JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Mr. Angel; Sordid Confessions; Undressing Israel (Directors: Dan Hunt, Emmerson Collins, Michael Lucas) - June 12, 2015

Mr. Angel; Sordid Confessions; Undressing Israel

4.5 4.5

More quick takes from around the globe

Mr. Angel
Dan Hunt (2013)
69 min. Four and one half stars

Man with a pussy

How refreshing to have a transgender biopic that is so full of hope, honesty and humour.

Buck Angel’s transition from tomboy to male with a vagina is a fascinating study of how the “different” (only to some, well, OK, probably most when you drill down below the surface) amongst us can be such a perilous journey where so many choose to end their precious lives rather than become who they really are.

Especially helpful for families going through similar challenges is Buck’s unstinting recollections of his father (e.g., crossing the border of discipline to beating) and then his—years later—dad’s honest remorse.

Buck’s last comment ought to become the mantra for all of those who—for whatever reason—are not comfortable in their own skins: “I am who I am whether you like it or not.”

The secondary issues such as addiction, pornography as sex ed (or not) and building a life on gratitude rather than destroying it with anger, add to the overall richness of the subject matter. Here’s hoping that those who need to see this production most will have an opportunity to do so. JWR

Production photo

Sordid Confessions
Emmerson Collins (2012)
118 min. Three and one half stars

Judge not, that ye be not judged

Captured live at The Rose Room (“the Southwest’s premier show bar for gender illusion”), proudly gay funny man Del Shores more than lived up to his self-described billing: “dirty, standup that’s politically wrong.”

The extended set is structured around various confessions, starting with a fetish for midgets (where the sexual imagery of a little person going up instead of down on a partner of height drew many laughs) through to a decidedly different version of The Vagina Monologues.

Those who enjoy cutups of the seemingly different amongst us (including Bristol Palin and fat homeless people) will have a hoot. At first, using on-stage books (The Bible and Not Afraid of My Life: My Journey so Far) added a welcome bit of visual variety, but soon became overdone as Shores spent an inordinate amount of sketch time reading letters to and from various correspondents. That resulted in much of the performance feeling like a lecture rather than comedic storytelling that takes no prisoners.

The waffles gag was also too close to Monty Python’s classic “Cheese Shop” routine for original comfort (and, not surprisingly, paled in comparison).

As Shores himself reveals (while researching his routines on the Internet), being stoned or drunk will probably increase the yuk-count commensurately. JWR

Production photo

Undressing Israel: Gay men in the Promised Land
Michael Lucas (2012)
46 min. Three stars

Too happily ever after

Able porn star Lucas’ portrait of gay life for men in Israel—to the uninitiated—comes across like lavender Mecca. Everybody’s happy, the participants buff and well-coiffed, the government is onside sporting openly gay members and the annual pride parade comes up roses.

The ability to find surrogate mothers (albeit out of the country) and legally raise children brings a further wave of happiness and joy to the screen. And to hear the wide assortment of talking heads interspersed with the “action,” Tel Aviv is the queer nightclub capital of the world. It’s pretty much the sole venue of the film, giving the production more of a singular travelogue feel than report card on the state of homosexual males in a state that is no stranger to conflicts based on ideologies beyond sexuality.

Topping it off, is an international wedding (Russian Andrey and Moroccan Rafi) performed by a “raffa (female rabbi, we learn). Again there’s nothing but bliss in the air in this apparently perfect world for Friends of Dorothy. What a pity that Israel has yet to recognize same-sex marriage, a fact—like many others—that never found its way into the mix. JWR

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