JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Palm Springs International ShortFest 2015 - The GAY!LA (Directors: Jonathan Wysocki, François Chang, Nicholas Citton, Tony Radevski, Bjarke de Koning, Kaleb McKenna, Nate Clark) - June 20, 2015

Palm Springs International ShortFest 2015 - The GAY!LA

4.5 4.5

Reviewed at the 2015 Palm Springs International Shortfest
The GAY!LA: Out—and Definitely Out There

Everything’s coming up lavender with this set of shorts.

Le Pardonné (The Forgiven)
François Chang
16 min. Four and one half stars

Already known in these pages for Bad Romance (cross-reference below), Chang demonstrates his mastery of the short form with this study of three men who are unwittingly brought together.

At the centre of everything is Henri (Simon Frenay) and his inability to tell the truth. He won’t come out to his family (and importantly staying in his parents’ hotel), he won’t tell his one-month fling, Clément (François le Mao), that he means nothing more than a few rolls in the hay and he doesn’t have the guts to come clean with a last-night-in-Paris trick (Raphaël Caraty). The latter’s character is the only of the three that lacks credibility: having endured “awkward” moments before, and being the stronger of the two, it is inconceivable that he would remain silent—much less in the room—while Henri and Clément try to work things out separated by a door (the use of the door rekindles a most inventive door-as-technique short from Enfiladecross-reference below).

The use of split screens—at times triple, simultaneous views—works exceptionally well, especially when the last-night stand enters Henri’s lair of duplicity.

But the real magic comes in the last few frames where silent comeuppance confirms just who the wisest man, in this unexpected threesome, actually is. JWR

The Future Perfect
Nicolas Citton
11 min. Four stars

Citton has cobbled together a film that purposely asks more questions than it answers, not least of which is the wisdom of sacrificing one young life for the greater good—the greater good that can be seen 150 years in the past and—by letting a certain event occur—dramatically change outcomes far, far down the road.

Perhaps the most apt line (then, now and a million tomorrows away) is “History belongs to those with the money to change it.”

Superb work from Robert Baker as Agent Hardesty and Zachary Quinto as Greenwood. The lyrics from the closing song, “You are who you say who you are” succinctly sum up the production. JWR

Tony Radevski
5 min. Four stars

Bathroom sex—glory hole style—sets the premise for this brief animation from Down Under. But rather than an anonymous blow job as is the norm, the stalls become a confessional booth for both men. Secrets are revealed in an open and honest way that stands in stark contrast with “how ‘bout right now” and the devilish excitement of having sex in a public place. JWR

Den Sidste Pige (The Last Girl)
Bjarke de Koning
13 min. Three and one half stars

When is the best time to tell your own truth? For the lead (Christian Vincent Jung) his moment comes after a love-filled trip with Jesper (Lars Hjøllund) and back into the arms of unsuspecting lover (Mette Alvang).

Tellingly, a final kiss before heading back to hetero home life also elicits the comment, “I hope my honesty hasn’t scared you off” from the confused man to Jesper.

Once admitting to his oblivious girlfriend that “I’m gay,” how will the world change? Sadly, her reaction seems to show that our hero has been a poor judge of character from the get go—who knows—now that he has “chosen” Jesper—a notion that sounds more like a commercial transaction than a testimony of enduring love—just how soon history will repeat itself? JWR

Somewhere in Palm Springs
Nate Clark
14 min. Three and one half stars

If dissing one another around a pool—beautifully rendered in typical Palm Springs animation deco—is your cup of tea dance, then this flick will satisfy. With three buff guys and the requisite fag hag holding court, there are more than enough jibes, put downs and cutups to go around. Add to that the saucy waiter Jill, (name chosen because there are too many gay Brians…) and a silent, speedo wearing, six-pack revealing hunk and you have a flashback to cattiness unleashed.

For everyone else, it’s like time travelling back to the golden age of sarcasm; hopefully most of us have moved on. JWR

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