Thursday, May 02, 2013

"FourPlay", short film set by Kyle Henry, builds into a challenge of anyone's willingness to remain intimate when it's tough

Fourplay,” directed by Kyle Henry, is a quartet of four short films shot in different cities, with a certain :GBT angle, and at first glance might seem to be a comic venture into borderline soft porn.
But the miniatures progress toward a major moral point.  Sum it with the character Chloe, “Our brain makes us human, sex makes us humane”.
Each vignette is named after the city of its happening.

In “Skokie”, Sara Sevigny plays a homely lesbian who has a secret crush on the pastor’s wife.  The film opens right around Halloween, when there is premature snow (as from Sandy); the churchgoers sing “All the Saints”, which applies to the day after Halloween.  The pastor invites the woman to sit for their cantankerous poodle for two days.  The pooch is smart enough to open doors, and gives her “experience” while she sleeps, which she translates into a very real dream.  That is, lucid dreaming.

In “Austin”, a young straight couple in the Texas capital finds their sexual tension waning. She may be pregnant.  The guy, who is quite handsome, finds inspiration at a local peep store and “sex club” offering gay sex – which helps him with his straight future. 

In “Tampa”, a homely man (Jose Villarreal) who feels very deficient or defective in terms of his primary sexual characteristics, visits a men’s room.  An Army officer,  Scoutmaster, a man in a Hitler costume, a “drag terrorist”, and a bunch of other characters bring him to life.  The “special effects” required gallons of pancake batter.  The protagonist says (in the “making of” short on the DVD) says that this is about being “loved for who you are rather than what you have.”

In “San Francisco”, a transvestite sex-worker travels across the Golden Gate to Marin County, at the behest of the wife of a quadriplegic man, to give him pleasure. This is the longest film (about 28 minutes, out of 80 total).   As the film progresses, the point becomes clear: it is a real challenge to have intimate contact with someone who our cultural bias says is not physically attractive or “desirable”.  Think about the “in sickness and in health” and “death do us part” of marriage vows.  When one person is suddenly rendered much less “attractive” because of illness, war, or specific wrongdoing of another, it is a potential real challenge to a relationship. But the capacity to deal with this in large numbers is very important to the sustainability of a free society.

The last segment also reminds one of the film "The Sessions", reviewed here Dec. 5, 2012. 

The film has interesting music, including the opening to Wagner’s “Ring”, the Faure Requiem, some Bach, and the Adagietto of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony  (which plays as the last film opens).
The official site is here. Note that “Four Play Movie” appears to be a different film.  

The film was provided to me by A-OK films (Chicago) as a screener.  It appeared at Sundance, Outfest, Frameline, and several other festivals.  A-OK says that the DVD is available (the week of) May 14, 2013 (Tuesday), apparently from TLA Releasing.   

Note: According to my notes in a review of Strand's "Boys Life 4" (here. Jan. 29, 2008), that collection had been called "Four Play", released in 2003.  

Pictures: Mine, from IL, TX, FL, CA.  

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