“TIGER ORANGE”— Brothers

 tiger orange poster



Amos Lassen

 In the small Central California town where they grew up, two estranged gay brothers struggle to reconnect after the recent death of their father. This small town drama was directed by Wade Gasque and it has some very strong performances. The movie is set against the beautiful fields if Central California. It puts two totally different brothers against each other. One brother, Chet (Mark Strano) is closeted and an introvert while the other, Todd (Frankie Valenti who you might recognize as former porn star, Johnny Hazzard) is out and proud and takes nothing from anyone. What we then see is a meditation on  gay siblings and their rivalries as well as the childhood bonds that force us together.

tiger orange

It isn’t enough to grow up in a small town where everyone knows everything about everybody but to grow up gay in such an atmosphere is quite the challenge. It is, therefore, quite natural to wonder how it is to have a gay sibling. “Do you talk about it with one another? Does it make the experience less isolating? How do you disappoint Mom and Dad, twice?”

I love to listen to stories about gay siblings and sometimes wish that I had been so lucky. Here we have gay brothers who not only grew up in a small town (with all the small-mindedness that goes with it) but with only a father to raise them. Todd left home so he could be himself while Chet stayed with his father. The two brothers never could connect but then when the father died, they had to come to terms with it and with each other. We immediately become aware of the amount of power that their father had over them. Both brothers carry internalized shame as a result of that. We immediately see why living in an urban center makes it easier to come out to parents and why it was so hard for Chet and Todd to tell their father about their sexuality.

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One of the themes of this film deals with standing out or fitting in. All of us have to deal with this in our lives and I think we forget that coming out is not a one-time thing. We come out all the time, especially as we constantly meet new people. Coming out is something that is just ours—it is part of the gay experience and it is a major aspect of our lives. We want to be part of a larger community and fit into society but we have to discover that for ourselves. On the other hand we do not want to lose our uniqueness.

As far as this goes, Chet and Todd are totally separate and in this is the root of the conflict in the film. They have gone their separate ways, each having chosen different paths yet they share the bond of brotherhood and this keeps them together to a degree.

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So basically this is a film about what propels us forward (or backwards) as we search for our place in the world. It is our world and we belong to it just like everyone else. There is a lot to be gleaned here and the best part is that we are entertained as we do so.

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