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Case Number 10896: Small Claims Court

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She Likes Girls

Wolfe Video // 2007 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Jennifer Malkowski (Retired) // February 23rd, 2007

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All Rise...

Judge Jennifer Malkowski likes girls, too. But she only likes a couple of these lesbian short films.

The Charge

Surrender to love…

The Case

This collection of shorts about queer women claims to be "sexy and romantic," but is mostly neither. Fortunately, a few of the films are engaging and kind of sweet.

The Piper
Directed by Abbe Robinson, 10 minutes, United Kingdom
Pop quiz: name the least "sexy and romantic" animals to center your "sexy and romantic" lesbian short film around. Answer: cockroaches. In this modern-day queer fairy tale, a woman suffering from a cockroach infestation summons the pied piper to lead them from her apartment. Surprisingly, the pied piper turns out to be an adorable, sprite-ly chick who puts more than cockroaches under her spell. Fairly low production values and a clichéd ending help the cockroaches sink this short.
Grade: C-

The Uninvited
Directed by Louise Runge, 12 minutes, United States
In this artful, atmospheric short, casual snooping gives rise to outright stalking between two women in an L.A. apartment complex. Nicely composed shots and a good score help set the mood, and the dialogue appropriately creates interactions as awkward as being stalked probably would be. Unfortunately, The Uninvited feels extremely unfinished, almost as if the production ran out of ideas or money 12 minutes into a good story.
Grade: B-

Sarang Song
Directed by Tamika Miller, 23 minutes, United States
By far the best offering on She Likes Girls, Sarang Song traces the relationship between two black female activists during a tumultuous period of racial strife at UCLA in 1972. Simone is the leader of a student group fighting for civil rights and racial equality, but her obsessive focus on her activism—and the extreme measures she eventually takes to support it—threaten to end her relationship with her girlfriend, Nessa. Director Tamika Miller packs the 23 minutes of Sarang Song with great acting, efficient transitions, smooth camerawork, creative set design, and really fun '70s costumes. She touches on the tension between violent and non-violent approaches in the racial activism of the period, and even includes controversial professor Angela Davis as a character. As a small political gripe, Miller fails to mention the challenges facing female—and especially queer female—activists within the civil rights organizations. But in light of how muc h she does cover, perhaps for once this was an appropriate issue to leave on the back burner.
Grade: A

This Boy
Directed by Amy Burt, 22 minutes, Canada
In this sweet story about puppy love and loyalty, tomboy Kit pursues her crush on her schoolmate Holly by breaking into her empty house and snooping around. While Kit wants to explore and leave (even taking a minute to tidy up Holly's room), her bored and annoying friend Mike decides to trash the living room. After fleeing the scene, Kit has to decide how to face Holly and whether to turn Mike in for the crime. As Kit, Leah Ostrey is adorable, especially when she dresses in drag as John Lennon to woo Holly.
Grade: A-

Shugar Shank
Directed by Meredyth Wilson, 18 minutes, United States
High school angst abounds in this story about an awkward, dykey guitarist who is infatuated with her band's female bassist. Matilda soothes her crush by doing drugs, blowing off school and her family, and playing the guitar. Mirroring its apathetic characters, the film doesn't elicit strong positive or negative feelings. But it does come to the nicely understated and subject-appropriate conclusion that sometimes people who seem to be cool are lame and vice versa.
Grade: B

Cosa Bella
Directed by Fiona Mackenzie, 15 minutes, United States
The showcase film of She Likes Girls is a real disappointment, with a shoddy appearance and characters we are asked to care far too much about too quickly. Belle feels trapped in a dead-end relationship with her college roommate, Delphine. Nothing much happens for most of the film, and the sex scene has typical artsy rather than arousing intentions, but there is a cute puppy featured. Amazing songs from Sia and Joseph Arthur (that you may recognize from the soundtracks of Six Feet Under and The L Word) waste their emotion on characters we neither know nor like.
Grade: C+

Picture and sound quality varies from short to short on She Likes Girls. Sarang Song, for example, looks gorgeous and thoughtfully planned, with soft light and muted earth tones setting the mid-'70s mood. Cosa Bella, on the other hand, appears consistently washed out and dull, with inexplicably shaky camera work in the second scene as the most glaring goof. Sound quality is similarly inconsistent, with dialogue often muffled and no subtitles to assist. Trailers for other Wolfe DVDs are the only extras.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 60

Perp Profile

Studio: Wolfe Video
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Gay
• Short Films

Distinguishing Marks

• Trailers for Loving Annabelle and The Fabulous Story of Queer Cinema

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