Reel Affirmations 2003
Review by Nancy Legato
Rating: (5 out of 5) [Critic’s Pick!]
Monday, 10/20/2003, 9:00 PM
Shorts presentation, $9 at Cecile Goldman Theater at the DCJCC
THIS BATCH of women’s shorts includes not only a bunch of happy endings but some amusing ways to get there. For example, Lorene Machado’s Starcrossed () presents Sophie (Eva Buiges), an amiable yet curmudgeonly journalist who decides it’s time to toss her cynicism to the wind in order to pursue the lovely Ginger (Kari Camelio). To do so, however, she’ll need to convince her astrologically obsessed love interest to ignore the fact that their signs are incompatible. Fortunately, Sophie gets the perfect opportunity to change Ginger’s mind, via her alter ego Madame Star. Of course this scheme could backfire, in any number of ways, but the fun’s all in the risk, isn’t it?
Petra Volpe contributes her paean to urban teen rebellion and falling in love, Binge Babies at the Truck Stop (). Here an abrasive beginning ultimately yields to an endearingly sweet vision as two teenagers momentarily escape the banal attack-counterattack of multi-generational feuding with one girl’s father and make their way to a bucolic tryst in the woods behind a highway truck stop. It’s down and dirty at times, but Binge Babies does have its moments, including a surprising ability to shift from the gritty glam of genuinely screwed up teen identity and relationships to a sudden, sweet innocence.
On the other side of teen angst lies Giovanna Chesler’s Beauteous (), providing a strong dose of Long Island parody. Donatella (Kirsten Finkes) is one confused prom queen nominee: no longer content with her beauty queen tiaras or her hairy-chested boyfriend, she decides to join her school’s Christian youth group and become a born-again virgin on the eve of her high school. She also wants to kiss a girl from her English class, but she’s quick to pick up on the idea that not everyone will be happy about her new lifestyle choices. Chief among these critics will be her mother (played appropriate over the top by Perry Smith). Beauteous is meant to be cute and funny, and it is. It also derives some good moments from poetry by Glori Simmons that perfectly captures teen longing to be someone else, somewhere else, and in the arms of your first love.
With Nathatlie (), director Diana Knezevik rounds out the angst as the somewhat mysterious, definitely attractive title character tempts a vampy lesbian cabaret singer to give up her non-monogamous lifestyle and give in to love. Will the singer throw out her jar of extra toothbrushes? Will Nathalie reveal her secret identity? Will lesbians ever stop falling for unavailable women? Date this, and find out.