Reel Affirmations 2005
Comme un Frere
Review by Randy Shulman
Rating: (3 out of 5)
Sunday, 10/16/2005, 6:00 PM
Shorts presentation, $9 at Cecile Goldman Theater at the DCJCC
French with English subtitles.
IT HELPS TO KNOW going into the French mini-feature Like A Brother that much of the story of Zack (nee Sebastien), who yearns for the tender touch of his best friend — the dreamy, dark-haired Romaine — but leaves his small town of La Baule for the bright lights of Paris in search of a gayer life, is told in flashback. (Without that knowledge, I guarantee you’ll spend the first half hour completely disoriented, as though you’re watching a French version of Memento.) The film is essentially a pantheon to Sebastien and Romaine, as they lounge about, touching and embracing each other like melancholy, gloomy-doomy adolescents.
The film has one troubling sex scene involving anal sex without the requisite ”Stop and Get a Condom” shot. Other than that, it’s pretty inoffensive stuff, steamy in that French way, but blasé in its endgame. You have to give it credit, however, for having the courage to conclude on an ambiguous note. It doesn’t so much end as stop. Maybe they ran out of production funds.
It’s paired with Hollywood by Accident (), a fetching, stylized short about a boy who is mistaken for a girl all his life and then becomes an actual female when a drunken doctor mistakes his scheduled appendix surgery for a sexual reassignment. Funny but dumb.
The best of the three films in this program — and the one worth sitting through it all for — is a 14-minute charmer called Mostly Willing (), in which a shy survey taker (Gregoire Hittner) becomes infatuated with one of his subjects (Xavier Lafitte) and courts him in a rather unusual manner. As befitting a great short film, it’s got a terrific final minute, and something of a revelation in Hittner, who gives a supreme performance.