Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fun in Girls Shorts (2011)

Fun in Girls Shorts” (shorts program)
Sat. 6/18, 1:30p @ Castro, FUNG18C
Sun. 6/26, 11:30a @ Castro, FUNG26C
Elisa Dei and Heather Salm in Cyclicity

Flyers, dir. Laura Terruso, 2011 USA, 3 min. (not reviewed)
Cyclicity, dir. Jason Knade, 2011 USA, 11 min. 
Poker Face, dir. Becky Lane, 2011 USA, 14 min. 
Nice Shirt, dir. Erik Gernand, 2011 USA, 5 min. 
L.U.G.S., dir. Sarah Rotella, 2010 Canada, 14 min. 
Slow Burn, dir. Christine Chew, 2011 Canada, 14 min. 
Lust Life, dir. Lynda Tarryk, 2010 USA, 9 min. 
Out of Bounds, dir. Nicholas Ybarra, 2010 USA, 18 min. 

[Flyers was not available for review prior to the festival screening.]

In Cyclicity, two lesbians use a ride on a ferris wheel as a metaphor for their hypothetical relationship, from first meeting to pinnacle to denouement and the end of the ride, all in about ten minutes. The conceit of the ferris wheel ride works well as a frame for the story. Cute, sweet, emotionally connected. Highly recommended.
What secrets lie behind that Poker Face?

In Poker Face, Janet (Eliza VanCort, on the left) has her girlfriends over for poker night, but a phone call with news of her father’s death stirs the pot, bringing forth unexpected revelations and unforeseen reactions. In particular, Janet’s best friend Molly (Erica Steinhagen) feels betrayed that Janet blurted out her secret to the whole group instead of confiding in her first. Pretty well done overall, but the emotions don’t quite ring true. Recommended.

Brenda (Jenny Hagen, left) and
Molly (Abby McEnany) in Nice Shirt
“Since when has breaking up ever kept two people from being friends?” Brenda and Molly were a couple; they’ve broken up, but clearly have some issues left to resolve — by way of slogans on custom t-shirts, of course. Filled with tongue-in-cheek humor, sometimes giving new meaning to “wearing your heart on your sleeve,” cute and fun. Recommended.


L.U.G.S is a story of some lesbian college students, coming to terms with monogamy and wild hookups, with the issue coming to a head around a party for the beginning of the new school year. How will the main characters balance the allure of this year’s new girls with the stability of established relationships? Admittedly, I’m not exactly the target audience, but I found the story and characters rather underwhelming. Not bad.

Wild west ink-slingers in Slow Burn
Slow Burn answers the question that has preoccupied philosophers for millennia: What if the 19th-century North American frontier had been populated by lesbians more interested in tattoos and espresso than in cattle rustlers and gold in them thar hills? The production values are very good on all the technical elements, but to say the story is weird is beyond understatement. I’m not into tattoos or coffee at all, although the old-fashioned mechanical espresso press was magnificent, with Ravel’s Bolero the perfect accompaniment for its adoration. Fun for a niche audience, but much too quirky to recommend more broadly.

Where better than Paris to find Lust Life?
“Il y a cette toute petite seconde de parfaîte harmonie, entre le fond de la nuit et le lever du jour, où toute Paris s’arrête. Il y a aussi ce moment si rare entre ce qui n’est plus et ce qui aurait pu être.” In English, “There is a split second of perfect harmony, between the dead of night and the breaking dawn, when all of Paris stops. There is also that rare moment between what was and what could be.” In Lust Life, two women are reminiscing about their past relationship and how it went wrong. One tells the other she needs to reawaken her lust for life, but, by fortunate coincidence, she’s in Paris. A beautifully evocative poetic reverie. Highly recommended.

Out of Bounds
Out of Bounds is the story of Rose (Charity Johnston), who is about to head off to grad school, leaving her parents’ house and moving in with Samantha (Danielle Nelson), but Rose’s mom Irene (Leigh Hill) doesn’t know that she’s a lesbian. Samantha, an activist type who works in a record store (as in vinyl LPs!), chafes at Rose’s reluc­tance to address the issue head-on, but Irene is an über-bitch who is still trying to hook Rose up with eligible bachelors, and the prospects of her becoming a PFLAG mom look dim. The characters of the mother and the ersatz boyfriend especially are broadly drawn caricatures, and the plot feels formulaic. Not bad.

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