Single Christians Speak and the Film is Totally Valueless and Insignificant
Chris Lane brings us a documentary about Christian singles who have been trying to find a place in their family-centered churches. Singles suffer from conflicting emotions every day and while they try to make positive contributions they are still regarded as single and this is a source of distress for both the individual and the church. We are drawn into these emotions especially when we learn that there are over one hundred million single adults in the United States today and that number is about half of all American households. Here they share their thoughts with us and their concerns about being single in the world and the fact that many violate the commandment of being fruitful and multiplying.
We meet those who have never married, divorced, single parents, widows and widowers and the FORMER gay—whatever that means and because of this I must discount the value of this film. Since we never have to worry about being fruitful or multiplying we are not taken into account and besides the churches do not want to hear from us anyway. So why would Chris Lane make a movie like this and leave us out? Probably because he was told to do so and the fact that he does not approve of us anyway.
DVD extras include extended interview footage, 2 music videos, the Official Movie Trailer, 2 promotional posters you can download to print locally or email to a Kinkos/printing shop (PDF Format) and 2 study/discussion guides for church/ministry leadership and single adult groups (PDF Format). There are also discussion guides: a structured curriculum, designed with questions and commentary for up to 9 sessions. The Leadership Discussion Guide is an abbreviated set of questions and commentary, plus suggested organizational methods for single adult ministry based on the needs of your local church family.
Since we are not included, who cares anyway? The only reason I have included this is to show how narrow minded these Christians are and how they cannot even begin to give an honest picture by not including the LGBT community. A pox on them. Save your money. Buy a drink and someone to talk to at your local gay bar. Have a look at the crap they put out to young minds:
Perry Roberts (Michael Walsh) is depressed and at his wits’ end. Nothing seems to be going right for him and he gets another surprise when he meets Giovanni (Shaun Sipos), an art student whose life is concerned with drugs, sex and a deadly game of Russian roulette. Regardless the two become fast friends and together they partake of a journey that is fueled by drugs and danger.
Perry comes from a fine family—his father is a congressman but who has just been convicted of corruption and is in jail. Perry becomes friendly with Gio and his life begins a dangerous path. Using the questions of “Who am I?”, “What do I want?”, “Should I change?” Asif Ahmet fashions a film dealing with them. The young cast performs admirably and the film gives us a lot to think about. Perry’s problems take him into a state of depression and we follow him. People see this depression but no one is willing to do anything about it and Perry seems to be on an endless rant. He is spoiled and never has had to deal with problems and this leads him to Gio which, of course, we see as no solution. If anything it can only bring more grief into his life.
We need films that deal with depression in youth and this film could have gone a bit deeper. Rites of passage are never easy and Perry has to face his alone. This is an important film and could have been even more important with a little more depth. It deals with the problems that so many face and in that it is successful.
“Johnny & Lyman: A Life Together”
Two Men Together Since World War II
I love documentaries and I love documentaries that lift the spirit. Johnny and Lyman, an art director and an editor have worked on Broadway and in New York and on stage shows and films. They met during World War II and are still together. Through them we see the changes in our community as well as changes in stereotypes and in feelings about gay marriage. They tell us their story honestly and candidly and this is an important film for everyone to see. They made the film so that stereotypes would be dispelled and to change the minds of those who feel threatened by our existence. It has already garnered several major awards which attest to its quality.
We are given insight into the nature of a gay relationship and if you believe there is a special someone for everyone, this film reinforces that. The film is a love story but it is also a history lesson and Johnny and Lyman are inspirational characters and I cheered for them as I watched. Together for more than 65 years, they have a good deal to teach and share.
We all know how difficult it is to discover who we are and that is what “Dirty Girl” is about—the search for identity and the redemptive power of friendship that is not expected. Set in 1987, Danielle (Juno Temple) is the local high school’s “dirty girl” and she decides the time has come to run away. She enlists her fat gay friend Clarke (Jeremy Dozier) to come with her and another friend, Joan, also joins them. Danielle’s erratic behavior got her put in special education classes and that was the straw that broke her back.
The movie blends comedy and drama and this is what makes it such a good movie. Written and directed by Abe Sylvia, we get a look at the relationship between a straight girl and a gay guy and we are with them as they mature. We go from Norman, Oklahoma to Los Angeles. Danielle is looking for her biological dad and Clarke is just tired of homophobia. We get a celebration of the music of Melissa Manchester and how it helped so many gay kids in accepting themselves. The movie is a vehicle for Juno Temple and she uses it well. I understand that it is based on the life of the writer/director and it is unfortunate that he threw so much camp into the film. I found it hurt the flow.
There is a lot about Danielle being abandons by her father and Clarke also suffers from a dad who does not understand him. This is not by any means a great movie but it s fun and I particularly like the way the gay/straight friendship is handled.
Night and Day” (“Bam gua nat”)
Lost in Paris
Do we ever consider traveling as an emotional experience? After seeing “Night and Day”, we realize that emotions play a large role in our travels. Seong-nam Kim is a forty something artist who lives in Paris and paints landscapes and enjoys marijuana. It was marijuana that caused the move from Korea to Paris getting stoned with American tourists as one of the people he smoked with mentioned his name. The movie is a day by day look at his life in France. He is somewhat good looking but does not take pride in his appearance yet he is adept at sex with women. He never bothered to learn French and this hinders his interaction with others.
Seong lives in a hostel run by another Korean, an older man, Mr. Jang and he receives comfort from that. He hangs out with other Koreans there and they pass their time by reading the Bible and he takes it as just a book of stories. He meets Min-sun who he lusts for not realizing at first that they had once had a passionate affair in Korea. She married a Frenchman and even though she is not happy that she is not remembered, she does speak with Seong. However, she is not ready to have sex with him. Seong has a wife in Korea who wants to come to be with him.
Jang introduces Seong to Hyun-ju, an art students but he prefers her roommate, Yu-jung. He is able to seduce her and they go away together. Eventually everything comes to a head and he returns to his wife and Korea.
You are probably thinking what I thought as I watched the move—so, where is all of this taking us? The film seems to be going nowhere and not saying very much. It seems to me that the point is that as we live our “regular” lives; something can happen that takes everything from us and when that does happen, what is left? Seong’s sojourn in Paris did little to change him yet it was something that he had to do. The film is certainly not going to be a blockbuster and I doubt that it will gain a following. We see Korea differently—in fact we see it as Seong remembers it and then how it is when he returns. Seong is a fool with pretenses and the film is important as a self-reflexive travelogue and looks at the chaos of freedom and how Seong is indifferent to that chaos.
“The Man from London” (A Londoni férfi “)
Maloin works as a switchman at a railroad station near the ferry harbor and one night as the watches the ferry arrive he sees that the first passenger to get off, a tall thin person, does not go through the customs line but rather goes around the building and stands in a dark corner. He seems to be waiting for something. Soon another man comes into Maloin’s focus and he throws a suitcase to the guy in the corner. When another person arrives a terrible argument ensues followed by a fight and a fatal hit and the suitcase and the men disappear in the water.
Maloin is shocked. He watches as Brown (the murderer) flees the scene and Maloin goes to try to save the victim but he is too late. He does bring up the suitcase which is filled with money, now soaking wet. He hides the suitcase and the money and when his relief comes in the morning, Maloin heads for home as if nothing happened. But something did happen and Maloin’s life is permanently altered.
Director Bela Tarr gives us a film that has us on the edge of our seats throughout. Filmed in black and white and loaded with symbolism, the film moves so slowly that I found myself yelling, “Speed it up already” but I also realized that I was watching a masterpiece of movie making. The fact that I cared enough to let the film upset me told me that.
From the opening shot I was hooked and felt the dread that the film imparted. There is not much of a plot and what there is deals with the suitcase filled with money but we learn that this is simply a pretext for what is yet to come. We become witness to the emotions of life—redemption and hopelessness, hope, humanity and justice. The film rejects the conventions of cinema that we are used to and it is a minimalist movie with a plot that is not a plot.
The performances are amazing. Tilda Swinton is Maloin’s wife and she is essential to Maloin’s hope to attain dignity in his life but he does not seem able to do so. The viewer must face his own assumptions about the purpose of cinema and we want to escape but find ourselves absorbed in this very strange movie. Instead of saying that the movie has nothing to say or do with us, we begin to embrace it as if it is heralding in a new age of filmmaking.
It seems to me that the film is homage to film noir of the 1940’s. We see everything through Maloin’s eyes and we watch him become involved in something he cannot leave. Be warned that this is a film that requires patience to watch but the rewards are plentiful. There are many transcendent moments as the camera acts as an observer to what is going on. Basically I see this as a look at man who aspires to something higher than what he has and what he is but is not allowed to achieve it.
The film is released by Zeitgeist and KimStim and it took my breath away. We do not often see such beauty in Hollywood or even other independent productions and we are lucky to have something of this quality. It is not a film for everyone but those that do see it will feel that they have witnessed something very important and monumental.
Al Di Meola on DVD
I was awed as I watched Al Di Meola’s Moroccan concert on blu ray last night. It was filmed in 2009 at the Mawazine Music Festival in Rabat and shows how different cultures and religions come together. The band is made up of Al Di Meola (guitar), Peo Alfonsi (2nd guitar), Fausto Beccalossie (accordion), Gumbo Ortiz (percussion), Victor Miranda (bass) and Peter Kaszas (drums). Special guests from Morocco include Said Chraibi (oud), Abdellah Meri (violin) and Tari Ben Ali (percussion).
The music is incredible and the photography is brilliant. The musical numbers are:
Michelangelo’s 7th Child
and each is a magical experience. I sat mesmerized as I watch and if that is not enough, the special features take us behind the scenes and we see rehearsals and a session in the bazaar at Rabat. There are few who can come near di Meola on the guitar and if you love this ind of music, this is a must have.
When Teens Party
John is a seventeen year old gay teen who is totally comfortable with his sexuality, in fact, so much so that he is willing to help others. His best friend, Chloe, is planning to go to a “straight” party where the host, Daniel, is a rabid homophobe. Daniel considers himself to be a prime example of an alpha male and he sees himself as “the greatest thing since sliced bread”. He learns that his girlfriend, Lauren, has had enough his egoism and so Daniel hits on Chloe to make her jealous.
For those of you who wonder about raging hormones and teens, you will see that here. Sexual desire meets what is considered right by society and morally and legally wrong.
This is a unique short film which concentrates on giving new talent a showcase. Daniel is portrayed as a sexual predator and a nasty person and the party scene is filled with little intrigues. Of course Daniel comes out as the hero here and the twist in the plot is unique.
Radclyffe (editor). “Best Lesbian Romance 2012”, Cleis Press, 2012.
A New Collection
I really cannot think of anyone better suited to edit this collection of lesbian romantic short stories. Radclyffe has done a wonderful job of selecting the 17 stories that make up this anthology. Every kind of love is here and there is something for everyone and for every taste. The authors included are Anna Meadows, Radclyffe herself, of course Rachel Kramer Bussel, Cheyenne Blue, Geneva King, Anna Watson, Theda Hudson, Sheree L. Greer, Catherine Paulssen, JL Merrow, Angela Vitale, Giselle Renard, Lee Lynch, Lisabet Sarai, Siobhan Colman, D. Jackson Leigh and Evan Mora.
The book is a celebration of love in all of its aspects and forms and the key here is romance. Many times we forget that romance plays a big part in our sexual lives and even if it is fleeting, it is there and we certainly see that here.