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Review by Sean Bugg
Rating: (4 out of 5)
Tuesday, 10/18/2011, 9:00 PM
Shorts presentation, $12 at West End Cinema
ONE OF THE wonderful things about the return of Reel Affirmations is the return of the Men’s Shorts program, where you can catch some of the most creative and entertaining moments in gay film. Unlike some past festivals, this 20th edition is of consistent quality, although it seems to suffer a bit from bipolar disorder.
On the happy side is Couples Therapy (), where a not-particularly-bubbly man is increasingly perturbed with his boyfriend’s incessant retelling of the same joke about Twitter, and takes the issue to their counselor: ”You’re always on, and it’s never off.” ”I’m effervescent! I’ve been told.” It’s a quick, tight, and laugh-out-loud story that will feel familiar to anyone who’s been in a mixed introvert/extrovert relationship.
On the morose side is A Day in the Country (), which opens with a Scandinavian man filming his lover being topped by a man role-playing a doctor (complete with external cum shot, for those keeping track). The amateur filmmaker doesn’t want to pay a cab for their guest to return to the city, so it looks to be a three-way kind of evening. But see-sawing jealousy ultimately means different. Also opening with anal sex is Regrets (), the title of which is a hint. Also a hint: a trick that looks like a creepier version of Dexter with 15 dead cell phones in his bedroom dresser. Like the opening sex, not subtle.
The Sergeant () in question is a Serbian military veteran having an internet hook-up with a nervous 20 year old. You know that awkward hookup you had once where the guy obviously had some issues you couldn’t quite figure out but that set all your alarms screaming? Yeah, that’s this one. Squared. Requited () is a reasonably interesting story of a gay man torn between settling the issues of his unrequited high school love and the current love staring him in the face. Of course, if he’d stop talking for a minute he might figure out the right course of action. But he can’t shut up. Overall, it’s kind of like listening to Morrissey.
Finally, if the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer makes you squeal, then you’ll be singing a Swedish chorus for Baldguy (). If a punchline elaborately constructed around a frankly looks-ist denouement makes you fume, you’ll sing once the credits roll.
Also playing, but unavailable for review: Curious Thing and Gently.