I saw this terribly drunk but was still able to formulate a coherent WhatsApp essay on why it disappointed me. Sold to me via the still-rather-excellent Short of the Week as a little film fighting the anti-LGBT power, this Russian short by Blake Mawson might be lost on my geographical demographic.
When I see any work emerging from a country that’s known for treating certain subsets of its population extremely poorly, it’s a lens through which I view said work. This story – of a young gay guy Pyotr who is lured and tormented by homophobic, nationalistic dickbags, but who is also hiding an intriguing body-horror secret – got my attention. But, after showing Pyotr to be a literally soulless demon who gruesomely eviscerates his captors, I’m not sure what audience this film was made for.
Pyotr’s captors are reprehensible, psychotic, enraging and disgusting, and have bile-inducing dress sense, so it’s fun to see Pyotr turn the tables on them. It’s revenge porn at its finest with a welcome progressive message (especially in that country). But there’s s feeling I can’t shake that it’s accidentally cosying up to the harmful propaganda that LGBT people are godless threats to society – regardless of some ‘you’re the monster!’-type one-liners our main character delivers.
That said, this is still an important film that Russia needs, and there is some impressive practical effects on display. I’d see more of this guy’s work.