Date: Tuesday, 10/18/2011
Time: 7:00 pm
Venue: West End
Tickets: $12 - [Buy Tickets]
Type: Collection of short films
Metro Weekly Rating:
(5 out of 5)
Review by Randy Shulman
THE FOLKS BEHIND Reel Affirmations could have subtitled this potent collection of shorts, "I am Lesbian, hear me roar!" (But it's probably a good thing they didn't.) Things open with Deb Shoval's AWOL (), which tells a basic story in a captivating way, as a young soldier, about to be deployed to Afghanistan, arrives home to rural Pennsylvania for one last fling with the woman she adores only to make a life-changing decision. The movie is gorgeously filmed and the barren snowscapes highlight an emotional drift toward heartbreak and regret. It's followed by Lynda Tarryk's Lust Life (), in which a Parisian woman, whose ex left her years ago, finds renewal. It's a lovely, lovingly crafted film.
Cried Suicide () pulls out all the comedic stops with the kind of sophistication you'd expect from the people who produce content for the website "Funny or Die." A woman fakes suicide to get the attention of her ex. "What a ballsy move!" says the friend who claims her from the hospital. "It's not ballsy, it's stupid," she replies. "I just had my empty stomach pumped." What ensues next is a frenzied parade of well-meaning friends bearing macrobiotic remedies ("It tastes a little bit like blood"), lesbian porn ("unshaven, natural breasted, slightly overweight"), and bitchy commentary ("This place is a mess! Did your maid try to kill herself, too?"). Funny stuff.
Cyclicity () is an intelligent, engaging look at the beginning -- and the end -- of a relationship, using a Ferris wheel as a metaphor. Director Jason Knade shows off a terrific sense of pacing and visual style. Slow Burn () is the program's only weak link, combining an Old West motif with a modern-day tattoo parlor sensibility. It's overindulgent, clunky and a bore.
Flyers () is a swift one-note treat with a cute, affirming punchline, and Tech Support () is an uproarious, if unpolished, comedy about a woman who gets more than she bargains for when calling a computer help line. (The use of split screen is especially noteworthy.) Finally, a few four-minute episodes of the web series The Slope () are interspersed throughout the program. The banter between the two leads is rapturously inappropriate. Sure you could always watch it on the web, but it'll be better served with an audience. Also showing but unavailable for review: The Birthday.
West End Cinema
23rd Street NW
For individual tickets and festival passes, visit www.reelaffirmations.org. Standard Festival Passes are $150 and Six Pack Passes are $60. Both allow for entry to any of the films except special events and opening and closing nights. Tickets may be purchased online, at the box offices, or at Universal Gear (1529 14th Street NW, WDC).