Monday, June 30, 2014

Shadows & Secrets (shorts program)

Shadows & Secrets” (shorts program)
  • An Exchange, dir. Bryce Woodworth, USA, 2013, 13 min.
  • Dawn, dir. Leon Le, USA, 2012, 10 min.
  • Jason’s Dad, dir. Matthew Campea, Canada, 2013, 13 min.
  • Nomansland, dir. Karsten Geisnæs, Denmark, 2013, 35 min., in Danish with English subtitles
  • OVO, dir. Alban Sapin, France, 2012, 18 min., in French with English subtitles
Friday, June 20, 1:15 pm, Castro Theatre

An Exchange
In An Exchange, a conservative “family values” kind of guy hires a masseur to come to his hotel room, but he wants more than just a massage, but with more than a little twist on the usual “happy ending.” It’s pretty well done, worth seeing. RECOMMENDED.

(Note: in pre-production, and in the Kickstarter fundraising campaign for the film, the working title was Venus in Furs.)

IMDb page

Dawn is the story of a black man, Tye (Scott Manuel Johnson) and an Asian man, Ken (Jeff Manabat, a.k.a. Trixie of the Kinsey Sicks) who meet in the subway, where Tye feels that Ken looked at him with a whiff of racism. Tye follows Ken above ground and confronts him, but it emerges that Ken is actually Tye’s younger brother’s lover. The whole second encounter just seemed off kilter, with both of the men coming off as flippant in a situation that should have been tense with danger in the air. It just didn’t make sense to me that any of the characters would handle the situation the way they did. Not recommended.

IMDb page

Jason’s Dad
In Jason’s Dad, Jason (Brendan Nasr) is a young man whose father has just completed suicide. As Jason begins the task of sifting through his father’s belongings, he finds out that Dad was having an affair, so he decides to confront “the other woman,” arranging to meet up with her at a cafe. Of course, it isn’t a woman who shows up, leaving Jason with yet more of Dad’s secrets to assimilate as he deals with his grief. Pretty well done, Recommended.

IMDb page

OVO is set in a dystopian near future in an unspecified country where fascists have taken over the government and scapegoated the usual minorities: Jews, immigrants, and homosexuals. The main characters have to decide whether to flee the country, stay and fight, or stay and hide. The name of the film comes from the fascist party, the Organisation des Valeurs Occidentales, or Organization for Western Values, inspired by France’s Front National but with facets recognizable in many other countries, including the United States. It’s a well-crafted political thriller, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

IMDb pageFacebook page (in French) •

Nomansland is the story of Christian, a young man grieving the death of his ex-lover, whose family blames Christian for their son’s homosexuality, for his HIV, and probably for his suicide. The parents shut Christian out completely; the lover’s sister is somewhat sympathetic, but she is trapped between loyalty to her dead brother and loyalty to her parents. Christian dives into the cruisy Copenhagen underground scene, hits the nose candy, but finally decides to show up at his friend’s funeral, whether the parents approve or not. It’s a gritty, emotionally powerful film. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

IMDb page • Trailer (Vimeo) • Facebook page

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