Metro Weekly

Best of the Fest

Reel Affirmations 2008

Review by Randy Shulman

Rating: starstarstar (3 out of 5)
Sunday, 10/19/2008, 9:15 PM
Shorts presentation, $10 at Lincoln Theatre

THE REEL AFFIRMATIONS Guide claims that these are the ”best shorts — from all over the world — that our programming committee could find.”

The programming committee needs to search a little harder.

A few are sterling, but the rest aren’t deserving of being anywhere near the word ”best.”

The program opens promisingly with Babysitting Andy (triangletriangletriangletriangletriangle), a Canadian short full of surprise reveals. At the crux is a sugar-impacted 9-year-old hellion (Tatum Knight) who torments her gay uncle and his boyfriend in an attempt to get them to define the term ”fellatio.” The comedy takes an unexpected turn for the sweet that doesn’t at all seem forced and is the perfect capper to its brief 10-minute running time.

Kristy (triangle) is the story of a tomboy, a recurrent theme in this year’s shorts, who staunchly refuses to dress like a girl. All I can say is: Bully for her.

It’s followed by Café com Leite (triangletriangletriangletriangletriangle), an exceptionally well-made, bittersweet drama imparted simply and effectively by director Daniel Riberiro. Two men find their relationship under tremendous strain when tragedy strikes and the younger brother of one intrudes on their plans. Captivating, gentle, and emotionally rewarding.

Congratulations, Daisy Graham (triangletriangletriangle) has its good points, but the movie, about an ailing-yet-tough lesbian forced to deal with her dementia-stricken partner, is too obtuse for its own good.

Cowboy Forever (triangletriangletriangletriangletriangle) is the major reason to attend this program. A Brazilian short about a cattle driver who comes to terms with his sexuality, it is utterly mesmerizing. Told in simple yet eloquent strokes, the 26-minute stunner warrants a screening perch all its own.

No Bikini (triangletriangletriangle) continues the tomboy trend, but with an endearing and humorous twist, as a young girl eschews her bikini top and passes for a boy in swim class. Look Again (triangle) deals with the immigration issue facing many bi-national GLBT couples. While director Jennifer Lin’s approach appears to be a creative way to deal with the issue, the resulting short is too blah to make even a lasting impression. F to M (triangle) might have been good if it weren’t absolutely impossible to watch. The problem is not in the telling — a first-hand account of a female-to-male sex change — but in the mechanism: constantly changing still photos accompanined by voiceover recollections of the protagonist, a French man. The problem arises with the subtitles, which fire by so quickly, it’s tough to read them and look at the photographs. Hence, the intended effect of the film — which might have been poignant and meaningful — is completely lost. Unless, of course, you happen to speak French.

The program concludes with A Marriage Like No Other (triangletriangle), a cute throwaway about neighboring couples who don’t quite see eye-to-eye.

Best of the Fest
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