Friday, December 07, 2007

True Love, a short-film anthology by Michael J. Saul


True Love (2004, Waterbearer / Moonspinner, 72 min) is an anthology of seven GLBT related short films all written and directed by Michael J. Saul. Each film is like a short story, an incident or “slice of life”, and each film is rather open-ended as to what the follow-up would be. The films seem more interconnected than are the films of most anthologies. The filmmaker says that the stories are about how people view others as having sexuality based on their own perceptions and needs (especially as parents). The film deals with very sensitive issues but treats them with great restraint (except for one simulated scene in a car). It is unrated but would probably correspond to a “kind and gentle” side of the MPAA “R” rating.

The DVD adds a featurette, “True Stories About True Love” to analyze the stories. It adds “On the Set of True Love,” in which Mr. Saul explains how he achieved his dream of making his feature film for about $10000, which included auditioning a lot of actors and paying little money (but giving meals), and editing on a Mac (Final Cut) in his bedroom. He did not mention using SAG; I discussed SAG for indie films on Oct. 15, 2007 on this blog. Mr. Saul says that technology has allowed emerging artists to produce and distribute their work with relatively modest resources compared to the established industry as a whole. The cast includes John Ainsworth, Michael Bierman, Michael James Crowley, Cameron Northey, Mark Weathers, and Ryan Thomas as “Tristan.”


A Christmas Story is framed as a Super-8 miniature, of a boy celebrating Christmas morning with his mother, and we notice that he is a little different from other boys.

Going Gay starts with a confrontation between well-aged, balding father and a teen son as the drive around LA. The dad keeps trying to get the boy to “tell.” The father threatens to take the boy to a place that will make him the way he is supposed to be. The boy gets out of the car and visits the teenage friend that his father is suspicious of, and has another confrontation that end inconclusively.

History starts out with a West Hollyood restaurant dinner scene in a style than reminds one of the famous 1981 film “My Dinner with Andre.” A middle aged man is conversing with his gay grad student age nephew. The nephew starts to confront him about the possibility of past abuse. All he wants is an admission.

Sunday is a miniature where two late middle aged men, apparently committed lovers, wake up on a Sunday morning. Benjamin Britten had named one of the episodes in “Peter Grimes” this.

He Was Perfect starts with a familiar but not often discussed situation in discos: one man on the sidelines ogles another “Mr. Perfect” on the dance floor. “Mr. Perfect” ‘s boyfriend thinks that creates a problem. (I found myself in a situation like this at least twice; one time a woman came up and asked me “what’s your next birthday?”) Nevertheless, they steal away for a moment in a car, and the ogler gets what he fantasized he wanted.

Staying Together has an out-of-sight country kitchen confrontation between two young gay men in a relationship, at a party.

A Little Drama has the sound man of a stage school production of the Liebestod scene from Richard Wagner ‘s “Tristan and Isolde” (that was a film in 2005) starting at the actor playing Tristan, and the actor notices and offers a reward. (Anyone notice that Jared Padalecki ‘s middle name is “Tristan”?)

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