QFest movie review for the lesbian short program, “Love Her or Leave Her”

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Tonight was a group of short lesbian films covering a diverse range of topics within the theme of relationships.  It is the only lesbian shorts program that is being repeated in the festival and if you didn’t have a chance to see it today, please take the time to see it next Sunday, July 17th at the Bourse.  There wasn’t a seat to be had, so be early, people.

It started out with Jason Knade’s “Cyclicity”.  Packed into this ten minute philosophical short was the discussion of the beginning, middle and end of a relationship.  What I found to be the most clever thing about this film was the use of the ferris wheel as the metaphor for relationships.  You walk on on the ground floor with nowhere to go but up, you make your rise to the top or apex of the relationship, where the “I love yous” are exchanged, and then, as one of the actresses in the movie stated, “there is nowhere to go but down.”  Why is that though?  It is a question that I have pondered for decades.  It was definitely one of my favorites of the program.

The next submission was “AWOL”, a short that centers around a teenage woman, Joey, about to go to Afghanistan with the Army but with dreams of running off to Canada instead.  The setting is rural Pennsylvania in a town that appears to be behind the times.  She is in love with with a pot smoking, older, married mother of two.  Her husband is out of the picture, until the climax of the movie when he reappears causing one of the most heartwrenching scenes of the movie.  There is a palpable chemistry between the two female leads which makes the ending even more painful.

We then moved on to the shortest short, a submission from Germany called “Fresh Air Therapy”.  Can I tell you how hard it is to watch a movie with subtitles and scribble things in my journal in the dark? Trust me, it is.  This movie centers around two middle aged women in a therapy session.  There is Petra, who is “in control” and organized and her partner, Kerstin, who is an emotional drunk.  They are definitely not seeing eye to eye in their session about their relationship and seem to be on the verge of the end until the funniest thing happens.  I don’t want to give it away, you just have to see it yourself.

On to “Bye Bi Love”, with some of the most complicated of crossing of relationships between girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, husbands, ex-husbands.  It really is a trip.  At the center of the story is Vera and her eventual decision of whether or not to check the “will attend” or “won’t attend” box on the invitation for the wedding of her ex-girlfriend to a man being officiated by her ex-husband.  Did you follow me?  It is a fascinating study of how one little thing in your life can bring up a lot of big questions and eventual decisions. 

“Poker Face” was next and it was so cleverly written but I found the acting to not equal the writing.  There was some of the funniest dialogue in this movie but the acting let it down.  You are immediately hit with a major plot twist when one of the girls in the poker group has a death in her family.  You know I can’t give away what it was but it is unexpected and sends the friends reeling with into some of the funniest scenes.  It could just be me or it could have just been that the writing was just too good to keep up with.

The next one was my hands down favorite, “Tech Support”.  It was hilarious and campily overacted in the best way.  It centers around a woman who was recently dumped and is trying to get her new computer (she lost her other one to the ex) up and running and has to call tech support.  She has a big connection with the lesbian on the other line, who is guiding her through her computer woes.  I laughed out loud more times than I can count and it alone was worth the price of admission, well, if I was paying.  The short is actually available on Youtube but don’t just watch it there, come out and give the writers and actors your support.

We were left with a French subtitled short called “Avec Elle”.  Like “Cyclicity”, it centers around the meeting of two women and the progression of a relationship.  The way that it was filmed and acted reminded me of a poem come to life.  Their relationship and the film all comes together through art and music.  It is clever and visually beautiful.

So, that wraps up the shorts.  Make sure that you go next Sunday, July 17th to the Ritz at the Bourse at 2:30pm, you won’t be disappointed.

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