Eden's Curve

1 star out of five
by S. James Wegg
Publish Date: May 20, 2003
Reviewed at the 2003 Inside Out LGBT Film and Video Festival
The camera is the star

Anne Misawa’s directorial début shows promise and skill but can’t rise above a script laced with inane dialogue (Peter—freshman frat in bed with Ian his graduate student poetry T.A.—“I’m scared.” Ian “Don’t be, it’ll go away.” Peter “Promise?” Ian “Yeah.”) and story development that inflicts rather than prepares the action: Recently bashed Peter, thinks nothing of reading all of Ian’s private letters on the first day of his convalescence (although not a bruise could be seen on his trainer-perfect torso).

The video’s best moments come by way of Misawa’s skill with the camera. From the opening sequence through the single-prop plane ride (ah the toys the rich give their children to earn their love …) to the too-late-to-dissuade return to the distraught lover, the screen is awash with slow motion fuzz, colour and tilts that beautifully capture the essence of drugs and free love that underscore this ’70s portrait of college life in Virginia.

Although “based on the events in the life of a friend,” the cast members spends much of their time preparing for the next scene rather than living the one they are in. Samuel A. Levine’s Peter is a great pleasure to watch, whether nude on the roof or splitting logs to celebrate his instant recovery, but his faraway looks and barely changed voice never resonate with the torment and tensions that his awakening sexual preference has created. And his beard is truly incredible, never sprouting a hair after any night of mayhem: an immaculate complexion for sure.

Joe (Trevor Lissauer whose rugged look wouldn’t be out of place in Andy Warhol’s compelling trilogy, Flesh, Heat, Trash) as Peter’s roommate invites the sexual neophyte into his bed for tag-team sex with Bess (Amber Taylor, who as the lone female comes across as more of an upscale fag hag than sage woman-of-the-world) but seems happiest when heaping scorn on his pot-mates: “I wanna watch the two of you,” (they couple, then the annoying Foley kissy-kissy track kicks in—aren’t there any other love-making sounds?) “Look at the silly little faggot go.” Hmmm. He doth protest too much, methinks.

Meanwhile the resident queen, Billy, has more than a passing interest in the new meat (after all he has a reputation to protect), which causes a rift with Joe and, unexpectedly due to lack of prior characterization, leads Joe to kick the shit out of his buff buddy. But before you can say contrived, Ian comes to the rescue as he just happens to be driving by when Peter stumbles to the street, leaving Billy with a twisted ankle and Joe with no one to whack off.

The plot peaks when Peter is dumped by his fraternity “brothers,” (“His relationship with Ian makes us look bad,”—finally, a believable line) gets expelled, outed to his parents then is forced to leave Ian behind. (Cue the cliché: long eyes staring at his man from the rear window of the family car …)

From that point on, the camera takes stage and we are mostly shown rather than told the tragic consequences of bigotry and self-loathing. If only the words and their articulators could sculpt their thoughts with the same care and dignity. JWR

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Director - Anne Misawa
Producer - Jerry Meadors
Screenwriter - Jerry Meadors
Director of Photography - Anne Misawa
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