Wednesday, May 25, 2011

4PLAY: TAMPA - A report from the premiere ...

Carlos Garza, programmer for the Morelia Film Festival, had this to report about the TAMPA screening at Directors' Fortnight. Thank you Carlos for being our eyes and ears since we had to skedaddle back to the USA before the premiere! - Kyle

The auditorium was about 3/4 full with nobody on the balcony seats, and from a quick perusal before the lights went down I could tell that a good proportion of those in attendance were non-badge holders, i.e. a real audience. Up until your film the program consisted exclusively of slow-moving, contemplative work and due to the Fortnight's habit of bringing the lights up between each short with a good twenty or thirty-second gap as well as the fact that it was a relatively long program, a lot of people started to leave after the fifth film, but quite a few came back once Fourplay: Tampa came on, perhaps also because the opening music indicated they were in for something different.

The audience was absolutely complicit as soon as the film's premise became clear, and the gasps before the guffaws were quite elated rather than indignant. I think everyone was extremely grateful to get a good laugh in regardless of their openness or savviness regarding the material. It's quite an accomplishment for the film to hold a non-gay audience captive like this, and I can assure you absolutely no one walked out once the film begun (I was checking).

As far as jaded queer audiences such as myself are concerned, I felt equally engaged. I think the film struck just the right tone and I really appreciate being genuinely surprised at where the film was heading. And well, absolutely no one could have anticipated the ending! The way the film crescendos is absolutely brilliant, my sincere congratulations!

On the way out I solicited some reactions from some high school students, who in an absolutely deadpan way said it was "disgusting" and "disrespectful". A thirtysomething year-old woman next to us overheard and said: "oh don't pay attention, it's because they're young, I thought it was amazing."

Shit, so it really has come down to this: the young as humorless upholders of traditional values. I've had so many indications of this lately that it was almost enough to kill my buzz. In hindsight I should have asked the high-schoolers why they stuck around until the end if they were so offended. An older man next to the thirty-something woman grinned and said, "I always suspected Jesus would give really good head."

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