Reel Affirmations 2009
Review by Randy Shulman
Rating: (3 out of 5)
Tuesday, 10/20/2009, 5:00 PM
Shorts presentation, $0 at Shakespeare Theatre’s Harman Center for the Arts
THESE FOUR FILMS are disparate in tone, but the quality remains fairly consistent throughout. Things kick off with John Sobrack’s Boycrazy (), an upbeat musical about a young man looking for love. He finds it in a bathroom, but it’s far more innocent than it sounds. The score, sung with bright, Broadway-style vibrancy by an able cast, is a tad too sugary, and the choreography is just this side of inept, but the film is nothing if not ambitious. Still, it’s hard to resist Boycrazy‘s perky joy.
It’s followed by Dish (), a somewhat clunky story of Israel, a young gay Latino boy following his own path without succumbing to the pressure of his peers. The narrative ambles too much and the 15-minute running time feels padded out, but the payoff carries a strong, affirming message.
In Cowboy (), a German businessman pulls over to take a look at some run-down rural property with development potential and meets a solitary young farmhand who is both lithe and silent. The businessman, apparently unaware that the hills have eyes, that you never stop at the last house on the left, and that someone is always watching, gets to know Cowboy very well just before the whole thing turns into a weird gay German version of Children of the Corn. Perplexing, to say the least.
The program’s centerpiece is James (), in which a young gay Irish boy struggling with his sexuality is driven by circumstance and the desire for answers into a potentially dangerous situation. Magnificently directed by Connor Clements, the film is one of those rare, perfect shorts, with strong character development, a strong narrative flow, subtle images that tell you all you need to know about a character, and an ending that punches you in the gut, hard and without a shred of remorse.