Shadows Film FestivalSHORT FILM REVIEWS '05
< < M O R E | M O R E > >


Back to the SHADOWS FILM FEST page • last update 10.Apr.05

back to the top L L G F F   ' 0 5   S H O R T S
Selected short films seen at the BFI's 19th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, Mar-Apr 2005
dugan and bartlettLondon L&G Film Fest Post Mortem
Eldar Rapaport • with Murray Bartlett, Daniel Dugan, Francisco Valera, Jeff Rynkiewicz
04/US 16m 4/5
This beautifully shot film combines a sexy story with an emotional theme that's surprisingly involving. It opens as two ex-boyfriends (Bartlett and Dugan) meet up for coffee to catch up on their lives. Both have moved on, but the old spark revives itself and they can't help flirting shamelessly. Although they resist temptation there and then, a thought lingers in their minds and they just have to meet up again, don't they? The acting is superb--subtle and telling, letting us see the old connections firing back up. In the end the film is also quite raw and real. A superb short. (6.Apr.05)

See also: this short revisited • the feature version AUGUST (2011)

father and daughter Small Town Secrets
Katherine Leggett • with Katherine Leggett, Ellen Leggett, Mark Leggett, Nick Leggett
04/US 7m 3.5/5
This inventive short uses webcam imagery, accompanied by home movies and stills, to explore a Midwestern family's history, as the filmmaker chats online with her parents and brother. It's a bit like eavesdropping on personal conversations, but what they're discussing is fascinating: the fact that all four of them are gay - mother, father, brother and sister - but that they never admitted it to each other. After the parents divorced, both lived secret lives with same-sex partners that not even their children knew about. The ultimate comment here is that the truth wants to get out - and that it will show itself eventually. These people seem fairly balanced about it all now, but you know there's been a lot of pain along the way. And this extremely simple little film really does grab us. (7.Apr.05)
aledo and mateo Carisma
David Planell • with Marta Aledo, Natalia Mateo
03/Spain 10m 3.5/5
This surreal little film has an ingenious gimmick -- two women talking in random words and phrases about all kinds of things, from politics and economics to racism and drugs. It's completely disjointed if you listen to the words (or read the subtitles), but there's another conversation going on here on a subliminal level, which you can hear in the tone of voice the actresses use. Very clever, hilarious and rather nuts. (6.Apr.05)
sutherland and jurd London L&G Film Fest Hitch Cock
Stuart Vauvert • with Matthew Sutherland, Fiona Jurd, Jacqueline Archer, Vincent Simon, Kerry Dawson, Michael Drummond
05/Australia 10m 3/5
This zany homage/spoof has everything from severe camera angles to a soaring Hermann-esque score, including a few swirly effects. It basically throws in every Hitchcock pun imaginable while telling a story of a man (Sutherland) who is helplessly obsessed with the male member during a dinner party thrown by his Princess Grace-like wife (Jurd). This is deeply silly, full of corny jokes and very, very rude! And even though it's complete overkill, it will make you laugh. (6.Apr.05)
willmott Coming Out at Work Is Hard to Do
Kylie Eddy • with Nik Willmott
03/Australia 4m 3/5
This brief short has a hilarious punchline that I'm not going to spoil here. It's a monolog by a young woman (Willmott) talking about how she travelled to Sydney for Mardi Gras, then lived in paranoia that she might appear in press coverage her work colleagues back home in Melbourne might see. Colourful and lively, this is a very simple production -- a woman with two costumes (one sedate, one drenched in glitter) in front of a blank wall. But the filmmaker edits it energetically and keeps it moving, getting to the hilarious and unexpected final point at exactly the right moment. (6.Apr.05)
burns Asswax
Dave Burns • with Dave Burns
04/US 6m 3/5
This feels like an outtake from Jackass in which filmmaker Burns simply documents himself having his butt waxed. It's just him, the waxer guy and two camera men in the tiny room -- laughing and cheering and, in Burns' case, yelping as wax strips are applied and then loudly torn off. It looks like pure agony, and it's also far more detailed than non-waxers can imagine. Not easy to watch, but like Jackass you can't help but laugh. (6.Apr.05)
whisner and pakzad London L&G Film Fest Ryan's Life
Nick Wauters • with Alex Pakzad, Marc Imme, Kyle Whisner, Emily Coddington, Meghann Bivens, Matt Laughery, Lois McKinney, Gina Moore, Perry Smith
04/US 24m 3.5/5
This sit-com length short is a cute coming out tale about a 16-year-old (Pakzad) trying to figure out whether or not he's gay. It's party done as a video diary with Ryan talking straight to camera, intercut with scenes with his best friends (Whisner and Coddington), brother and sister (Laughery and Moore), mother and grandmother (Smith and McKinney) and the cute shop clerk (Imme) who -- shock horror! -- invites him out for coffee. Loosely based on the director's own experiences, the film has the feel of a comedy pilot, and indeed that's what it originally was. But it's far too obvious on every front to really work. The script is overwritten and weighed down with cliches; the acting is over-the-top and corny. There's a terrific story at the core, along with some real truths that deserve to be told. But in order to really hit the mark, it needs to be told with a much lighter touch. (6.Apr.05)
summertime Summertime
Walter Riccarelli
04/Italy 6m 2.5/5
To the strains of Summertime from Porgy & Bess, we simply watch stolen footage of workmen on building sites -ó shirtless and muscly. It's utterly pointless, beyond a celebration of the fact that warm weather urges fit men to take off their clothes in public, so we can enjoy the view. This ode to masculinity seems overlong and rather simplistic. But it's accompanied by a very nice piece of music -- apparently the original recording. And at least the filmmaker avoids showing us the reality: that most guys who remove their shirts in the summertime really shouldn't. (6.Apr.05)
willie's drive thru Drive Thru
Jed Bell • voices Stanley Cross, Leon Acord
04/US 4m 2/5
Apparently animated on a home computer using a very basic paint programme, this extremely colourful cartoon has a simple gag: a drive thru female-to-male sex change service. There's a menu with all the options and a helpful host to explain it all. But the film isn't very clever. It's far too awkward and goofy, even though it's clearly trying to make some sort of comment on the topic. Most of it feels like a perplexing inside joke -- what's the little chirping birdie all about anyway? And the animation is so cheesy that it makes South Park look like Monet. (6.Apr.05)
kahn London L&G Film Fest Let the Good Times Roll
Harry Dodge • scr Stanya Kahn • with Stanya Kahn
04/US 16m 2.5/5
There's a Blair Witch veritÈ thing going on here, as we cut back and forth between two sequences, both shot on home video by someone we never see. One half is out in the desert, where wind nearly obscures the sound and Kahn is trying to figure out where she needs to be for something or other. "Is this where the shuttles land?" she keeps asking as she wanders around lost. The other half is Kahn in a room talking to camera, sort of narrating a story but constantly off on tangents about Kurt Cobain and the fact that April is the biggest month for suicides -- a rambling stream of consciousness that takes in various types of sex, drugs and even alien probing. It's very oddly edited back and forth, and it's extremely elusive until the very end. But the stories she tells are quite funny, and there's something bizarrely engaging about it all. (6.Apr.05)
send your review to Shadows...
back to the top

< < M O R E | M O R E > >

© 2005 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall