Metro Weekly

Short But Sweet: Mixed Documentary Films

Reel Affirmations 2003

Rating: starstarstarstar (4 out of 5)
[Critic’s Pick!]

Saturday, 10/18/2003, 3:30 PM
Shorts presentation, $9 at Lincoln Theatre

THIS COLLECTION of four documentary shorts unfortunately starts off with a thud — Gay Cops: Pride Behind the Badge (), which looks at the trials and tribulations of being an out gay police officer. It’s only noteworthy aspect is the inclusion of our own Brett Parsons in the mix, otherwise this 27-minute doldrum is a wasted opportunity.

Things get markedly better with Margaret Stratton’s Miracle (), a whimsical, Michael Moore-like examination of the phenomenon of the Virgin Mary in an attempt to “revisit the strange insanity that was my Catholic childhood.” The movie is witty, smart, and sassily irreverent toward its holy subject matter. Stratton takes her time tying in the gay theme, but it’s there in a significant way.

Novela, Novela () is the best of the bunch, a look inside the Nicaraguan television series Sexto Sentido, which is the first program of its type to include the taboo subject of gay and lesbian characters. Directed with clarity by Liz Miller, Novela, Novela is a testament to people who are striving to utilize the mass media to instigate social change in a politically hostile climate.

Finally there’s No Dumb Questions (), in which a man’s move into full transgendered state is viewed through the eyes of his three young nieces, aged six through eleven. It’s a disarmingly honest look at how such a change can impact even the youngest mind (and in fact it’s the youngest who is the most accepting of her uncle’s switch to aunt, exuberantly proclaiming that “maybe he’ll do some girl stuff with me, like Barbies”). What the film lacks in production value, it makes up for in tremendous heart and soul.

Short But Sweet: Mixed Documentary Films
Randy Shulman is Metro Weekly's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. He can be reached at

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