choose between Usher and LL Cool J, causes them to squirm uncomfortably, revealing a shallow masculinity in which they're not allowed to even show a glimmer of interest in the same sex, even though it's clearly there. It gets increasingly uncomfortable as she asks them if they ever check guys out, and then if they think they're hot. "I don't look at guys like that," one man says quickly, clearly lying. Filmmaker Hereford gratuitously overlays this with images of naked or near-naked men, including clips and stills of the notorious Peter Berlin, as well as scenes shot and narrated by him. Meanwhile, Haasis is disarming and absolutely hilarious in the role, and what she unearths is fascinating.
dir-scr Andre Hereford|
with Sarah Haasis, Peter Berlin
Sing Me Spanish Techno |
This musical short tells a terrific story that leaves us with a big smile on our faces. Set in a sleepy bar, a drag queen gets up to deliver an outrageous over-glam performance, lipsinging to the New Pornographer's song. She finally gives up, since there's no reaction from the handful of people present, and chats up a guy at the bar, while the song continues to play in the background. They leave together, but from here the story takes a hiarious twist. Shot in lush, lurid colours like a TV ad (or a big-budget music video), the song and the story go together so well that we can't help but love this cute, funny and classic musical bit of fluff.
dir Michael Palmieri|
music The New Pornographers
Sometimes the best shorts involve a simple set-up followed by a witty punchline, and that's exactly what this is, as we watch a sweaty, naked hunk getting ready to party. Only what we think we see might not actually be what's happening. With full-on production values and a rather outrageously fit man in the centre of the screen, filmmaker Rea is clearly having fun with the audience, teasing us with innuendo and expectations and overlaying the image with ponderous quotes from the likes of Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud and, erm, Meryl Streep. And the final reveal is pretty hilarious.
dir-scr Damien Rea|
|R E V I E W S B Y R I C H C L I N E|
|shorts from the 16th Raindance Film Festival in Oct 2008...|
One or Two Things I Dont Know About Him|
Swirly and evocative, this short film tries to get into the head of a guy who's grieving the end of a relationship. Sitting on a park bench, he imagines his ex there as he finally says what he needs to say. Meanwhile, the images flicker back to fantasy flashbacks packed with aching glances and heavily choreographed kisses. The problem is that the monolog is weighted like a performance art piece or maybe an amateur reader theatre - arch and dry and so unnatural that we can barely even listen to it, let alone feel anything. This over-serious, indulgent approach extends to the charged musical score, odd sound mix and corny costumes, and even the way the characters stare blankly off screen. As we wait for them to burst out laughing at the pretentiousness of it all, there's a sudden black and white clip that actually conveys a stunning sense of real internal turmoil. At least this feels wrenchingly real.
dir-scr Maurizio Von Trapp|
with Pedro Reichert, James Nield
See also: SHADOWS FILM FESTIVAL
© 2008 by Rich Cline, Shadows
on the Wall