Head of the Class short film program

24 08 2012

I’ll do my best to be somewhat brief in the reviews of these short films.

Only Fags Listen to Pop Music

Synopsis: a hand-drawn film about the repercussions of a teen listening to Britney Spears in high school.

Super awesome things: this film was made to be screened for Out in Schools.  Cute, accessible, relateable == not to mention a clear and easy theme.  I like the storyboard quality and look of the film.  Very cool.

Not so awesome things: You know what?  It’s too mean to really criticize this film when it doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is.

Grade: A


Synopsis: a longer short film about a young, gay, African-American boy full of hope just before the 2008 Presidential Election.

Super awesome things: it’s always cool to watch films with people of colour.  Jamie is exactly what this generation is or at least show be: he’s ever so hopeful (that Obama will win and so certain that Prop 8 won’t pass in a liberal state like California); he’s aware of his feelings but doesn’t ever say the word gay, nor does he seem to want/need to.  At the other end of the spectrum, his family, particularly his parents, are more conservative, and this contrast really sets them apart.  It genuinely feels like when they’re glad Prop 8 has passed, they’re wrong.

The best scene is the morning after the election.  Jamie sits down at the breakfast table, happy that his country is heading in a new direction with a new leader.  His father is also happy, as Prop 8 passed.  The camera closes on Jamie’s blank stare as he digests what that means to him.  But even more powerful is his (straight) sister’s reaction: she cries.  Right beside Jamie, she bawls, and one can’t help she’s not only crying for her brother, but for all gay people who are denied, possibly forever, the right to marry the one they love.

Not so awesome things: shortly put, it’s too long.  Add to the fact that the film tries to tackle a bunch of issues like politics, family dynamics, being in the closet, gay bashing, and even a premature romance, and as hard as the film tries, it doesn’t quite balance things out.  Perhaps the biggest thing afflicting this ambitious film is the ending, which I will have to spoil.

Shortly put, why??????  There are enough films where gay people are beaten, killed, or kill themselves, and if anything the ending of Change suggests that there is actually little hope and change in the foreseeable future.  The bashers outnumber the accepting, and we know, based on how liberal youth are today, that this is just not the case.  amie is finally brave enough to be physically close to the token out-white boy and he gets a punch in the face from his friends?  Really?

Grade: C+

The Queen

Synopsis: a gay, Korean-American, working in his mother’s tailor shop, daydreams (or rather, nightdreams) about being the prom queen to a hunky classmate.

Super awesome things: shot on film, this movie looks great.  It’s a simple, straight-forward story with a cheeky ’80s soundtrack.  I’ve seen this film twice already, and I still enjoy it.

Not so awesome things: I always thought it was too weird that he puts on the dress but now I understand that he does it to imagine being with the cute white boy.  I would’ve liked a bit more interaction with the two boys but otherwise, I like this.

Grade: A-


Synopsis: while walking down the street one day, a young woman finds herself being stared at by everyone, and realizes someone has been handing out flyers that out her as a lesbian.

Super awesome things: interesting premise with a fairly good sense of “What the hell is going on here?” tension and thrill before the twist at the end.

Not so awesome things: predictable and lacking a strong point.

Grade: B-

I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone

Synopsis: the arrival and integration of a new classmate changes the friendship between a girl and her blind guy friend.

Super awesome things: how can anyone with a heart not love this movie?

I first saw this film a year ago online, and loved it so much that I sent the writer/director, Daniel Ribeiro, an email telling him to send a DVD screener to the festival so that others on the programming committee could see it and love it as much as I did.  He did, and everyone did!  Everyone who saw this film loved it, and said it was so cute.  And it was because of me.  You’re welcome, #festies.

Great acting, a simple story that doesn’t deal with homophobia or a difficult coming out — this film just feels natural in its progression and its execution.  There are moments of tension, like when Leonardo confesses to bestie Giovana, that he is gay, while clearly being unable to realize that she has a crush on him.  I just can’t get enough of this wonderful, wonderful film.

Not so awesome things:  some of the subtitling is slightly off.  That’s my only complaint.  Really.  Also, when will they finally finish the full-length feature film already?!

Grade: A++



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: