Monday, June 16, 2014

Out in the Night(2014) Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2014

The subjects of the film revisit the scene of the "crime"
In August 2006 seven women were arrested for beating and stabbing a man in New York City. The man had verbally and physically abused the women who were all lesbians of color. When the press got a hold of the story the women were branded as being a wild out of control of man hating lesbians. The real story was of course something quite different.

I'm kind of unsure as to how to talk about the film.  On the one hand the film deals with an important subject, being a gay minority (and female) and makes it clear that even in a so called enlightened city such as New York bad things still happen. On the other hand the film is just okay.

Taking the film completely on it's own terms it needs reshaping. The problem is that the telling of the story is kind of all over the place with the story of the attack (which happened outside the IFC Center where the film is playing on the 18th) wandering in and out of the story of the women involved for the first 20 minutes. Then at last we get the story of the event before the film goes wandering all over the place for the remaining 35 minutes. A film should flow from thing to thing in a definite order. This film doesn't really flow.

What's a shame here is that the lack of ordering makes this a film that is just good instead of great since there are some great moments in the film- actually all of the moments, but just not in this order. I realized what my reservations were when I was watching the sequence where one of the women was talking about going to New York to be safe and discovering this whole gay world- of other nationalities and ages. The sheer joy at not being alone was deeply moving and I got a bit teary. I then started to watch the individual pieces and realized that they were great just not put together as well as they should have been.

This is an okay film. It has great moments in it and I'm guessing if you are its core audience you'll love it. for me though it was just okay.

Out in the Night plays June 18 and 20th (see it on the 18th at IFC for a surreal experience)

For tickets an more information go to the festival website

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