The Fairy Tales Film Festival is 16 years old and opened to sunny skies and enthusiasm this past weekend. Saturday marked the screening of Sexy Shorts, a collection of shorts promising a sexy edge and an evening promising sexy shorts, as a discount was given to anyone who made it to the theatre, despite the torrential downpour a couple hours previous, in their hottest short shorts.
The most flimsy entry was Scenesters, which was mainly a voyeur’s ticket into the most flamboyant and obvious charades party for gay stereotypes humanly possible. It got some laughs, so maybe I didn’t get it and maybe it wasn’t long enough. But, I found it lazy and charmless.
Out was an extremely cheeky commentary on the idea of coming out in the modern age. A young man who is identified, both by his parents and, despite themselves, the audience, as “obviously” gay takes a girl home for dinner and announces — well, let’s just say the film insinuates that there are some truths in this day and age that are viewed as less horrific than, “Hey mom and dad, I am gay.” Out rides that comedic line well with playful vigour while ultimately suggesting that maybe mom and dad aren’t as square as we think they are. The acting is painfully good during the awkward moments and the punch line is slick and sophisticated.
The animated short, Beyond the Mirror’s Gaze, featured delicate, yet unabashed, imagery to show the very real possibilities that exist within the blissful openness of role ambiguity and experimentation. One thing that can be held true about the LGBT community is the spirit of openness, understanding and exhilaration that exists in finding someone who understands the beauty in not only trust, but the various grey areas that exist within gender role exploration free from binaries.
Don’t Call Me Honey Bunny was a case study in relationship ruts and how they exist, no matter the orientation of those involved. The main characters take on the shape of rabbits, nature’s own sex fiends, confronting the world with their assumption that same sex couplings are all about sex and never falter to the same low points of loss of magic from which hetero relationships stereotypically suffer. It’s a bold story, but one that suffers from an overwrought running length that lasts way past the point.
Last, but definitely not least, was the enchanting Scaffolding, a Spanish film that, all at once, manages to encapsulate the secrecy still required for so many gay relationships to blossom while playing to more familiar (ostensibly hetero) relationship tropes as the couple navigates the difficulties in establishing meaningful, face-to-face contact in the age of digital text buffers. The film shows the gorgeous ballet of human interaction under the almost-mystical cloak of a blue construction tarp when a scaffold is raised outside an apartment building shared by two male neighbours. The metaphor of the tides and the freedom of the sea and vacation brought on by the blue tarp is palpable and lively, and the same tarp emerges as a symbol of what can happen when fantasy and privacy can protect your instincts long enough to bring about honesty at their hands. I was wordless watching the two characters build their union. It was a very human story and beautifully filmed by Juanma Carrillo. It was a treat of real energy amongst a concept-heavy selection of offerings.
By Jennie Orton