Courage in the Face of Hate/Positive Youth

27 08 2012

I thought Saturday was just going to be Positive Youth but was pleasantly surprised to see that Courage in the Face of Hate, Egale’s film, was the pre-film.

Courage in the Face of Hate

Synopsis: Backed by Egale, Canada’s organization for equality, this 27-minute film explores homophobia among youth across Canada, and how there are still problems even for such a progressive country.

Super awesome things: I had already seen this film as a screener and liked it a lot, and when I saw it again last week, I cried again.  There are so many good lines in the film; this is my favourite, one that still makes me tear up: “If my parents won’t accept me, then why should I even bother trying to accept myself?”  And another speaker points out that 300 youth take their lives in Canada a year because of bullying and homophobia.  “What has the world missed out on?” he asks.  It’s a sobering thought, one of many sobering moments in this well-made film.

What really brings this movie on home is the bookended segments of Hilary Clinton’s speech about LGBT people in the world.  Set against a moving piano score, if you don’t cry, you’re not human.

Not so awesome things: the filmmakers interview many, many people, all without noting their names.  This, for the most part, does work, but at the same time, it makes the film less personal because there are so many people, so many stories, and so little time dedicated to each of them.  I would’ve also liked to see if youth in different parts of Canada experience different forms of homophobia or bullying, if it’s worse or better in some parts, but the info given seems to be too broad.  Some of the editing, particularly the sound, is a bit inconsistent as well.

Good for watching: if you want to cry.

Overall: a moving, effective doc about relevant problems in a liberal country.  People should see this one.  Better than the proceeding documentary.

Grade: A-

Positive Youth

Synopsis: Charlie David interviews several youth (most in their 20s) who are HIV positive and the impact it’s had on their lives.

Super awesome things: unlike Courage in the Face of Hate, David interviews a select number of people, all of whom are properly introduced, their stories carried throughout the film.  It does feel more personal, especially when he interviews significant others of his main subjects (like Jesse’s boyfriend), or friends (like Austin Head’s many eclectic amigos).  The most interesting story in the film is one of a young woman being raised by her HIV positive mother.  Whereas the other three interviewees deal with the affects of HIV first-hand, this story stresses the important that people can still be affected by HIV through others, and it’s a good point to make.  It’s also pretty darn cool to see someone you know (Jesse) on film being interviewed.  Go YouthCO!

Not so awesome things: unfortunately, David favours an MTV reality show-style of documentary filmmaking: obvious music (sad music when it’s sad, faster/more upbeat music at happier moments) playing almost throughout the entire film; slick, fast editing; sessions interviewees going to the doctor.  In a way, it puts all the information upfront and tells you how you should feels when these youth speak on-screen, essentially, dumbing everything down.  Most of the footage is typical, forgettable material, the film moves so quickly, there’s no time to really absorb things, leaving little, if any, room for depth or more powerful moments.

David’s style may make the information easier to understand and feel, but that’s all it is: an easy film.

Good for watching: a simple, straight-forward look at the current state of HIV/AIDS among youth today.

Overall: I think Jesse is incredibly cute and nice to look at.

Grade: B-